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Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never known, The weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan ;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
And leaden-eyed despairs ;
Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
Or new Love pine at them beyond tomorrow.
Away! away ! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards :
Already with thee! tender is the night,
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
Cluster'd around by all her starry Fays ;
But here there is no light
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy
ways. I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs, But, in embalméd darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild ;
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine ;
Fast-fading violets cover'd up in leaves;
And mid-May's eldest child
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves. Darkling I listen ; and for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath ;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstasy!
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain
To thy high requiem become a sod.
Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird !
No hungry generations tread thee down; The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn ;
The same that oft-times hath
Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
Up the hill-side ; and now 'tis buried deep
In the next valley-glades :
Was it a vision, or a waking dream ?
Fled is that music:—do I wake or sleep?
UPON WESTMINSTER BRIDGE,
Sept. 3, 1802
Earth has not anything to show more fair :
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty :
This City now doth like a garment wear
The beauty of the morning : silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky,
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour valley, rock, or hill ;
Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will :
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep ;
And all that mighty heart is lying still !
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
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 :
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.
P. B. Shelley
COMPOSED AT NEIDPATH CASTLE, THE
PROPERTY OF LORD QUEENSBERRY, 1803
Degenerate Douglas ! O the unworthy lord !
Whom mere despite of heart could so far please
And love of havoc (for with such disease
Fame taxes him) that he could send forth word
To level with the dust a noble horde,
A brotherhood of venerable trees,
Leaving an ancient dome, and towers like these
Beggar'd and outraged Many hearts deplored
The fate of those old trees ; and oft with pain
The traveller at this day will stop and gaze
On wrongs, which Nature scarcely seems to heed :
For shelter'd places, bosoms, nooks, and bays, And the pure mountains, and the gentle Tweed, And the green silent pastures, yet remain.
ADMONITION TO A TRAVELLER
Yes, there is holy pleasure in thine eye !
- The lovely cottage in the guardian nook
Hath stirr'd thee deeply; with its own dear brook,
Its own small pasture, almost its own sky!
But covet not the abode-O do not sigh
As many do, repining while they look ;
Intruders who would tear from Nature's book
This precious leaf with harsh impiety :
-Think what the home would be if it were thine,
Even thine, though few thy wants !-Roof, window,
The very flowers are sacred to the Poor,
The roses to the porch which they entwine :
Yea, all that now enchants thee, from the day
On which it should be touch'd would melt away!
TO THE HIGHLAND GIRL OF INVERSNAID
Sweet Highland Girl, a very shower
Of beauty is thy earthly dower !
Twice seven consenting years have shed
Their utmost bounty on thy head :
And these gray rocks, this household lawn,
These trees--a veil just half withdrawn,
This fall of water that doth make
A murmur near the silent lake,
This little bay, a quiet road
That holds in shelter thy abode ;
In truth together ye do seem
Like something fashion'd in a dream;
Such forms as from their covert peep When earthly cares are laid asleep ! But O fair Creature! in the light Of common day, so heavenly bright, I bless Thee, Vision as thou art, I bless thee with a human heart : God shield thee to thy latest years ! I neither know thee nor thy peers : And yet my eyes are fill'd with tears. With earnest feeling I shall pray For thee when I am far away ; For never saw I mien or face In which more plainly I could trace Benignity and home-bred sense Ripening in perfect innocence. Here scatter'd like a random seed, Remote from men, Thou dost not need The embarrass'd look of shy distress, And maidenly shamefacedness : Thou wear’st upon thy forehead clear The freedom a mountaineer : A face with gladness overspread, Soft smiles, by human kindness bred ; And seemliness complete, that sways Thy courtesies, about thee plays; With no restraint, but such as springs From quick and eager visitings Of thoughts that lie beyond the reach Of thy few words of English speech : A bondage sweetly brook'd, a strife That gives thy gestures grace and life! So have I, not unmoved in mind, Seen birds of tempest-loving kind, Thus beating up against the wind. What hand but would a garland cull For thee who art so beautiful ? O happy pleasure ! here to dwell Beside thee in some heathy dell ; Adopt your homely ways and dress, A shepherd, thou a shepherdess ! But I could frame a wish for thee