Poems by Percy Besshe Shelley

Lines to an Indian Air

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, 5 
And a spirit in my feet 
Hath led me—who knows how? 
To thy chamber-window, Sweet! 

The wandering airs they faint 
On the dark, the silent stream; 10 
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, 15 
O belovèd, as thou art! 

O lift me from the grass! 
I die, I faint, I fail! 
Let thy love in kisses rain 
On my lips and eyelids pale. 20 
My cheek is cold and white, alas! 
My heart beats loud and fast; 
O press it close to thine again 
Where it will break at last! 

"I fear thy kisses gentle maiden"

I FEAR thy kisses gentle maiden; 
Thou needest not fear mine; 
My spirit is too deeply laden 
Ever to burthen thine. 

I fear thy mien thy tones thy motion; 5 
Thou needest not fear mine; 
Innocent is the heart's devotion 
With which I worship thine. 

Love's Philosophy

THE fountains mingle with the river 
And the rivers with the ocean  
The winds of heaven mix for ever 
With a sweet emotion; 
Nothing in the world is single 5 
All things by a law divine 
In one another's being mingle— 
Why not I with thine? 

See the mountains kiss high heaven  
And the waves clasp one another; 10 
No sister-flower would be forgiven 
If it disdain'd its brother; 
And the sunlight clasps the earth  
And the moonbeams kiss the sea— 
What are all these kissings worth 15 
If thou kiss not me? 

To the Night

SWIFTLY walk over 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 5 
Which make thee terrible and dear — 
Swift be thy flight! 

Wrap thy form in a mantle gray  
Blind with thine hair the eyes of Day 10 
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 15 
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 20 
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 25 
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; 30 
Sleep will come when thou art fled: 
Of neither would I ask the boon 
I ask of thee belovèd Night— 
Swift be thine approaching flight  
Come soon soon! 35 

The Flight of Love

WHEN the lamp is shatter'd 
The light in the dust lies dead— 
When the cloud is scatter'd  
The rainbow's glory is shed. 
When the lute is broken 5 
Sweet tones are remember'd not; 
When the lips have spoken  
Lov'd accents are soon forgot. 

As music and splendour 
Survive not the lamp and the lute 10 
The heart's echoes render 
No song when the spirit is mute— 
No song but sad dirges  
Like the wind through a ruin'd cell  
Or the mournful surges 15 
That ring the dead seaman's knell. 

When hearts have once mingl'd  
Love first leaves the well-built nest; 
The weak one is singl'd 
To endure what it once possesst. 20 
O Love! who bewailest 
The frailty of all things here  
Why choose you the frailest 
For your cradle your home and your bier? 

Its passions will rock thee 25 
As the storms rock the ravens on high; 
Bright reason will mock thee 
Like the sun from a wintry sky. 
From thy nest every rafter 
Will rot and thine eagle home 30 
Leave thee naked to laughter  
When leaves fall and cold winds come. 

"One word is too often profaned"

ONE word is too often profaned 
For me to profane it  
One feeling too falsely disdain'd 
For thee to disdain it. 
One hope is too like despair 5 
For prudence to smother  
And pity from thee more dear 
Than that from another. 

I can give not what men call love; 
But wilt thou accept not 10 
The worship the heart lifts above 
And the Heavens reject not: 
The desire of the moth for the star  
Of the night for the morrow  
The devotion to something afar 15 
From the sphere of our sorrow? 


RARELY rarely comest thou  
Spirit of Delight! 
Wherefore hast thou left me now 
Many a day and night? 
Many a weary night and day 5 
'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. 10 
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 dismay'd; 15 
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; 20 
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 25 
Spirit of Delight! 
The fresh earth in new leaves drest 
And the starry night; 
Autumn evening and the morn 
When the golden mists are born. 30 

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 35 
Untainted by man's misery. 

I love tranquil solitude  
And such society 
As is quiet wise and good; 
Between thee and me 40 
What diff'rence? 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 45 
Spirit I love thee— 
Thou art love and life! O come! 
Make once more my heart thy home! 

Stanzas Written in Dejection near Naples

THE sun is warm the sky is clear  
The waves are dancing fast and bright  
Blue isles and snowy mountains wear 
The purple noon's transparent might: 
The breath of the moist earth is light 5 
Around its unexpanded buds; 
Like many a voice of one delight— 
The winds' the birds' the ocean-floods'— 
The city's voice itself is soft like solitude's. 

