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Oh I there are spirits in the air,

And genii of the evening breeze,
And gentle ghosts, with eyes as fair
As star-beams among twilight trees :—
Such lovely ministers to meet
Oft hast thou turned from men thy lonely feet.

With mountain winds, and babbling springs,

And mountain seas, that are the voice
Of these inexplicable things,
Thou didst hold commune, and rejoice
When they did answer thee; but they
Cast, like a worthless boon, thy love away.

And thou hast sought in starry eyes

Beams that were never meant for thine, Another's wealth ;—tame sacrifice To a fond faith! still dost thou pine! Still dost thou hope that greeting hands, Voice, looks, or lips, may answer thy demands?

Ah! wherefore didst thou build thine hope

On the false earth's inconstancy! Did thine own mind afford no scope Of love, or moving thoughts to thee 1 That natural scenes or human smiles Could steal the power to wind thee in their wiles.

Yes, all the faithless smiles are fled

Whose falsehood left thee broken-hearted; The glory of the moon is dead; Night's ghost and dreams have now departed; Thine own soul still is true to thee, But changed to a foul fiend through misery.

This fiend, whose ghastly presence ever

Beside thee like thy shadow hangs,
Dream not to chase ;—the mad endeavour
Would scourge thee to severer pangs.
Be as thou art. Thy settled fate,
Dark as it is, all change would aggravate.


A Wit! 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! Tempt not with one last glance 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; Watch the dim shades as like ghosts they go and come, And complicate strange webs of melancholy mirth. I The leaves of wasted autumn woods shall float around thine head, The blooms of dewy spring shall gleam beneath thy feet: t But thy soul or this world must fade in the frost that binds the dead, 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. 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.


The cold earth slept below,
Above the cold sky shone,

And all around

With a chilling sound,
From caves of ice and fields of snow,
The breath of night like death did flow

Beneath the sinking moon.

The wintry hedge was black,
The green grass was not seen,

The birds did rest

On the bare thorn's breast,
Whose roots, beside the pathway track,
Had bound their folds o'er many a crack

Which the frost had made between.

Thine eyes glowed in the glare
Of the moon's dying light,

As a fen-fire's beam
'On a sluggish stream
Gleams dimly—so the moon shone there,
And it yellowed the strings of thy tangled hair,
That shook in the wind of night.

The moon made thy lips pale, beloved;
The wind made thy bosom chill;

The night did shed

On thy dear head
Its frozen dew, and thou didst lie
Where the bitter breath of the naked «ky

Might visit thee at will.
Hovewtbtr, 1814.

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Poet of Nature, thou hast wept to know
That things depart which never may return;
Childhood and youth, friendship and love's first

Have fled like sweet dreams, leaving thee to mourn.
These common woes I feel. One loss is mine,
Which thou too feel'st; yet I alone deplore.
Thou wert as a lone star, whose light did shine
On some frail bark in winter's midnight roar:
Thou hast like to a rock-built refuge stood
Above the blind and battling multitude:
In honoured poverty thy voice did weave
Songs consecrate to truth and liberty,—
Deserting these, thou leavest me to grieve,
Thus having been, that thou shouldst cease to be.


I Hated thee, fallen tyrant! I did groan
To think that a most unambitious slave,
Like thou, shouldst dance and revel on the grave
Of Liberty. Thou mightst have built thy throne-
Where it had stood oven now: thou didst prefer
A frail and bloody pomp, which time has swept
In fragments towards oblivion. Massacre,
For this I prayed, would on thy sleep have crept.
Treason and Slavery, Rapine, Fear, and Lust,
And stifled thee, their minister. I know
Too late, since thou and France are in the dust,
That Virtue owns a more eternal foo
Than force or fraud: old Custom, legal Crimt,
And bloody Faith, the foulest birth of time.


