Happy Birthday, Percy Bysshe Shelley
Born 4 August 1792, died 8 July 1822:
- Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.
- Poetry is the record of the best and happiest moments of the happiest and best minds.
- What is life? Thoughts and feelings arise, with or without our will, and we employ words to express them. We are born, and our birth is unremembered and our infancy remembered but in fragments. We live on, and in living we lose the apprehension of life. How vain is it to think that words can penetrate the mystery of our being. Rightly used they may make evident our ignorance of ourselves, and this is much.
- Soul meets soul on lovers’ lips.
- A poet is a nightingale, who sits in darkness and sings to cheer its own solitude with sweet sounds. His auditors are as men entranced by the melody of an unseen musician.
- The more we study the more we discover our ignorance.
- Change is certain. Peace is followed by disturbances; departure of evil men by their return. Such recurrences should not constitute occasions for sadness but realities for awareness, so that one may be happy in the interim.
- Music, when soft voices die, vibrates in the memory.
- War is the statesman’s game, the priest’s delight, the lawyer’s jest, the hired assassin’s trade.
- All spirits are enslaved which serve things evil.
Shelley was one of the major English Romantic poets and is regarded as among the finest lyric poets in the English language. He was a member of a close circle of visionary poets and writers that included Lord Byron; Leigh Hunt; Thomas Love Peacock; and his wife, Mary Shelley, the author of Frankenstein.