I see the deep's untrampled floor 10 
With green and purple seaweeds strown; 
I see the waves upon the shore 
Like light dissolved in star-showers thrown. 
I sit upon the sands alone; 
The lightning of the noontide ocean 15 
Is flashing round me and a tone 
Arises from its measured motion— 
How sweet did any heart now share in my emotion! 

Alas! I have nor hope nor health  
Nor peace within nor calm around; 20 
Nor that content surpassing wealth  
The sage in meditation found  
And walk'd with inward glory crown'd; 
Nor fame nor power nor love nor leisure. 
Others I see whom these surround— 25 
Smiling they live and call life pleasure: 
To me that cup has been dealt in another measure. 

Yet now despair itself is mild  
Even as the winds and waters are; 
I could lie down like a tired child 30 
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 35 
Breathe o'er my dying brain its last monotony. 

To a Skylark

HAIL to thee, blithe spirit! 
Bird thou never wert, 
That from heaven, or near it, 
Pourest thy full heart 
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art. 5 

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. 10 

In the golden lightning 
Of the sunken sun, 
O'er which clouds are bright'ning, 
Thou dost float and run, 
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun. 15 

The pale purple even 
Melts around thy flight; 
Like a star of heaven 
In the broad daylight, 
Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight— 20 

Keen as are the arrows 
Of that silver sphere, 
Whose intense lamp narrows 
In the white dawn clear 
Until we hardly see, we feel that it is there. 25 

All the earth and air 
With thy voice is loud— 
As, when night is bare, 
From one lonely cloud 
The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflow'd. 30 

What thou art we know not; 
What is most like thee?— 
From rainbow clouds there flow not 
Drops so bright to see 
As from thy presence showers a rain of melody: 35 

Like a poet hidden 
In the light of thought, 
Singing hymns unbidden, 
Till the world is wrought 
To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not: 40 

Like a high-born maiden 
In a palace tower, 
Soothing her love-laden 
Soul in secret hour 
With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower: 45 

Like a glow-worm golden 
In a dell of dew, 
Scattering unbeholden 
Its aerial hue 
Among the flowers and grass, which screen it from the view: 50 

Like a rose embower'd 
In its own green leaves, 
By warm winds deflower'd, 
Till the scent it gives 
Makes faint with too much sweet these heavy-wingèd thieves. 55 

Sound of vernal showers 
On the twinkling grass, 
Rain-awaken'd flowers— 
All that ever was 
Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass. 60 

Teach us, sprite or bird, 
What sweet thoughts are thine: 
I have never heard 
Praise of love or wine 
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine. 65 

Chorus hymeneal, 
Or triumphal chaunt, 
Match'd with thine, would be all 
But an empty vaunt— 
A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want. 70 

What objects are the fountains 
Of thy happy strain? 
What fields, or waves, or mountains? 
What shapes of sky or plain? 
What love of thine own kind? what ignorance of pain? 75 

With thy clear keen joyance 
Languor cannot be; 
Shadow of annoyance 
Never came near thee: 
Thou lovest; but ne'er knew love's sad satiety. 80 

Waking or asleep, 
Thou of death must deem 
Things more true and deep 
Than we mortals dream, 
Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream? 85 

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. 90 

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. 95 

Better than all measures 
Of delightful sound, 
Better than all treasures 
That in books are found, 
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground! 100 

Teach me half the gladness 
That thy brain must know— 
Such harmonious madness 
From my lips would flow, 
The world should listen then, as I am listening now! 105 

Ozymandias of Egypt

I MET a traveller from an antique land 
Who said:—Two vast and trunkless legs of stone 
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand  
Half sunk a shatter'd visage lies whose frown 
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command 5 
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read 
Which yet survive stamp'd on these lifeless things  
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed. 
And on the pedestal these words appear: 
My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: 10 
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!  
Nothing beside remains: round the decay 
Of that colossal wreck boundless and bare  
The lone and level sands stretch far away. 