The remainder of Shelley's Poems will be arranged in the order in which they were written. Of course, mistakes will occur in placing some of the shorter ones; for, as I have said, many of these were thrown aside, and I never saw them till I had the misery of looking over his writings, after the hand that traced them was dust; and some were in the hands of others, and I never saw them till now. The subjects of the poems are often to me an unerring guide; but on other occasions, I can only guess, by finding them in the pages of the same manuscript book that contains poems with the date of whose composition I am fully conversant. In the present arrangement all his poetical translations will be placed together at the end of the volume.

The loss of his early papers prevents my being able to give any of the poetry of his boyhood. Of the few I give as early poems, the greater part were published with "Alastor ;" some of them were written previously, some at the same period. The poem beginning, " Oh, there are spirits in the air," was addressed in idea to Coleridge, whom he never knew ; and at whose character he could only guess imperfectly, through his writings, and accounts he heard of hira from some who knew him well. He regarded his change of opinions as rather an act of will than conviction, and believed that in his inner heart he would be haunted by what Shelley considered the better and holier aspirations of his youth The summer evening that suggested to him the poem written in the churchyard of Lechdale, occurred during his

voyage np the Thames, in the autumn of 1813 He had been advised by a physician to live as much as possible in the open air ; and a fortnight of a bright warm July was spent in tracing the Thames to its source. He never spent a season more tranquilly than the summer of 1815. He had just recovered from a Bevere pulmonary attack; the weather was warm and pleasant. He lived near Windsor Forest, and his life was spent under its shades, or on the water ; meditating subjects for verse. Hitherto, he had chiefly aimed at extending his political doctrines ; and attempted so to do by appeals, in prose essays, to the people, exhorting them to claim their rights ; but he had now begun to feel that the time for action was not ripe in England, and that the pen was the only instrument wherewith to prepare the way for better things.

In the scanty journals kept during those years, I find a record of the books that Shelley read during several years. During the years of 1814 and 1815, the list is extensive. It includes in Greek ; Homer, Hesiod, Theocritus—the histories of Thucydides and Herodotus, and Diogenes Laertius. In Latin ; Petronius, Suetonius, some of the works of Cicero, a large proportion of those of Seneca and Livy. In English ; Milton's Poem*, Wordsworth's Excursion, Southey's Madoc and Thalaba, Locke on the Human Understanding, Bacon's Novum Organum. In Italian, Ariosto, Tasso, and Alfieri. In French, the Reveries d'un Solitaire of Rousseau. To these may be added severalmodernbooksof travels. He read few novels. THE SUNSET.



There late was One, within whose subtle being,
As light and wind within some delicate cloud
That fades amid the blue noon's burning sky,
Genius and death contended. None may know
The sweetness of the joy which made his breath
Fail, like the trances of the summer air,
When, with the Lady of his lore, who then
First knew the unreserve of mingled being,
He walked along the pathway of a field,
Which to the east a hoar wood shadowed o'er,
But to the west was open to the sky.
There now the sun had sunk, but lines of gold
Hung on the ashen clouds, and on the points
Of the far level grass and nodding flowers,
And the old dandelion's hoary beard,
And, mingled with the shades of twilight, lay
On the brown massy woods—and in the east
The broad and burning moon lingeringly rose
Between the black trunks of the crowded trees,
While the faint stars were gathering overhead.—
"Is it not Btrange, Isabel," said the youth,
"I never saw the sun! We will walk here
To-morrow ; thou shalt look on it with me."
That night the youth and lady mingled lay
In love and sleep—but when the morning came
The lady found her lover dead and cold.
Let none believe that God in mercy gave
That stroke. The lady died not, nor grew wild,
But year by year lived on—in truth I think
Her gentleness and patience and sad smiles,
And that she did not die, but lived to tend
Her aged father, were a kind of madness,
If madness 'tis to be unlike the world.
For but to Bee her were to read the tale
Woven by some subtlest bard, to make hard hearts
Dissolve away in wisdom-working grief;—
Her eye-lashes were torn away with tears,
Her lips and cheeks were like things dead—so pale;
Her hands were thin, and through their wandering

And weak articulations might be seen
Day's ruddy light. The tomb of thy dead self
Which one vexed ghost inhabits, night and day,
Is all, lost child, that now remains of thee!

