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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.
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 :
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:
Like a glow-worm golden
In a dell of dew,
Its aerial hue
Among the flowers and grass, which screen it from the
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-winged
Sound of vernal showers
On the twinkling grass,
All that ever was
Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass.
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
Or triumphal chaunt
Match'd with thine, would be all
But an empty vaunt-
A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.
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 ?
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.
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 ?
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
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.
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 !
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 !
P. B. Shelley
Beneath these fruit-tree boughs that shed
Their snow-white blossoms on my head,
With brightest sunshine round me spread
Of Spring's unclouded weather,
In this sequester'd nook how sweet
To sit upon my orchard-seat !
And flowers and birds once more to greet,
My last year's friends together.
One have I mark'd, the happiest guest
In all this covert of the blest :
Hail to Thee, far above the rest
In joy of voice and pinion !
Thou, Linnet ! in thy green array
Presiding Spirit here today
Dost lead the revels of the May,
And this is thy dominion.
While birds, and butterflies, and flowers
Make all one band of paramours,
Thou, ranging up and down the bowers
Art sole in thy employment;
A Life, a Presence like the air,
Scattering thy gladness without care,
Too blest with any one to pair,
Thyself thy own enjoyment.
Amid yon tuft of hazel trees
That twinkle to the gusty breeze,
Behold him perch'd in ecstasies
Yet seeming still to hover;
There, where the flutter of his wings
Upon his back and body flings
Shadows and sunny glimmerings,
That cover him all over.
My dazzled sight he oft deceives -
A brother of the dancing leaves ;
Then flits, and from the cottage-eaves
Pours forth his song in gushes,
As if by that exulting strain
He mock'd and treated with disdain
The voiceless Form he chose to feign
While fluttering in the bushes.
TO THE CUCKOO O blithe new-comer ! I have heard, I hear thee and rejoice: O Cuckoo ! shall I call thee bird, Or but a wandering Voice ? While I am lying on the grass Thy twofold shout I hear; From hill to hill it seems to pass, At once far off and near. Though babbling only to the vale Of sunshine and of flowers, Thou bringest unto me a tale Of visionary hours. Thrice welcome, darling of the Spring! Even yet thou art to me No bird, but an invisible thing A voice, a mystery ; The same whom in my school-boy days I listen’d to; that Cry Which made me look a thousand ways In bush, and tree, and sky.
To seek thee did I often rove
Through woods and on the green ;
And thou wert still a hope, a love ;
Still long'd for, never seen!
And I can listen to thee yet;
Can lie upon the plain
And listen, till I do beget
That golden time again.
O blesséd bird ! the earth we pace
Again appears to be
An unsubstantial, fairy place
That is fit home for Thee !
My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk :
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
Put being too happy in thy happiness, –
That thou, light-wingéd Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
O for a draught of vintage, that hath been
Cool'd a long age in the deep-delvéd earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country-green,
Dance, and Provençal song, and sun-burnt mirth!
for a beaker full of the warm South,
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim
And purple-stainéd mouth;
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
And with thee fade away into the forest dim :