To a Lady with a Guitar

ARIEL to Miranda:—Take 
This slave of music for the sake 
Of him who is the slave of thee; 
And teach it all the harmony 
In which thou canst and only thou 5 
Make the delighted spirit glow  
Till joy denies itself again 
And too intense is turn'd to pain. 
For by permission and command 
Of thine own Prince Ferdinand 10 
Poor Ariel sends this silent token 
Of more than ever can be spoken; 
Your guardian spirit Ariel who 
From life to life must still pursue 
Your happiness for thus alone 15 
Can Ariel ever find his own. 
From Prospero's enchanted cell  
As the mighty verses tell  
To the throne of Naples he 
Lit you o'er the trackless sea 20 
Flitting on your prow before  
Like a living meteor. 
When you die the silent Moon 
In her interlunar swoon 
Is not sadder in her cell 25 
Than deserted Ariel:— 
When you live again on earth  
Like an unseen Star of birth 
Ariel guides you o'er the sea 
Of life from your nativity:— 30 
Many changes have been run 
Since Ferdinand and you begun 
Your course of love and Ariel still 
Has track'd your steps and served your will. 
Now in humbler happier lot 35 
This is all remember'd not; 
And now alas the poor Sprite is 
Imprison'd for some fault of his 
In a body like a grave— 
From you he only dares to crave 40 
For his service and his sorrow 
A smile to-day a song to-morrow. 

The artist who this viol wrought 
To echo all harmonious thought  
Fell'd a tree while on the steep 45 
The woods were in their winter sleep  
Rock'd in that repose divine 
On the wind-swept Apennine; 
And dreaming some of autumn past  
And some of spring approaching fast 50 
And some of April buds and showers  
And some of songs in July bowers  
And all of love; and so this tree — 
Oh that such our death may be!— 
Died in sleep and felt no pain 55 
To live in happier form again: 
From which beneath heaven's fairest star  
The artist wrought this loved guitar; 
And taught it justly to reply 
To all who question skilfully 60 
In language gentle as thine own; 
Whispering in enamour'd tone 
Sweet oracles of woods and dells  
And summer winds in sylvan cells. 
For it had learnt all harmonies 65 
Of the plains and of the skies  
Of the forests and the mountains  
And the many-voicèd fountains; 
The clearest echoes of the hills  
The softest notes of falling rills 70 
The melodies of birds and bees  
The murmuring of summer seas  
And pattering rain and breathing dew  
And airs of evening; and it knew 
That seldom-heard mysterious sound 75 
Which driven on its diurnal round  
As it floats through boundless day  
Our world enkindles on its way:— 
All this it knows but will not tell 
To those who cannot question well 80 
The spirit that inhabits it: 
It talks according to the wit 
Of its companions; and no more 
Is heard than has been felt before 
By those who tempt it to betray 85 
These secrets of an elder day. 
But sweetly as its answers will 
Flatter hands of perfect skill  
It keeps its highest holiest tone 
For one beloved Friend alone. 90 

The Invitation

BEST and brightest come away — 
Fairer far than this fair day  
Which like thee to those in sorrow 
Comes to bid a sweet good-morrow 
To the rough year just awake 5 
In its cradle on the brake. 
The brightest hour of unborn Spring 
Through the winter wandering  
Found it seems the halcyon morn 
To hoar February born; 10 
Bending from heaven in azure mirth  
It kiss'd the forehead of the earth  
And smiled upon the silent sea  
And bade the frozen streams be free  
And waked to music all their fountains 15 
And breathed upon the frozen mountains  
And like a prophetess of May 
Strew'd flowers upon the barren way  
Making the wintry world appear 
Like one on whom thou smilest dear. 20 

Away away from men and towns  
To the wild woods and the downs— 
To the silent wilderness  
Where the soul need not repress 
Its music lest it should not find 25 
An echo in another's mind  
While the touch of Nature's art 
Harmonizes heart to heart. 

Radiant Sister of the Day 
Awake! arise! and come away! 30 
To the wild woods and the plains  
To the pools where winter rains 
Image all their roof of leaves  
Where the pine its garland weaves 
Of sapless green and ivy dun 35 
Round stems that never kiss the sun; 
Where the lawns and pastures be 
And the sandhills of the sea; 
Where the melting hoar-frost wets 
The daisy-star that never sets 40 
And wind-flowers and violets 
Which yet join not scent to hue 
Crown the pale year weak and new; 

When the night is left behind 
In the deep east dim and blind 45 
And the blue noon is over us  
And the multitudinous 
Billows murmur at our feet  
Where the earth and ocean meet  
And all things seem only one 50 
In the universal Sun. 

The Recollection

NOW the last day of many days, 
All beautiful and bright as thou, 
The loveliest and the last, is dead: 
Rise, Memory, and write its praise! 
Up—to thy wonted work! come, trace 5 
The epitaph of glory fled, 
For now the earth has changed its face, 
A frown is on the heaven's brow. 

