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Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

  • ... nothing contributes so much to tranquilize the mind as a steady purpose — a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye.

  • Of what a strange nature is knowledge! It clings to the mind, when it has once seized on it, like a lichen on the rock.

  • The time at length arrives, when grief is rather an indulgence than a necessity and the smile that plays upon the lips, although it may be deemed a sacrilege, is not banished.

  • It was the secrets of heaven and earth that I desired to learn.

  • I beheld the corruption of death succeed to the blooming cheek of life; I saw how the worm inherited the wonders of the eye and brain.

  • ... I beheld the wretch — the miserable monster whom I had created.

  • Everywhere I see bliss, from which I alone am irrevocably excluded.

  • After days and nights of incredible labor and fatigue, I succeeded in discovering the cause of generation and life. Nay, more, I became myself capable of bestowing animation upon lifeless matter.

  • If the study to which you apply yourself has a tendency to weaken your affections, and to destroy your taste for those simple pleasures in which no alloy can possibly mix, then that study is certainly unlawful, that is to say, not befitting the human mind.

  • Even where the affections are not strongly moved by any superior excellence, the companions of our childhood always possess a certain power over our minds which hardly any later friend can obtain.

  • Ah! it is well for the unfortunate to be resigned, but for the guilty there is no peace.

  • Thus strangely are our souls constructed and by such slight ligaments are we bound to prosperity or ruin.

  • What are we, the inhabitants of this globe, least among the many that people infinite space? Our minds embrace infinity; the visible mechanism of our being is subject to merest accident.

  • Truly disappointment is the guardian deity of human life; she sits at the threshold of unborn time, and marshals the events as they come forth.

  • ... marriage is usually considered the grave, and not the cradle of love.

  • Happiness is in its highest degree the sister of goodness.

  • ... bodies are sometimes in a state to reject the infection of malady, and at others, thirsty to imbibe it.

  • Precious attribute of woe-worn humanity! that can snatch ecstatic emotion, even from under the very share and harrow, that ruthlessly ploughs up and lays waste every hope.

  • ... without convulsion or sigh, the frail tenement was left vacant of its spiritual inhabitant.

  • Even the eternal skies weep, I thought; is there any shame then, that mortal man should spend himself in tears?

  • Oh! grief is fantastic; it weaves a web on which to trace the history of its woe from every form and change around; it incorporates itself with all living nature; it finds sustenance in every object; as light, it fills all things, and, like light, it gives its own colors to all.

  • How dreadful it is, to emerge from the oblivion of slumber, and to receive as a good morrow the mute wailing of one's own hapless heart — to return from the land of deceptive dreams to the heavy knowledge of unchanged disaster!

  • ... the sentiment of immediate loss in some sort decayed, while that of utter, irremediable loneliness grew on me with time.

  • ... the soul wearies of a pauseless flight ...

  • A solitary being is by instinct a wanderer ...

  • His conversation was marked by its happy abundance.

    • Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley,
    • preface, Collected Edition of Shelley, 1st ed. ()
  • ... my dreams were all my own. I accounted for them to nobody; they were my refuge when annoyed, my dearest pleasure when free.

    • Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley,
    • in Florence Ashton Marshall, The Life & Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, vol. 1 ()
  • In the evening Hogg comes. I like him better each time; it is a pity that he is a lawyer; he wasted so much time on that trash that might be spent on better things.

    • Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley,
    • in Florence Ashton Marshall, The Life & Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, vol. 1 ()
  • Her jealousy never slept.

    • Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley,
    • "The Mortal Immortal: A Tale" (1833), Tales and Stories ()
  • The beginning is always today.

    • Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
  • I gave her cakes, I gave her wine, / I gave her sugar-candy, / But oh! the little naughty girl, / She asked me for some brandy.

    • Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley,
    • nursery rhyme mentioned in a letter to Maria Gisborne (1822), in Florence Ashton Marshall, The Life & Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, vol. 1 ()

Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, English novelist

(1797 - 1851)

Full name: Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley.