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Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Born 1792. Died 1822.
THERE was a Poet whose untimely tomb
By solemn vision and bright silver dream
His infancy was nurtured. Every sight
And sound from the vast earth and ambient air
Sent to his heart its choicest impulses.
The fountains of divine philosophy
Fled not his thirsting lips: and all of great
Or good or lovely which the sacred past
In truth or fable consecrates he felt
And knew. When early youth had passed, he left
His cold fireside and alienated home,
To seek strange truths in undiscovered lands.
Many a wide waste and tangled wilderness
Had lured his fearless steps; and he has brought
With his sweet voice and eyes, from savage men,
His rest and food. Nature's most secret steps
He like her shadow has pursued, where'er
The red volcano overcanopies
Its fields of snow, and pinnacles of ice
With burning smoke; or where bitumen-lakes
On black bare pointed islets ever beat
With sluggish surge; or where the secret caves
Rugged and dark, winding among the springs
Of fire and poison, inaccessible
To avarice or pride, their starry domes
Of diamond and of gold expand above
Numberless and immeasurable halls,
Frequent with crystal column, and clear shrines
Of pearl, and thrones radiant with chrysolite.
Nor had that scene of ampler majesty
Than gems or gold, the varying roof of heaven
And the green earth, lost in his heart its claims
To love and wonder. He would linger long
In lonesome vales, making the wild his home;
Until the doves and squirrels would partake
From his innocuous hand his bloodless food,
Lured by the gentle meaning of his looks,—
And the wild antelope, that starts whene'er
The dry leaf rustles in the brake, suspend
Her timid steps, to gaze upon a form
More graceful than her own.
His wandering step Obedient to high thoughts, has visited The awful ruins of the days of old
Athens and Tyre, and Balbec, and the waste
Where stood Jerusalem, the fallen towers
Of Babylon, the eternal pyramids,
Memphis and Thebes, and whatsoe'er of strange,
Sculptured on alabaster obelisk,
Or jasper tomb, or mutilated sphinx,
Dark Ethiopia on her desert hills
Conceals. Among the ruined temples there,
Stupendous columns, and wild images
Of more than man, where marble demons watch
The zodiac's brazen mystery, and dead men
Hang their mute thoughts on the mute walls around,
He lingered, poring on memorials
Of the world's youth; through the long burning day
Gazed on those speechless shapes; nor when the moon
Filled the mysterious halls with floating shades,
Suspended he that task, but ever gazed
And gazed, till meaning on his vacant mind
Flashed like strong inspiration, and he saw
The thrilling secrets of the birth of time.
From Alastor, or The Spirit of Solitude.
Adonais; An Elegy On The Death Of John Keats.
I WEEP for Adonais—he is dead!
Where wert thou, mighty Mother, when he lay,
When thy son lay, pierced by the shaft which flics
In darkness? Where was lorn Urania
When Adonais died? With veiled eyes,
Mid listening Echoes, in her paradise
She sate, while one with soft enamoured breath,
Rekindled all the fading melodies
With which, like flowers that mock the corse beneath,
He had adorned and hid the coming bulk of Death.
in. Oh weep for Adonais—he is dead! Wake, melancholy Mother, wake and weep !— Yet wherefore? Quench within their burning bed Thy fiery tears, and let thy loud heart keep, Like his, a mute and uncomplaining sleep; For he is gone where all things wise and fair Descend. Oh dream not that the amorous deep Will yet restore him to the vital air; Death feeds on his mute voice, and laughs at our despair.
He will awake no more, oh never more!
'Wake thou,' cried Misery, 'childless Mother! Rise
Out of thy sleep, and slake in thy heart's core
A wound more fierce than his, with tears and sighs.'
And all the Dreams that watched Urania's eyes,
And all the Echoes whom their Sister's song
Had held in holy silence, cried 'Arise';
Swift as a thought by the snake Memory stung,
From her ambrosial rest the fading Splendour sprung.
She rose like an autumnal Night that springs
Has left the Earth a corpse. Sorrow and fear
Out of her secret paradise she sped,
Through camps and cities rough with stone and steel
And human hearts, which to her aery tread
Yielding not, wounded the invisible
Palms of her tender feet where'er they fell.
And barbed tongues, and thoughts more sharp than they,
Rent the soft form they never could repel,
Whose sacred blood, like the young flowers of May,
Paved with eternal flowers that undeserving way.
xxv. In the death-chamber for a moment Death, Shamed by the presence of that living Might, Mushed to annihilation, and the breath Revisited those lips, and life's pale light . Flashed through those limbs so late her dear delight. 'Leave me not wild and drear and comfortless, As silent lightning leaves the starless night! Leave me not!' cried Urania. Her distress Roused Death: Death rose and smiled, and met her vain caress.
.xxvi. 'Stay yet awhile! speak to me once again! Kiss me, so long but as a kiss may live! And in my heartless breast and burning brain That word, that kiss, shall all thoughts else survive, With food of saddest memory kept alive, Now thou art dead, as if it were a part Of thee, my Adonais! I would give All that I am, to be as now thou art :— But I am chained to Time, and cannot thence depart.