We wander'd to the Pine Forest 
That skirts the ocean's foam. 10 
The lightest wind was in its nest, 
The tempest in its home; 
The whispering waves were half asleep, 
The clouds were gone to play, 
And on the bosom of the deep 15 
The smile of heaven lay: 
It seem'd as if the hour were one 
Sent from beyond the skies 
Which scatter'd from above the sun 
A light of Paradise! 20 

We paused amid the pines that stood 
The giants of the waste, 
Tortured by storms to shapes as rude 
As serpents interlaced,— 
And soothed by every azure breath 25 
That under heaven is blown, 
To harmonies and hues beneath, 
As tender as its own. 
Now all the tree-tops lay asleep 
Like green waves on the sea, 30 
As still as in the silent deep 
The ocean-woods may be. 

How calm it was!—The silence there 
By such a chain was bound, 
That even the busy woodpecker 35 
Made stiller by her sound 
The inviolable quietness; 
The breath of peace we drew 
With its soft motion made not less 
The calm that round us grew. 40 
There seem'd, from the remotest seat 
Of the wide mountain waste 
To the soft flower beneath our feet, 
A magic circle traced,— 
A spirit interfused around 45 
A thrilling silent life; 
To momentary peace it bound 
Our mortal nature's strife;— 
And still I felt the centre of 
The magic circle there 50 
Was one fair form that fill'd with love 
The lifeless atmosphere. 

We paused beside the pools that lie 
Under the forest bough; 
Each seem'd as 'twere a little sky 55 
Gulf'd in a world below— 
A firmament of purple light 
Which in the dark earth lay, 
More boundless than the depth of night 
And purer than the day— 60 
In which the lovely forests grew 
As in the upper air, 
More perfect both in shape and hue 
Than any spreading there. 
There lay the glade and neighbouring lawn, 65 
And through the dark-green wood 
The white sun twinkling like the dawn 
Out of a speckled cloud. 
Sweet views which in our world above 
Can never well be seen 70 
Were imaged in the water's love 
Of that fair forest green; 
And all was interfused beneath 
With an Elysian glow, 
An atmosphere without a breath, 75 
A softer day below. 
Like one beloved, the scene had lent 
To the dark water's breast 
Its every leaf and lineament 
With more than truth exprest; 80 
Until an envious wind crept by, 
Like an unwelcome thought 
Which from the mind's too faithful eye 
Blots one dear image out. 
—Though thou art ever fair and kind, 85 
The forests ever green, 
Less oft is peace in Shelley's mind 
Than calm in waters seen! 

To the Moon

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 5 
That finds no object worth its constancy? 

"A widow bird sate mourning for her Love"

A WIDOW bird sate mourning for her Love 
Upon a wintry bough; 
The frozen wind crept on above  
The freezing stream below. 

There was no leaf upon the forest bare. 5 
No flower upon the ground  
And little motion in the air 
Except the mill-wheel's sound. 

A Dream of the Unknown

I DREAM'D that as I wander'd by the way 
Bare winter suddenly was changed to spring, 
And gentle odours led my steps astray, 
Mix'd with a sound of waters murmuring 
Along a shelving bank of turf, which lay 5 
Under a copse, and hardly dared to fling 
Its green arms round the bosom of the stream, 
But kiss'd it and then fled, as thou mightest in dream. 

There grew pied wind-flowers and violets, 
Daisies, those pearl'd Arcturi of the earth, 10 
The constellated flower that never sets; 
Faint oxlips; tender bluebells, at whose birth 
The sod scarce heaved; and that tall flower that wets— 
Like a child, half in tenderness and mirth— 
Its mother's face with heaven-collected tears, 15 
When the low wind, its playmate's voice, it hears. 

And in the warm hedge grew lush eglantine, 
Green cow-bind and the moonlight-colour'd may, 
And cherry-blossoms, and white cups, whose wine 
Was the bright dew yet drain'd not by the day; 20 
And wild roses, and ivy serpentine 
With its dark buds and leaves, wandering astray; 
And flowers azure, black, and streak'd with gold, 
Fairer than any waken'd eyes behold. 

And nearer to the river's trembling edge 25 
There grew broad flag-flowers, purple prank'd with white, 
And starry river-buds among the sedge, 
And floating water-lilies, broad and bright, 
Which lit the oak that overhung the hedge 
With moonlight beams of their own watery light; 30 
And bulrushes, and reeds of such deep green 
As soothed the dazzled eye with sober sheen. 

