28 pages 56 minutes read

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Queen Mab: A Philosophical Poem

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 1813

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Book IXChapter Summaries & Analyses

Book IX Summary

In this future earth, the “reality of Heaven” (Line 9.11) means peace for eternity and no more toil. Even time no longer has power—it is another deposed monarch who had free reign over all of nature, but has been as easily crushed as a “mushroom of a summer day” (Line 9.32). Evil, deception, and sorrow cease to exist as people return to obeying natural law. People become healthier, and old age no longer occurs. The idea of sexual purity, which Queen Mab calls the “virtue of the cheaply virtuous” (Line 9.85), is gone and there is equality between men and women. The ruins of pyramids and palaces, where slaves used to waste their lives, break down into natural elements. Religion, faith, and slavery end, and prisons become places where children play and birds sing. Human nature is perfected.

Queen Mab has told Ianthe’s spirit everything the young woman needs to know about the coming changes and their “gradual path” (Line 9.148). Ianthe’s virtue will show her how to pursue this ideal wisely; in the meantime, Ianthe should not fear death, because her good spirit will survive even after her physical body dies.