Percy Bysshe Shelley

(1792-1822 / Horsham / England)

Percy Bysshe Shelley Quotes

  • ''Their errors have been weighed and found to have been dust in the balance; if their sins were as scarlet, they are now white as snow: they have been washed in the blood of the mediator and the redeemer, Time.''
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), British poet. A Defence of Poetry (written 1821, publ. 1840). Referring specifically to the reputations of poets.
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  • ''Tragedy delights by affording a shadow of the pleasure which exists in pain.''
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), British poet. A Defence of Poetry (written 1821, published 1840).
  • ''A story of particular facts is a mirror which obscures and distorts that which should be beautiful; poetry is a mirror which makes beautiful that which it distorts.''
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), British poet. A Defence of Poetry (written 1821, published 1840).
  • ''Obscenity, which is ever blasphemy against the divine beauty in life,... is a monster for which the corruption of society forever brings forth new food, which it devours in secret.''
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), British poet. A Defence of Poetry (written 1821, publ. 1840).
  • ''Every epoch, under names more or less specious, has deified its peculiar errors.''
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), British poet. A Defence of Poetry (1840).
  • ''A man, to be greatly good, must imagine intensely and comprehensively; he must put himself in the place of another and of many others; the pains and pleasures of his species must become his own.''
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), British poet. A Defence of Poetry (written 1821, publ. 1840).
  • ''The great instrument of moral good is the imagination.''
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), British poet. A Defence of Poetry (written 1821, published 1840). This axiom constituted the cornerstone of Shelley's philosophy.
  • ''Yes, marriage is hateful, detestable. A kind of ineffable, sickening disgust seizes my mind when I think of this most despotic, most unrequited fetter which prejudice has forged to confine its energies.''
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), British poet. Letter, May 2, 1811. The Letters of Percy Bysshe Shelley, vol. 1, ed. Frederick L. Jones (1964). To the same correspondent (Thomas Jefferson Hogg), June 21, 1811, Shelley called matrimony "... the most horrible of all the means which the world has had recourse to bind the noble to itself," but justified his own marriage in a letter to Hogg on Oct. 8 of that year on the grounds that, until considerable improvement of morals had been brought about, it would be advisable to maintain the institution of matrimony.
  • ''The Galilean is not a favourite of mine. So far from owing him any thanks for his favour, I cannot avoid confessing that I owe a secret grudge to his carpentership.''
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), British poet. Letter, April 24, 1811. The Letters of Percy Bysshe Shelley, vol. 1, ed. Frederick L. Jones (1964).
  • ''Reviewers, with some rare exceptions, are a most stupid and malignant race. As a bankrupt thief turns thief-taker in despair, so an unsuccessful author turns critic.''
    Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822), British poet. Adonais, preface (1821). First draft, later removed.

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Best Poem of Percy Bysshe Shelley

Ozymandias

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear --
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal ...

Read the full of Ozymandias

To Coleridge

Oh! there are spirits of the air,
And genii of the evening breeze,
And gentle ghosts, with eyes as fair
As star-beams among twilight trees:
Such lovely ministers to meet
Oft hast thou turned from men thy lonely feet.

With mountain winds, and babbling springs,
And moonlight seas, that are the voice

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