Methought that of these visionary flowers 
I made a nosegay, bound in such a way 
That the same hues, which in their natural bowers 35 
Were mingled or opposed, the like array 
Kept these imprison'd children of the Hours 
Within my hand,—and then, elate and gay, 
I hasten'd to the spot whence I had come 
That I might there present it—oh! to Whom? 40 

Hymn to the Spirit of Nature

LIFE of Life! thy lips enkindle 
With their love the breath between them; 
And thy smiles before they dwindle 
Make the cold air fire: then screen them 
In those locks where whoso gazes 5 
Faints entangled in their mazes. 

Child of Light! thy limbs are burning 
Through the veil which seems to hide them  
As the radiant lines of morning 
Through thin clouds ere they divide them; 10 
And this atmosphere divinest 
Shrouds thee wheresoe'er thou shinest. 

Fair are others: none beholds thee; 
But thy voice sounds low and tender 
Like the fairest for it folds thee 15 
From the sight that liquid splendour; 
And all feel yet see thee never  
As I feel now lost for ever! 

Lamp of Earth! where'er thou movest 
Its dim shapes are clad with brightness 20 
And the souls of whom thou lovest 
Walk upon the winds with lightness 
Till they fail as I am failing  
Dizzy lost yet unbewailing! 

Written among the Euganean Hills North Italy

MANY a green isle needs must be 
In the deep wide sea of Misery, 
Or the mariner, worn and wan, 
Never thus could voyage on 
Day and night, and night and day, 5 
Drifting on his dreary way, 
With the solid darkness black 
Closing round his vessel's track; 
Whilst above, the sunless sky 
Big with clouds, hangs heavily, 10 
And behind the tempest fleet 
Hurries on with lightning feet, 
Riving sail, and cord, and plank, 
Till the ship has almost drank 
Death from the o'er-brimming deep, 15 
And sinks down, down, like that sleep 
When the dreamer seems to be 
Weltering through eternity; 
And the dim low line before 
Of a dark and distant shore 20 
Still recedes, as ever still 
Longing with divided will, 
But no power to seek or shun, 
He is ever drifted on 
O'er the unreposing wave, 25 
To the haven of the grave. 

Ay, many flowering islands lie 
In the waters of wide Agony: 
To such a one this morn was led 
My bark, by soft winds piloted. 30 
—'Mid the mountains Euganean 
I stood listening to the p?an 
With which the legion'd rooks did hail 
The Sun's uprise majestical: 
Gathering round with wings all hoar, 35 
Through the dewy mist they soar 
Like gray shades, till the eastern heaven 
Bursts; and then—as clouds of even 
Fleck'd with fire and azure, lie 
In the unfathomable sky— 40 
So their plumes of purple grain 
Starr'd with drops of golden rain 
Gleam above the sunlight woods, 
As in silent multitudes 
On the morning's fitful gale 45 
Through the broken mist they sail; 
And the vapours cloven and gleaming 
Follow down the dark steep streaming, 
Till all is bright, and clear, and still 
Round the solitary hill. 50 

Beneath is spread like a green sea 
The waveless plain of Lombardy, 
Bounded by the vaporous air, 
Islanded by cities fair; 
Underneath day's azure eyes, 55 
Ocean's nursling, Venice lies,— 
A peopled labyrinth of walls, 
Amphitrite's destined halls, 
Which her hoary sire now paves 
With his blue and beaming waves. 60 
Lo! the sun upsprings behind, 
Broad, red, radiant, half-reclined 
On the level quivering line 
Of the waters crystalline; 
And before that chasm of light, 65 
As within a furnace bright, 
Column, tower, and dome, and spire, 
Shine like obelisks of fire, 
Pointing with inconstant motion 
From the altar of dark ocean 70 
To the sapphire-tinted skies; 
As the flames of sacrifice 
From the marble shrines did rise 
As to pierce the dome of gold 
Where Apollo spoke of old. 75 

Sun-girt City! thou hast been 
Ocean's child, and then his queen; 
Now is come a darker day, 
And thou soon must be his prey, 
If the power that raised thee here 80 
Hallow so thy watery bier. 
A less drear ruin then than now, 
With thy conquest-branded brow 
Stooping to the slave of slaves 
From thy throne among the waves 85 
Wilt thou be—when the sea-mew 
Flies, as once before it flew, 
O'er thine isles depopulate, 
And all is in its ancient state, 
Save where many a palace-gate 90 
With green sea-flowers overgrown, 
Like a rock of ocean's own, 
Topples o'er the abandon'd sea 
As the tides change sullenly. 
The fisher on his watery way, 95 
Wandering at the close of day, 
Will spread his sail and seize his oar 
Till he pass the gloomy shore, 
Lest thy dead should, from their sleep, 
Bursting o'er the starlight deep, 100 
Lead a rapid masque of death 
O'er the waters of his path. 