"Inheritor of more than earth can give, Passionless calm and silence unreproved, WhetheT the dead find, oh, not sleep ! but rest, And are the uncomplaining things they seem, Or live, or drop in the deep sea of Love; Oh, that like thine, mine epitaph were—Peace!" This was the only moan she ever made.

The awful shadow of some unseen Power
Floats tho' unseen among us ; visiting
This various world with as inconstant wing

As summer winds that creep from flower to flower:

Like moonbeams that behind some piny mountain It visits with inconstant glance [shower,

Each human heart and countenance;

Like hues and harmonies of evening,

Like clouds in starlight widely spread,

Like memory of music fled,

Like aught that for its grace may be

Dear, and yet dearer for its mystery.

Spirit of Beautt, that dost consecrate

With thine own hues all thou dost shine upon Of human thought or form, where art thou gone?

Why dost thou pass away and leave our state,

This dim vast vale of tears, vacant and desolate!
Ask why the sunlight not for ever
Weaves rainbows o'er yon mountain river;

Why aught should fail and fade that once is shown;
Why fear and dream and death and birth
Cast on the daylight of this earth
Such gloom ; why man has such a scope

For love and hate, despondency and hope;

No voice from some sublimer world hath ever
To sage or poet these responses given:
Therefore the names of Demon, Ghost, and

Remain the records of their vain endeavour;

Frail spells, whose uttered charm might not avail
From all we hear and all we see, [to sever,
Doubt, chance, and mutability.

Thy light alone, like mist o'er mountains driven,
Or music by the night wind sent
Through strings of some still instrument,
Or moonlight on a midnight stream,

Gives grace and truth to life's unquiet dream.

Love, Hope, and Self-esteem, like clouds, depart And come, for some nncertain moments lent. Man were immortal and omnipotent,

Didst thou, unknown and awful as thou art,

Keep with thy glorious train firm state within his Thou messenger of sympathies [heart.

That wax and wane in lovers' eyes;

Thou, that to human thought art nourishment,
Like darkness to a dying flame I
Depart not as thy shadow came:
Depart not, lest the grave should be,
Like life and fear, a dark reality,
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While yet a boy I sought for ghosts, and Bped

Thro'many a listening chamber, cave, and ruin,

And starlight wood, with fearful steps pursuing Hopes of high talk with the departed dead. I called on poisonous names with which our youth

I was not heard, I saw them not; [is fed:

When musing deeply on the lot Of life, at that sweet time when winds are wooing

All vital things that wake to bring

News of birds and blossoming,

Sudden, thy shadow fell on ine;
I shrieked, and clasped my hands in ecstacy!

I vowed that I would dedicate my powers

To thee and thine: have I not kept the vow!
With beating heart and streaming eyes, even

I call the phantoms of a thousand hours [now

Each from his voiceless grave: they have in visioned
Of studious zeal or love's delight [bowers
Outwatched with me the envious night:

They know that never joy illumed my brow,
Unlinked with hope that thou wouldst free
This world from its dark slavery,
That thou, 0 awful Loveliness,

Wouldst givewhate'erthese words cannot express.

The day becomes more solemn and serene
When noon is past: there is a harmony
In autumn, and a lustre in its sky,

Which thro' the summer is not heard nor seen,

As if it could not be, as if it had not been!
Thus let thy power, which like the truth
Of nature on my passive youth

Descended, to my onward life supply
Its calm, to one who worships thee,
And every form containing thee,
Whom, Spirit fair, thy spells did bind

To fear himself, and love all human kind.



