English Romantic Lyric Poet
Percy Bysshe Shelley
English Romantic Lyric Poet
While yet a boy I sought for ghosts, and sped through many a listening chamber, cave and ruin, and starlight wood, with fearful steps pursuing hopes of high talk with the departed dead.
Yet now despair itself is mild, even as the winds and waters are; I could lie down like a tired child, and weep away the life of care which I have borne and yet must bear, till death like sleep might steal on me, and I might feel in the warm air my cheek grow cold, and hear the sea breathe o'er my dying brain its last monotony.
Kiss me, so long but as a kiss my 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.
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. Be thou, Spirit fierce, my spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!
Narrow the heart that loves, the brain that contemplates, the life that wears, the spirit that creates one object, and one form, and builds thereby a sepulchre for its eternity.
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 sister of the spring shall blow her clarion o'er the dreaming earth.
One word is too often profaned for me to profane it; one feeling too falsely disdained for thee to disdain
Poor captive bird! Who, from thy narrow cage, pourest such music, that it might assuage the rugged hearts of those who prisoned thee, were they not deaf to all sweet melody.
Sleep, the fresh dew of languid love, the rain Whose drops quench kisses till they burn again.
The body is placed under the earth, and after a certain period there remains no vestige even of its form. This is that contemplation of inexhaustible melancholy, whose shadow eclipses the brightness of the world. The common observer is struck with dejection of the spectacle. He contends in vain against the persuasion of the grave, that the dead indeed cease to be. The corpse at his feet is prophetic of his own destiny. Those who have preceded him, and whose voice was delightful to his ear; whose touch met his like sweet and subtle fire: whose aspect spread a visionary light upon his path ? these he cannot meet again.
The flower that smiles today tomorrow dies; all that we wish to stay tempts and then flies; what is this world's delight? Lightning, that mocks the night, brief even as bright.--virtue, how frail it is!--friendship, how rare!--love, how it sells poor bliss for proud despair! But these though they soon fall, survive their joy, and all which ours we call.--whilst skies are blue and bright, whilst flowers are gay, whilst eyes that change ere night make glad the day; whilst yet the calm hours creep, dream thou - and from thy sleep then wake to weep.
Last came Anarchy: he rode on a white horse, splashed with blood; he was pale even to the lips, like Death in the Apocalypse.
Man is of soul and body, formed for deeds Of high resolve; on fancy's boldest wing.
Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read.
O wind, if Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
Our happiness also corresponds with, and is adapted to, the nature of what is most excellent in our being. We see God, and we see that he is good. How delightful a picture, even if it be not true! How magnificent is the conception which this bold theory suggests to the contemplation, even if it be no more than the imagination of some sublimest and most holy poet, who, impressed with the loveliness and majesty of his own nature, is impatient and discontented with the narrow limits which this imperfect life and the dark grave have assigned forever as his melancholy portion. It is not to be believed that Hell, or punishment, was the conception of this daring mind. It is not to be believed that the most prominent group of this picture, which is framed so heart-moving and lovely ? the accomplishment of all human hope, the extinction of all morbid fear and anguish ? would consist of millions of sensitive beings enduring, in every variety of torture which Omniscient vengeance could invent, immortal agony.
Pourest thy full heart.
So is Hope Changed for Despair ? one laid upon the shelf, We take the other. Under heaven's high cope Fortune is god ? all you endure and do Depends on circumstance as much as you.
The breath of accusation kills an innocent name, and leaves for lame acquittal the poor life, which is a mask without it.
The Galilean is not a favorite of mine. So far from owing him any thanks for his favor, I cannot avoid confessing that I owe a secret grudge to his carpentership.
Let me set my mournful ditty to a merry measure; thou wilt never come for pity, thou wilt come for pleasure; pity then will cut away those cruel wings, and thou wilt stay.
Many a green isle needs must be in the deep wide sea of Misery, or the mariner, worn and wan, never thus could voyage on.
Neither to change, nor falter, nor repent; this, like thy glory, Titan! is to be good, great, and joyous, beautiful and free; this is alone Life, Joy, Empire and Victory.
O world! O life! O time! On whose last steps I climb, trembling at that where I had stood before; when will return the glory of your prime? No more -- oh, never more! Out of the day and night a joy has taken flight; fresh spring, and summer, and winter hoar, move my faint heart with grief, but with delight no more -- oh, never more!
Our sincerest laughter with some pain is fraught: our sweetest songs are those which tell of saddest thought.