Noon descends around me now: 
'Tis the noon of autumn's glow, 
When a soft and purple mist 105 
Like a vaporous amethyst, 
Or an air-dissolvèd star 
Mingling light and fragrance, far 
From the curved horizon's bound 
To the point of heaven's profound, 110 
Fills the overflowing sky, 
And the plains that silent lie 
Underneath; the leaves unsodden 
Where the infant Frost has trodden 
With his morning-wingèd feet 115 
Whose bright print is gleaming yet; 
And the red and golden vines 
Piercing with their trellised lines 
The rough, dark-skirted wilderness; 
The dun and bladed grass no less, 120 
Pointing from this hoary tower 
In the windless air; the flower 
Glimmering at my feet; the line 
Of the olive-sandall'd Apennine 
In the south dimly islanded; 125 
And the Alps, whose snows are spread 
High between the clouds and sun; 
And of living things each one; 
And my spirit, which so long 
Darken'd this swift stream of song,— 130 
Interpenetrated lie 
By the glory of the sky; 
Be it love, light, harmony, 
Odour, or the soul of all 
Which from heaven like dew doth fall, 135 
Or the mind which feeds this verse, 
Peopling the lone universe. 

Noon descends, and after noon 
Autumn's evening meets me soon, 
Leading the infantine moon 140 
And that one star, which to her 
Almost seems to minister 
Half the crimson light she brings 
From the sunset's radiant springs: 
And the soft dreams of the morn 145 
(Which like wingèd winds had borne 
To that silent isle, which lies 
'Mid remember'd agonies, 
The frail bark of this lone being), 
Pass, to other sufferers fleeing, 150 
And its ancient pilot, Pain, 
Sits beside the helm again. 

Other flowering isles must be 
In the sea of Life and Agony: 
Other spirits float and flee 155 
O'er that gulf: ev'n now, perhaps, 
On some rock the wild wave wraps, 
With folding wings they waiting sit 
For my bark, to pilot it 
To some calm and blooming cove, 160 
Where for me, and those I love, 
May a windless bower be built, 
Far from passion, pain, and guilt, 
In a dell 'mid lawny hills 
Which the wild sea-murmur fills, 165 
And soft sunshine, and the sound 
Of old forests echoing round, 
And the light and smell divine 
Of all flowers that breathe and shine. 
—We may live so happy there, 170 
That the Spirits of the Air 
Envying us, may ev'n entice 
To our healing paradise 
The polluting multitude: 
But their rage would be subdued 175 
By that clime divine and calm, 
And the winds whose wings rain balm 
On the uplifted soul, and leaves 
Under which the bright sea heaves; 
While each breathless interval 180 
In their whisperings musical 
The inspirèd soul supplies 
With its own deep melodies; 
And the Love which heals all strife 
Circling, like the breath of life, 185 
All things in that sweet abode 
With its own mild brotherhood:— 
They, not it, would change; and soon 
Every sprite beneath the moon 
Would repent its envy vain, 190 
And the Earth grow young again! 

Ode to the West Wind

O WILD West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being— 
Thou from whose unseen presence the leaves dead 
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing, 
Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red, 
Pestilence-stricken multitudes!—O thou 5 
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed 
The wingèd seeds, where they lie cold and low, 
Each like a corpse within its grave, until 
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow 
Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill 10 
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air) 
With living hues and odours plain and hill— 
Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere— 
Destroyer and Preserver—hear, O hear! 

Thou on whose stream, 'mid the steep sky's commotion, 15 
Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are shed, 
Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean, 
Angels of rain and lightning! they are spread 
On the blue surface of thine airy surge, 
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head 20 
Of some fierce M?nad, ev'n from the dim verge 
Of the horizon to the zenith's height— 
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge 
Of the dying year, to which this closing night 
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre, 25 
Vaulted with all thy congregated might 
Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere 
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst:—O hear! 