The everlasting universe of things

Flows through the mind, and rolls its rapid waves,

Now dark—now glittering—now reflecting gloom—

Now lending splendour, where from secret springs

The source of human thought its tribute brings

Of waters,—with a sound but half its own,

Such as a feeble brook will oft assume

In the wild woods, among the mountains lone,

Where waterfalls around it leap for ever,

Where woods and winds contend, and a vast river

Over its rocks ceaselessly bursts and raves.

ii. Thus thou, Ravine of Arve—dark, deep Ravine— Thou many-coloured, many-voiced vale, Over whose pines and crags and caverns sail Fast clouds, shadows, and sunbeams; awful scene, Where Power in likeness of the Arve comes down From the ice-gulfs that gird his secret throne, Burstingthrough these dark mountains like the flame Of lightning through the tempest ;—thou dost lie, The giant brood of pines around thee clinging, Children of elder time, in whose devotion,

The chainless winds still come and ever came

To drink their odours, and their mighty swinging

To hear—an old and solemn harmony:

Thine earthly rainbows stretched across the sweep

Of the ethereal waterfall, whose veil

Robes some unsculpturcd image ; the strange sleep

Which, when the voices of the desert fail,

Wraps all in its own deep eternity ;—

Thy caverns echoing to the Arve's commotion

A loud, lone sound, no other sound can tame;

Thou art pervaded with that ceaseless motion,

Thou art the path of that unresting sound—

Dizzy Ravine! and when I gaze on thee,

I seem as in a trance sublime and strange

To muse on my own separate fantasy,

My own, my human mmd, which passively

Now renders and receives fast influencings,

Holding an unremitting interchange

With the clear universe of things around;

One legion of wild thoughts, whose wandering wings

Now float above thy darkness, and now rest

Where that or thou art no unbidden guest,

In the still cave of the witch Poesy,

Seeking among the shadows that pass by

Ghosts of all things that are, some shade of thee,

Some phantom, some faint image ; till the breast

From which they fled recalls them, thou art there!

Some say that gleams of a remoter world

Visit the soul in sleep,—that death is slumber,

And that its shapes the busy thoughts outnumber

Of those who wake and live. I look on high;

Has some unknown omnipotence unfurled

The veil of life and death t or do I lie

In dream, and does the mightier world of sleep

Speed far around and inaccessibly

Its circles! For the very spirit fails,

Driven like a homeless cloud from steep to strep

That vanishes among the viewless gales!

Far, far above, piercing the infinite sky,

Mount Blanc appears,—still, snowy, and serene

Its subject mountains their unearthly forms
Pile around it, ice and rock ; broad vales between
Of frozen floods, unfathomable deeps,
Blue as the overhanging heaven, that spread
And wind among the accumulated steeps;
A desert peopled by the storms alone,
Save when the eagle brings some hunter's bone.
And the wolf tracks her there—how hideously
Its shapes arc heaped around! rude, bare, and high.
Ghastly, and scarred, and riven.—Is this the scene
Where the old Earthquake-demon taught her yonng
Ruin! Were these their toys? or did a sea
Of fire envelop once this silent snow!
None can reply—all seems eternal now.
The wilderness has a mysterious tongue
Which teaches awful doubt, or faith so mild,
So solemn, so serene, that man may be
But for such faith with nature reconciled;
Thou hast a voice, great Mountain, to repeal
Large codes of fraud and woe ; not understood.
By all, but which the wise, and great, and good,
Interpret or make felt, or deeply feel.

The fields, the lakes, the forests, and the streams,
Ocean, and all the living things that dwell
Within the daedal earth ; lightning, and rain,
Earthquake, and fiery flood, and hurricane,

