25+ quotes from The Complete Poems by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Quotes from The Complete Poems

Percy Bysshe Shelley ·  944 pages

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“Our sweetest songs are those of saddest thought.”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley, quote from The Complete Poems


“We look before and after,
And pine for what is not;
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell
Of saddest thought.”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley, quote from The Complete Poems


“Music, when soft voices die, vibrates in the memory.”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley, quote from The Complete Poems


“We rest; a dream has power to poison sleep.
We rise; one wand'ring thought pollutes the day.
We feel, conceive, or reason; laugh or weep,
Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away;
It is the same: for, be it joy or sorrow,
The path of its departure still is free.
Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his morrow;
Nought may endure but Mutability!”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley, quote from The Complete Poems


“And the Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth's dark breast
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley, quote from The Complete Poems


“Though we eat little flesh and drink no wine,
Yet let's be merry; we'll have tea and toast;
Custards for supper, and an endless host
Of syllabubs and jellies and mincepies,
And other such ladylike luxuries.”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley, quote from The Complete Poems


“Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heaped for the beloved's bed;
And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley, quote from The Complete Poems


“Poets, the best of them, are a very chameleonic race; they take the colour not only of what they feed on, but of the very leaves under which they pass”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley, quote from The Complete Poems


“I arise from dreams of thee
In the first sweet sleep of night,
When the winds are breathing low,
And the stars are shining bright.
I arise from dreams of thee,
And a spirit in my feet
Has led me -who knows how?
To thy chamber-window, Sweet!

The wandering airs they faint
On the dark, the silent stream -
The champak odours fail
Like sweet thoughts in a dream;
The nightingale's complaint,
It dies upon her heart,
As I must die on thine,
O beloved as thou art!

Oh lift me from the grass!
I die! I faint! I fail!
Let thy love in kisses rain
On my lips and eyelids pale.
My cheek is cold and white, alas!
My heart beats loud and fast;
Oh press it close to thine again,
Where it will break at last!”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley, quote from The Complete Poems


The Moon

And, like a dying lady lean and pale,
Who totters forth, wrapp'd in a gauzy veil,
Out of her chamber, led by the insane
And feeble wanderings of her fading brain,
The moon arose up in the murky east
A white and shapeless mass.

Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,
Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth,
And ever changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley, quote from The Complete Poems


“In friendships I had been most fortunate
Yet never saw I one whom I would call
More willingly my friend”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley, quote from The Complete Poems


To Jane

The keen stars were twinkling,
And the fair moon was rising among them,
Dear Jane.
The guitar was tinkling,
But the notes were not sweet till you sung them
Again.

As the moon's soft splendour
O'er the faint cold starlight of Heaven
Is thrown,
So your voice most tender
To the strings without soul had then given
Its own.

The stars will awaken,
Though the moon sleep a full hour later
To-night;
No leaf will be shaken
Whilst the dews of your melody scatter
Delight.

Though the sound overpowers,
Sing again, with your dear voice revealing
A tone
Of some world far from ours,
Where music and moonlight and feeling
Are one.”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley, quote from The Complete Poems


“I could lie down like a tired child,
And weep away the life of care
Which I have borne, and yet must bear,—
Till death like sleep might steal on me
And I might feel in the warm air
My cheek grow cold, and hear the sea
Breathe o'er my dying brain its last monotony.”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley, quote from The Complete Poems


“Love, hope, and self-esteem, like clouds depart
And come, for some uncertain moments lent.
Man were immortal and omnipotent,
Didst thou, unknown and awful as thou art,
Keep with thy glorious train firm state within his heart.”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley, quote from The Complete Poems


A Lament

O world! O life! O time!
On whose last steps I climb,
Trembling at that where I had stood before;
When will return the glory of your prime?
No more -- Oh, never more!

Out of the day and night
A joy has taken flight;
Fresh spring, and summer, and winter hoar,
Move my faint heart with grief, but with delight
No more -- Oh, never more!”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley, quote from The Complete Poems


“Poet of Nature, thou hast wept to know
That things depart which never may return:
Childhood and youth, friendship and love's first glow,
Have fled like sweet dreams, leaving thee to mourn.
These common woes I feel. One loss is mine
Which thou too feel'st, yet I alone deplore.
Thou wert as a lone star, whose light did shine
On some frail bark in winter's midnight roar:
Thou hast like to a rock-built refuge stood
Above the blind and battling multitude:
In honored poverty thy voice did weave
Songs consecrate to truth and liberty,--
Deserting these, thou leavest me to grieve,
Thus having been, that thou shouldst cease to be”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley, quote from The Complete Poems


“Yet if we could scorn
Hate, and pride, and fear;
If we were things born
Not to shed a tear,
I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley, quote from The Complete Poems


“Rarely, rarely comest thou,
Spirit of Delight!
Wherefore hast thou left me now
Many a day and night?
Many a weary night and day
'Tis since thou art fled away.

How shall ever one like me
Win thee back again?
With the joyous and the free
Thou wilt scoff at pain.
Spirit false! thou hast forgot
All but those who need thee not.

