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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.



WE are as clouds that veil the midnight moon;
How restlessly they speed and gleam and quiver,
Streaking the darkness radiantly! yet soon
Night closes round, and they are lost for ever:—


Or like forgotten lyres whose dissonant strings

Give various response to each varying blast,
To whose frail frame no second motion brings
One mood or modulation like the last.


We rest-a dream has power to poison sleep;

We rise-one wandering thought pollutes the day;
We feel, conceive, or reason, laugh or weep,
Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away:—


It is the same!-For, be it joy or sorrow,
The path of its departure still is free;
Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his morrow;
Nought may endure but Mutability.


There is no work nor device nor knowledge nor wisdom in the grave whither thou goest.-Ecclesiastes.


THE pale, the cold, and the moony smile
Which the meteor beam of a starless night

Sheds on a lonely and sea-girt isle

Ere the dawning of morn's undoubted light

Is the flame of life so fickle and wan

That flits round our steps till their strength is gone. VOL. II.



O man! hold thee on in courage of soul

Through the stormy shades of thy worldly way;
And the billows of cloud that around thee roll

Shall sleep in the light of a wondrous day,
Where hell and heaven shall leave thee free
To the universe of destiny.


This world is the nurse of all we know,

This world is the mother of all we feel;

And the coming of death is a fearful blow

To a brain unencompassed with nerves of steel,
When all that we know or feel or see

Shall pass like an unreal mystery.


The secret things of the grave are there
Where all but this frame must surely be,

Though the fine-wrought eye and the wondrous ear
No longer will live to hear or to see
All that is great and all that is strange
In the boundless realm of unending change.


Who telleth a tale of unspeaking death?

Who lifteth the veil of what is to come?
Who painteth the shadows that are beneath

The wide-winding caves of the peopled tomb?

Or uniteth the hopes of what shall be

With the fears and the love for that which we see?



THE wind has swept from the wide atmosphere
Each vapour that obscured the sunset's ray,
And pallid Evening twines its beaming hair
In duskier braids around the languid eyes of Day:
Silence and Twilight, unbeloved of men,
Creep hand in hand from yon obscurest glen.


They breathe their spells towards the departing day,
Encompassing the earth, air, stars, and sea;

Light, sound, and motion, own the potent sway,

Responding to the charm with its own mystery.
The winds are still, or the dry church-tower grass
Knows not their gentle motions as they pass.


Thou too, aërial pile, whose pinnacles

Point from one shrine like pyramids of fire, Obey'st in silence their sweet solemn spells, Clothing in hues of heaven thy dim and distant spire, Around whose lessening and invisible height Gather among the stars the clouds of night.


The dead are sleeping in their sepulchres:

And, mouldering as they sleep, a thrilling sound, Half sense half thought, among the darkness stirs, Breathed from their wormy beds all living things around; And, mingling with the still night and mute sky, Its awful hush is felt inaudibly.


Thus solemnized and softened, death is mild

And terrorless as this serenest night.

Here could I hope, like some enquiring child Sporting on graves, that death did hide from human sight Sweet secrets, or beside its breathless sleep

That loveliest dreams perpetual watch did keep.



POET of Nature, thou hast wept to know

That things depart which never may return;
Childhood and youth, friendship, and love's first glow,
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 then, should dance and revel on the grave
Of Liberty. Thou mightst have built thy throne
Where it had stood even 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 foe

Than Force or Fraud: old Custom, Legal Crime,
And bloody Faith, the foulest birth of Time.


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 sky
Might visit thee at will.

November 1815.


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. 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 him 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 Lechlade occurred during his voyage up the Thames in 1815. 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 severe 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 Thucy

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