Thou who didst waken from his summer-dreams 
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay, 30 
Lull'd by the coil of his crystalline streams, 
Beside a pumice isle in Bai?'s bay, 
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers 
Quivering within the wave's intenser day, 
All overgrown with azure moss, and flowers 35 
So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou 
For whose path the Atlantic's level powers 
Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below 
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear 
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know 40 
Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear 
And tremble and despoil themselves:—O hear! 

If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear; 
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee; 
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share 45 
The impulse of thy strength, only less free 
Than thou, O uncontrollable!—if even 
I were as in my boyhood, and could be 
The comrade of thy wanderings over heaven, 
As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed 50 
Scarce seem'd a vision,—I would ne'er have striven 
As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need. 
O lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud! 
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed! 
A heavy weight of hours has chain'd and bow'd 55 
One too like thee—tameless, and swift, and proud. 

Make me thy lyre, ev'n as the forest is: 
What if my leaves are falling like its own! 
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies 
Will take from both a deep autumnal tone, 60 
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce, 
My spirit! be thou me, impetuous one! 
Drive my dead thoughts over the universe, 
Like wither'd leaves, to quicken a new birth; 
And, by the incantation of this verse, 65 
Scatter, as from an unextinguish'd hearth 
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind! 
Be through my lips to unawaken'd earth 
The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind, 
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind? 70 

The Poet's Dream

ON a Poet's lips I slept  
Dreaming like a love-adept 
In the sound his breathing kept; 
Nor seeks nor finds he mortal blisses  
But feeds on the aerial kisses 5 
Of shapes that haunt Thought's wildernesses. 
He will watch from dawn to gloom 
The lake-reflected sun illume 
The blue bees in the ivy-bloom  
Nor heed nor see what things they be— 10 
But from these create he can 
Forms more real than living man  
Nurslings of Immortality! 

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! 5 

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! 10 

 "Music when soft voices die"

MUSIC when soft voices die  
Vibrates in the memory; 
Odours when sweet violets sicken  
Live within the sense they quicken; 

Rose leaves when the rose is dead 5 
Are heap'd for the belovèd's bed: 
And so thy thoughts when thou art gone  
Love itself shall slumber on.

Hymn of Pan

FROM the forests and highlands 
We come we come; 
From the river-girt islands  
Where loud waves are dumb  
Listening to my sweet pipings. 5 
The wind in the reeds and the rushes  
The bees on the bells of thyme  
The birds on the myrtle bushes  
The cicale above in the lime  
And the lizards below in the grass 10 
Were as silent as ever old Tmolus was  
Listening to my sweet pipings. 

Liquid Peneus was flowing  
And all dark Tempe lay 
In Pelion's shadow outgrowing 15 
The light of the dying day  
Speeded by my sweet pipings. 
The Sileni and Sylvans and Fauns  
And the Nymphs of the woods and waves  
To the edge of the moist river-lawns 20 
And the brink of the dewy caves  
And all that did then attend and follow  
Were silent with love as you now Apollo  
With envy of my sweet pipings. 

I sang of the dancing stars 25 
I sang of the d?dal earth  
And of heaven and the giant wars  
And love and death and birth. 
And then I changed my pipings— 
Singing how down the vale of M?nalus 30 
I pursued a maiden and clasp'd a reed: 
Gods and men we are all deluded thus! 
It breaks in our bosom and then we bleed. 
All wept—as I think both ye now would  
If envy or age had not frozen your blood— 35 
At the sorrow of my sweet pipings. 


THE world's great age begins anew  
The golden years return  
The earth doth like a snake renew 
Her winter weeds outworn; 
Heaven smiles and faiths and empires gleam 5 
Like wrecks of a dissolving dream. 

A brighter Hellas rears its mountains 
From waves serener far; 
A new Peneus rolls his fountains 
Against the morning star; 10 
Where fairer Tempes bloom there sleep 
Young Cyclads on a sunnier deep. 

A loftier Argo cleaves the main  
Fraught with a later prize; 
Another Orpheus sings again 15 
And loves and weeps and dies; 
A new Ulysses leaves once more 
Calypso for his native shore. 

O write no more the tale of Troy  
If earth Death's scroll must be— 20 
Nor mix with Laian rage the joy 
Which dawns upon the free  
Although a subtler Sphinx renew 
Riddles of death Thebes never knew. 

