Notable Quotes
Browse quotes by subject | Browse quotes by author


English Romantic poet (1792-1822)

Percy Bysshe Shelley quote

Death will come when thou art dead,
Soon, too soon--
Sleep will come when thou art fled;
Of neither would I ask the boon
I ask of the beloved Night--
Come soon, soon!


Power, like a desolating pestilence,
Pollutes whate'er it touches.


While yet a boy I sought for ghosts, and sped
Through many a listening chamber, cave and ruin,
And starlight wood, with fearful steps pursuing
Hopes of high talk with the departed dead.

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, Hymn to Intellectual Beauty

When a man marries, dies, or turns Hindu, his best friends hear no more of him.

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, letter to Maria Gisborne

Not the swart Pariah in some Indian grove,
Lone, lean, and hunted by his brother’s hate,
Hath drunk so deep the cup of bitter fate
As that poor wretch who cannot, cannot love:
He bears a load which nothing can remove,
A killing, withering weight.


In proportion as a man is selfish, so far has he receded from the motive which constitutes virtue.

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, letter to Thomas Jefferson Hogg, May 13, 1811

Belief is involuntary; nothing involuntary is meritorious or reprehensible. A man ought not to be considered worse or better for his belief.

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, "Declaration of Rights"

Love is free: to promise for ever to love the same woman, is not less absurd than to promise to believe the same creed: such a vow in both cases, excludes us from all enquiry.


She is gone! She is lost to me forever! She married! Married to a clod of earth; she will become insensible herself; all those fine capabilities will moulder!

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, letter to Thomas Jefferson Hogg, Jan. 11, 1811

Persevere even though Hell and destruction should yawn beneath your feet.

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, letter to Edward Fergus Graham, Apr. 23, 1810

The thoughts which the word "God" suggests to the human mind are susceptible of as many variations as human minds themselves. The Stoic, the Platonist, and the Epicurean, the Polytheist, the Dualist, and the Trinitarian, differ infinitely in their conceptions of its meaning. They agree only in considering it the most awful and most venerable of names, as a common term devised to express all of mystery, or majesty, or power, which the invisible world contains. And not only has every sect distinct conceptions of the application of this name, but scarcely two individuals of the same sect, who exercise in any degree the freedom of their judgment, or yield themselves with any candour of feeling to the influences of the visible world, find perfect coincidence of opinion to exist between them.

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, "Essay on Christianity"

Until the mind can love, and admire, and trust, and hope, and endure, reasoned principles of moral conduct are seeds cast upon the highway of life which the unconscious passenger tramples into dust.

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, Prometheus Unbound

A dream has power to poison sleep.


Hell is a city much like London —
A populous and smoky city.

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, "Peter Bell the Third"

Spirit of BEAUTY, that dost consecrate
With thine own hues all thou dost shine upon
Of human thought or form, where art thou gone?
Why dost thou pass away and leave our state,
This dim vast vale of tears, vacant and desolate?
Ask why the sunlight not for ever
Weaves rainbows o'er yon mountain-river,
Why aught should fail and fade that once is shown,
Why fear and dream and death and birth
Cast on the daylight of this earth
Such gloom, why man has such a scope
For love and hate, despondency and hope?

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, "Hymn to Intellectual Beauty"

Death is the veil which those who live call life; they sleep, and it is lifted.

How wonderful is Death,
Death and his brother Sleep!


It is our will
That thus enchains us to permitted ill.
We might be otherwise, we might be all
We dream of happy, high, majestical.
Where is the love, beauty and truth we seek,
But in our mind? and if we were not weak,
Should we be less in deed than in desire?

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, Julian and Maddalo

I cannot endure the horror, the evil, which comes to self in solitude.

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, letter to Thomas Jefferson Hogg, May 8, 1811

O! I burn with impatience for the moment of the dissolution of intolerance; it has injured me.

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, letter to Thomas Jefferson Hogg, Dec. 20, 1810

Poets are the hierophants of an unapprehended inspiration; the mirrors of the gigantic shadows which futurity casts upon the present; the words which express what they understand not; the trumpets which sing to battle, and feel not what they inspire; the influence which is moved not, but moves. Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.


Poets' food is love and fame.


The howl of self-interest is loud ... but the heart is black which throbs solely to its note.

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, letter to Elizabeth Hitchener, Jun. 11, 1811

"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Blessed are those who have preserved internal sanctity of soul; who are conscious of no secret deceit; who are the same in act as they are in desire; who conceal no thought, no tendencies of thought, from their own conscience; who are faithful and sincere witnesses, before the tribunal of their own judgments, of all that passes within their mind. Such as these shall see God.

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, "Essay on Christianity"

Ah, woe is me! Winter is come and gone,
But grief returns with the revolving year.


I am not much of a hand at love songs, you see I mingle metaphysics with even this, but perhaps in this age of Philosophy that may be excused.

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, letter to Edward Fergus Graham, Sep. 1810

I never was attached to that great sect,
Whose doctrine is, that each one should select
Out of the crowd a mistress or a friend,
And all the rest, though fair and wise, commend
To cold oblivion, though it is in the code
Of modern morals, and the beaten road
Which those poor slaves with weary footsteps tread,
Who travel to their home among the dead
By the broad highway of the world, and so
With one chained friend, — perhaps a jealous foe,
The dreariest and the longest journey go.


Where is perfection? Where I cannot reach.

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, letter to Thomas Jefferson Hogg, Jun. 16, 1811


Life Quotes

Love Quotes

Death Quotes

God Quotes

Wisdom Quotes

Hope Quotes

Success Quotes

Women Quotes

Happiness Quotes

Shakespeare Quotes