Percy Bysshe Shelley Biography
When Percy Bysshe Shelley left this earth before his time at the young age of 29, the irony of the saying "only the good die young" would have been completely lost on a society that shunned his beliefs and were outraged by his lifestyle.
Yet here was the man whose theories of non-violent resistance inspired Henry David Thoreau, Leo Tolstoy and Mahatma Gandhi to hone their own versions of passive resistance. The list of other famous literary giants he influenced included: Alfred Lord Tennyson, C. S. Lewis, George Bernard Shaw, James Joyce, Karl Marx, Oscar Wilde, Rabindranath Tagore, Thomas Hardy, Upton Sinclair and W. B. Yeats
This was the man that supported all sentient beings with this famous passionate Shelley quote:
"Never again may blood of bird or beast, Stain with its venomous stream a human feast". He went on to say:
"It is only by softening and disguising dead flesh by culinary preparation that it is rendered susceptible of mastication or digestion, and that the sight of its bloody juices and raw horror does not excite intolerable loathing and disgust".
These are the words of a passionate and caring man, the words of a man who lived before his time, the words of a man whose talent lay unrecognised during his lifetime. Indeed Shelley was denigrated during his lifetime and beyond by the close minded and puritanical who could not accept his radical viewpoints.
It was left to the poets, philosophers and free thinkers of subsequent generations to keep his spirit and the meaning of his works alive. His legacy is a who's who list of latter day literary giants, statesmen and political theorists who all drew inspiration from what was in his day deemed radical idealism. As would be expected from a wordsmith of this calibre, here is my compilation of 21 of the best Percy Bysshe Shelley quotes
Quotes About Percy Bysshe Shelley
Bertrand Russell was moved to say:
"Shelley appealed to me from his hatred of tyranny. And also from his very vivid sense of beauty, natural beauty, and every kind of beauty. And I thought he sort of portrayed a lovely world of the imagination"
George Bernard Shaw said this mouth watering quote about him:
"I was a cannibal for twenty five years. For the rest I have been a vegetarian. It was Shelley who first opened my eyes to the savagery of my diet"
The literary critic Harold Bloom made this observation:
"Lucretius and his tradition taught Shelley that freedom came from understanding causation"
Lord Byron spoke of his friend Shelley as only he would:
"I never met a man who wasn't a beast in comparison to him"
John Keats when discussing poetry with Shelley shared this thought:
"You might curb your magnanimity, and be more of an artist, and load every rift of your subject with ore"
In reference to Shelley's poem 'The Masque of Anarchy' Mahatma Gandhi once stated that there was:
"nothing new to teach the world because truth and nonviolence are as old as the hills"
Karl Marx made this comparison:
"The real difference between Byron and Shelley is this; those who understand and love them rejoice that Byron died at thirty-six, because if he had lived he would have become a reactionary bourgeois; they grieve that Shelley died at twenty-nine, because he was essentially a revolutionist and he would always have been one of the advanced guard of socialism"
Frederich Engels described him thus:
"Shelley, the genius, the prophet, finds most of [his] readers in the proletariat; the bourgeouise own the castrated editions, the family editions cut down in accordance with the hypocritical morality of today"