Another Athens shall arise 25 
And to remoter time 
Bequeath like sunset to the skies  
The splendour of its prime; 
And leave if naught so bright may live  
All earth can take or Heaven can give. 30 

Saturn and Love their long repose 
Shall burst more bright and good 
Than all who fell than One who rose  
Than many unsubdued: 
Not gold not blood their altar dowers 35 
But votive tears and symbol flowers. 

O cease! must hate and death return? 
Cease! must men kill and die? 
Cease! drain not to its dregs the urn 
Of bitter prophecy! 40 
The world is weary of the past— 
O might it die or rest at last! 

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 mood arose up in the murky east, 5 
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, 10 
And ever changing, like a joyless eye 
That finds no object worth its constancy? 

The Indian Serenade

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, 5 
And a spirit in my feet 
Hath led me—who knows how? 
To thy chamber window, Sweet! 

The wandering airs they faint 
On the dark, the silent stream— 10 
And the champak's odours [pine] 
Like sweet thoughts in a dream; 
The nightingale's complaint, 
It dies upon her heart, 
As I must on thine, 15 
O belovèd as thou art! 

O lift me from the grass! 
I die! I faint! I fail! 
Let thy love in kisses rain 
On my lips and eyelids pale. 20 
My cheek is cold and white, alas! 
My heart beats loud and fast: 
O press it to thine own again, 
Where it will break at last! 

From the Arabic 

MY faint spirit was sitting in the light 
Of thy looks my love; 
It panted for thee like the hind at noon 
For the brooks my love. 
Thy barb whose hoofs outspeed the tempest's flight 5 
Bore thee far from me; 
My heart for my weak feet were weary soon  
Did companion thee. 

Ah! fleeter far than fleetest storm or steed  
Or the death they bear 10 
The heart which tender thought clothes like a dove 
With the wings of care; 
In the battle in the darkness in the need  
Shall mine cling to thee  
Nor claim one smile for all the comfort love 15 
It may bring to thee. 


WHEN the lamp is shatter'd  
The light in the dust lies dead; 
When the cloud is scatter'd  
The rainbow's glory is shed; 
When the lute is broken 5 
Sweet tones are remember'd not 
When the lips have spoken  
Loved accents are soon forgot. 

As music and splendour 
Survive not the lamp and the lute 10 
The heart's echoes render 
No song when the spirit is mute— 
No song but sad dirges  
Like the wind through a ruin'd cell  
Or the mournful surges 15 
That ring the dead seaman's knell. 

When hearts have once mingled  
Love first leaves the well-built nest; 
The weak one is singled 
To endure what it once possest. 20 
O Love who bewailest 
The frailty of all things here  
Why choose you the frailest 
For your cradle your home and your bier? 

Its passions will rock thee 25 
As the storms rock the ravens on high: 
Bright reason will mock thee  
Like the sun from a wintry sky. 
From thy nest every rafter 
Will rot and thine eagle home 30 
Leave thee naked to laughter  
When leaves fall and cold winds come. 


AWAY! the moor is dark beneath the moon  
Rapid clouds have drunk the last pale beam of even: 
Away! the gathering winds will call the darkness soon  
And profoundest midnight shroud the serene lights of heaven. 
Pause not! the time is past! Every voice cries 'Away!' 5 
Tempt not with one last tear thy friend's ungentle mood: 
Thy lover's eye so glazed and cold dares not entreat thy stay: 
Duty and dereliction guide thee back to solitude. 

Away away! to thy sad and silent home; 
Pour bitter tears on its desolated hearth; 10 
Watch the dim shades as like ghosts they go and come  
And complicate strange webs of melancholy mirth. 
The leaves of wasted autumn woods shall float around thine head  
The blooms of dewy Spring shall gleam beneath thy feet: 
But thy soul or this world must fade in the frost that binds the dead 15 
Ere midnight's frown and morning's smile ere thou and peace may meet. 

The cloud shadows of midnight possess their own repose  
For the weary winds are silent or the moon is in the deep; 
Some respite to its turbulence unresting ocean knows; 
Whatever moves or toils or grieves hath its appointed sleep. 20 
Thou in the grave shalt rest:—yet till the phantoms flee  
Which that house and heath and garden made dear to thee erewhile  
Thy remembrance and repentance and deep musings are not free 
From the music of two voices and the light of one sweet smile.

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