As a lizard with the shade
Of a trembling leaf,
Thou with sorrow art dismayed;
Even the sighs of grief
Reproach thee, that thou art not near,
And reproach thou wilt not hear.

Let me set my mournful ditty
To a merry measure;--
Thou wilt never come for pity,
Thou wilt come for pleasure;
Pity then will cut away
Those cruel wings, and thou wilt stay.

I love all that thou lovest,
Spirit of Delight!
The fresh Earth in new leaves dressed,
And the starry night;
Autumn evening, and the morn
When the golden mists are born.

I love snow and all the forms
Of the radiant frost;
I love waves, and winds, and storms,
Everything almost
Which is Nature's, and may be
Untainted by man's misery.

I love tranquil solitude,
And such society
As is quiet, wise, and good;
Between thee and me
What difference? but thou dost possess
The things I seek, not love them less.

I love Love--though he has wings,
And like light can flee,
But above all other things,
Spirit, I love thee--
Thou art love and life! O come!
Make once more my heart thy home!”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley, quote from The Complete Poems


“SWIFTLY walk o'er the western wave,
Spirit of Night!
Out of the misty eastern cave,--
Where, all the long and lone daylight,
Thou wovest dreams of joy and fear
Which make thee terrible and dear,--
Swift be thy flight!

Wrap thy form in a mantle grey,
Star-inwrought!
Blind with thine hair the eyes of Day;
Kiss her until she be wearied out.
Then wander o'er city and sea and land,
Touching all with thine opiate wand--
Come, long-sought!

When I arose and saw the dawn,
I sigh'd for thee;
When light rode high, and the dew was gone,
And noon lay heavy on flower and tree,
And the weary Day turn'd to his rest,
Lingering like an unloved guest,
I sigh'd for thee.

Thy brother Death came, and cried,
'Wouldst thou me?'
Thy sweet child Sleep, the filmy-eyed,
Murmur'd like a noontide bee,
'Shall I nestle near thy side?
Wouldst thou me?'--And I replied,
'No, not thee!'

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 thee, beloved Night--
Swift be thine approaching flight,
Come soon, soon!”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley, quote from The Complete Poems


“Wealth and dominion fade into the mass
Of the great sea of human right and wrong,
When once from our possession they must pass;
But love, though misdirected, is among
The things which are immortal, and surpass
All that frail stuff which will be - or which was.”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley, quote from The Complete Poems


“Higher still and higher
From the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire;
The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley, quote from The Complete Poems


“Alas! this is not what I thought life was.
I knew that there were crimes and evil men,
Misery and hate; nor did I hope to pass
Untouched by suffering, through the rugged glen.
In mine own heart I saw as in a glass
The hearts of others ... And when
I went among my kind, with triple brass
Of calm endurance my weak breast I armed,
To bear scorn, fear, and hate, a woeful mass!”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley, quote from The Complete Poems


“Sonnet: Political Greatness

Nor happiness, nor majesty, nor fame,
Nor peace, nor strength, nor skill in arms or arts,
Shepherd those herds whom tyranny makes tame;
Verse echoes not one beating of their hearts,
History is but the shadow of their shame,
Art veils her glass, or from the pageant starts
As to oblivion their blind millions fleet,
Staining that Heaven with obscene imagery
Of their own likeness. What are numbers knit
By force or custom? Man who man would be,
Must rule the empire of himself; in it
Must be supreme, establishing his throne
On vanquished will, quelling the anarchy
Of hopes and fears, being himself alone.”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley, quote from The Complete Poems


“--Seek far from noise and day some western cave, Where woods and streams with soft and pausing winds A lulling murmur weave?— [_30 Ianthe] doth not sleep The dreamless sleep of death:-

Shelley, Percy Bysshe (2011-03-24). The Complete Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley — Complete (Kindle Locations 317-319). . Kindle Edition.”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley, quote from The Complete Poems


“Sorrow (A Song)

To me this world's a dreary blank,
All hopes in life are gone and fled,
My high strung energies are sank,
And all my blissful hopes lie dead.--

The world once smiling to my view,
Showed scenes of endless bliss and joy;
The world I then but little knew,
Ah! little knew how pleasures cloy;

All then was jocund, all was gay,
No thought beyond the present hour,
I danced in pleasure’s fading ray,
Fading alas! as drooping flower.

Nor do the heedless in the throng,
One thought beyond the morrow give,
They court the feast, the dance, the song,
Nor think how short their time to live.

The heart that bears deep sorrow’s trace,
What earthly comfort can console,
It drags a dull and lengthened pace,
'Till friendly death its woes enroll.--

The sunken cheek, the humid eyes,
E’en better than the tongue can tell;
In whose sad breast deep sorrow lies,
Where memory's rankling traces dwell.--

The rising tear, the stifled sigh,
A mind but ill at ease display,
Like blackening clouds in stormy sky,
Where fiercely vivid lightnings play.

Thus when souls' energy is dead,
When sorrow dims each earthly view,
When every fairy hope is fled,
We bid ungrateful world adieu.”
― Percy Bysshe Shelley, quote from The Complete Poems


About the author

Percy Bysshe Shelley
Born place: in Horsham, Sussex, England, The United Kingdom
Born date August 4, 1792
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