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Third Srrarr.
Peace! the abyss is wreathed with scorn
At your presumption, atom-born!

What is heaven? and what are ye
Who its brief expanse inherit?

What aro suns and sphereswhich flee
With tho instinct of that spirit

Of which ye aro but a part?

Drops which Nature's mighty heart

Drives through thinnest veins. Depart!

What is heaven? a globe of dew,

Filling in the morning new

Some eyed flower, whose young leaves waken

On an unimagined world:
Constellated suns unshaken,

Orbits measureless, are furled
In that frail and fading sphere,
With ten millions gathered there.
To tremble, gleam, and disappear.


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,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure nister of the spring shall blow

Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet birds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odours plain and hill:

• This poem was conceived and chiefly written in a wood that skirts the Arno, near Florence, and on a day when that tempestuous wind, whose temperature is at once mild and animating, was collecting the vapours which pour down the autumnal rains. They began, as I foresaw, at sunset, with a violont tempest of hail and rain, attended by that magnificent thunder and ligntning peculiar to the Cisalpine regions.

The phenomenon alluded to at the conclusion of the third stanza is wetl known to naturalists. The vegetation at the bottom of tho sea, of riven, and of lakes, sympathises with that of the land in the change of seasons, and is consequently influenced by the winds which announce it.

Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere,
Destroyer and preserver; hear, oh hear!


Thou on whose stream, 'mid the steep sky's commotion,
Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are shed,
Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,

Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
On the blue surface of thine airy surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head

Of some fierce Maennd, even from tho 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,
Vaulted with all thy congregated might

Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere

Black rain, and fire, and hail, will burst: Oh hear!


Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay
Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams.

Beside a pumice isle in Baiac's bay,
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave's intenser day,

All overgrown with azure moss and flowers

So sweet, the sense taints 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

Thy voice, and suddenly grow grey with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves: Oh 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

The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O uncontrollable I If even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be

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The comrade of thy wanderings over heaven,
As then, when to outstrip the skley speed
Scarce seemed a vision, I would ne'er have striven

As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
Oh ! lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud I
I fall upon the thorns of life 1 I bleed 1

A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed
One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud

Make me thy lyre, even 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,
Sweet though in sadness. Bo thou, spirit fierce
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one I

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth;
And, by the incantation of this verse,

Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind 1
Be through my lips to unawakened earth

The trumpet of a prophecy! 0 wind,

If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?


Cameleons feed on light and air:
Poets' food is love and fame:

If in this wide world of care
Poets could but find the same

With as little toil as they,

Would they ever change their hue
As the light cameleons do,

Suiting it to every ray

Twenty times a-day 1

Poets are on this cold earth,

As cameleons might be,
Hidden from their early birth

In a cave beneath the sea;



Where light is, cameleons change 1
Where love is not, poets do:
Fame is love disguised: if few

Find either, never think it strange

That poets range.

Yet dare not stain with wealth or power

A poet's free and heavenly mind:
If bright cameleons should devour

Any food but beams and wind,
They would grow as earthly soon

As their brother lizards are.

Children of a sunnier star,
Spirits from beyond the moon,
Oh, refuse the boon!




It lieth, gazing on the midnight sky,
Upon the cloudy mountain peak supine:

Below, far lands are seen tremblingly;
Its horror and its beauty are divine.

Upon its lips and eyelids seems to lie
Loveliness like a shadow, from which shine,

Fiery and lurid, struggling underneath,

The agonies of anguish and of death.

Yet it is less the horror than the grace
Which turns the gazer's spirit into stone

Whereon the lineaments of that dead face
Are graven, till the characters be grown

Into itself, and thought no more can trace;
'Tis the melodious hues of beauty thrown

Athwart the darkness and the glare of pain,

Which humanised and harmonise the strain.

And from its head as from one body grow,
As [ ] grass out of a watery rock,

Hail's which are vipers, and they curl and flow,
And their long tangles in each other lock,

And with unending involutions show
Their mailed radiance, as it were to mock

The torture and the death within, and saw

The solid air with many a ragged jaw.

And from a stone beside, a poisonous eft
Peeps idly into these Gorgonian eyes;

Whilst in the air a ghastly bat, bereft
Of sense, has flitted with a mad surprise

Out of the cave this hideous light hath cleft,
And he comes hastening like a moth that hies

After a taper; and the midnight sky

Flares, a light more dread than obscurity.

'Tis the tempestuous loveliness of terror;

For from the serpents gleams a brazen glare Kindled by that inextricable error,

Which makes a thrilling vapour of the air
Become a [ ] and ever-shifting mirror

Of all the beauty and the terror there—
A woman's countenance, with serpent locks,
Gazing in death on heaven from those wet rocks.

Florrscr, 1819.


(With what truth I may say—

Roma I Roma! Romal
Non e piu come era prima I)

My lost William, thou in whom

Some bright spirit lived, and did
That decaying robe consume

Which its lustre faintly hid,
Here its ashes find a tomb,

But beneath this pyramid
Thou art not—if a thing divine
Like thee can die. thy funeral shrine
Is thy mother's grief and mine.

Where art thou, my gentle child?

Let me think thy spirit feeds,
With its life intense and mild,

The love of living leaves and weeds,
Among these tombs and ruins wild;—
« Let me think that through low seeds
Of the sweet flowers and sunny grass,
Into their hues and scents may pass,
A portion

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