Thf torpor of the year when feeble dreams
Visit the hidden buds, or dreamless sleep
Holds eTery future leaf and flower,—the bound
With which from that detested trance they leap;
The works and ways of man, their death and birth,
And that of him, and all that his may be;
All things that move and breathe with toil and sound
Are born and die, revolve, subside, and swell.
Power dwells apart in its tranquillity,
Remote, serene, and inaccessible:
And thit, the naked countenance of earth.
On which I gaze, even these primaeval mountains,
Teach the adverting mind. The glaciers creep,
Like snakes that watch their prey/rom their far fmm -
Slowly rolling on ; there, many a precipice [tains,
Frost and the Sun in scorn of mortal power
Have piled—dome, pyramid, and pinnacle,
A city of death, distinct with many a tower
And wall impregnable of beaming ice.
Yet not a city, but a flood of ruin
Is there, that from the boundaries of the sky
Rolls its perpetual stream ; vast pines are strewing
Its destined path, or in the mangled soil
Branchless and shattered stand ; the rocks, drawn
From yon remotest waste, have overthrown [down
The limits of the dead and living world,
Never to be reclaimed. The dwelling-place
Of insects, beasts, and birds, becomes its spoil;
Their food and their retreat for ever gone,
So much of life and joy is lost. The race

Of man flies far in dread ; his work and dwelling
Vanish, like smoke before the tempest's stream,
And their place is not known. Below, vast caves
Shine in the rushing torrent's restless gleam,
Which from those secret chasms in tumult welling
Meet in the Vale, and one majestic River,
The breath and blood of distant lands, for ever
Rolls its loud waters to the ocean waves,
Breathes its swift vapours to the circling air.

MontBlancyetgleamson high:—the power is there,
The still and solemn power of many sights
And many sounds, and much of life and death.
In the calm darkness of the moonless nights,
In the lone glare of day, the snows descend
Upon that Mountain ; none beholds them there,
Nor when the flakes burn in the sinking sun, [tend
Or the star-beams dart through tliem:— Winds con-
Silently there, and heap the snow, with breath
Rapid and strong, but silently! Its home
The voiceless lightning in these solitudes
Keeps innocently, and like vapour broods
Over the snow. The secret strength of things,
Which governs thought, and to the infinite dome
Of heaven is as a law, inhabits thee!
And what were thou, and earth, and stars, and sea,
If to the human mind's imaginings
Silence and solitude were vacancy 1
SwiTztitLAM), June 23,1816.


Shelley wrote little during this year. The Poem entitled the "Sunset" was written in the spring of the year, while still residing at Bishopsgate. He spent the summer on the shores of the Lake of Geneva. "The Hymn to Intellectual Beauty" was conceived during his voyage round the lake with Lord Byron. He occupied himself during this voyage, by reading the Nouvelle Heloise for the first time. The reading it on the very spot where the scenes are laid, added to the interest; and he was at once surprised and charmed by the passionate eloquence and earnest enthralling interest that pervades this work. There was something in the character of Saint-Preux, in his abnegation of self, and in the worship he paid to Love, that coincided with Shelley's own disposition ; and, though differing in many of the views, and shocked by others, yet the effect of the whole was fascinating and delightful.

"Mont Blanc" was inspired by a view of that mountain and its surrounding peaks and valleys, as he lingered on the Bridge of Arve on his way through the Valley of Chamouni. Shelley makes the following mention of this poem in his publication of the History of Six Weeks' Tour, and Letters from Switzerland :—

"The poem entitled ' Mont Blanc,' is written by the author of the two letters from Chamouni and Vevai. It was composed under the immediate impression of the deep and powerful feelings excited by the objects which it attempts to describo; and as an undisciplined overflowing of the soul, rests its claim to approbation on an attempt to imitate the untameable wildness and inaccessible solemnity from which those feelings sprang."

This was an eventful year, and less time was given to study tlian usual. In the list of bis reading I find, in Greek: Theocritus, the Prometheus of yEsehylus, several of Plutarch's Lives and the works of Lucian. In Latin: Lucretius, Pliny's Letters, the Annals and Germany of Tacitus. In French: the History of the French Revolution, by Lacretelle. He read for the first time, this year, Montaigne's Essays, and regarded them ever after as one of the most delightful and instructive books in the world. The list is scanty in English works—Locke's Essay, Political Justice, and Coleridge's Lay Sermon, form nearly the whole. It was his frequent habit to read aloud to me in the evening; in this way we read, this year, the New Testament, Paradise Lost, Spenser's Fairy Queen, and Don Quixote.

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