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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
WE are as clouds that veil the midnight moon;
Or like forgotten lyres whose dissonant strings
Give various response to each varying blast,
We rest-a dream has power to poison sleep;
We rise-one wandering thought pollutes the day;
It is the same!-For, be it joy or sorrow,
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
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;
Shall sleep in the light of a wondrous day,
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,
Shall pass like an unreal mystery.
The secret things of the grave are there
Though the fine-wrought eye and the wondrous ear
Who telleth a tale of unspeaking death?
Who lifteth the veil of what is to come?
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?
A SUMMER-EVENING CHURCHYARD, LECHLADE,
THE wind has swept from the wide atmosphere
They breathe their spells towards the departing day,
Light, sound, and motion, own the potent sway,
Responding to the charm with its own mystery.
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;
Thus, having been, that thou shouldst cease to be.
FEELINGS OF A REPUBLICAN ON THE FALL OF
I HATED thee, fallen Tyrant! I did groan
A frail and bloody pomp, which Time has swept
For this, I prayed, would on thy sleep have crept, Treason and Slavery, Rapine, Fear, and Lust,
And stifled thee their minister. I know
Than Force or Fraud: old Custom, Legal Crime,
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
The wintry hedge was black;
On the bare thorn's breast,
Whose roots, beside the pathway track,
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;
The moon made thy lips pale, beloved;
The wind made thy bosom chill;
On thy dear head
Its frozen dew, and thou didst lie
Where the bitter breath of the naked sky
NOTES ON THE EARLY POEMS, BY MRS. SHELLEY.
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