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" THE SUN IS WARM, THE SKY IS CLEAR.” – Page 127.

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY.

127

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY.

TO A SKYLARK.

Hail to thee, blithe spirit! (1792 - 1822.)

Bird thou never wert,

That from heaven, or near it,
STANZAS WRITTEN IN DEJECTION
NEAR NAPLES.

Pourest thy full heart

In profuse strains of unpremeditated art. The sun is warm, the sky is clear, The waves are dancing fast and bright, Higher still and higher Blue isles and snowy mountains wear

From the earth thou springest The purple noon's transparent light:

Like a cloud of fire ; The breath of the moist air is light

The blue deep thou wingest, Around its unexpanded buds; And singing still dost soar, and soaring Like many a voice of one delight,

ever singest. The winds', the birds', the oceanfloods',

In the golden lightning The City's voice itself is soft like Soli Of the sunken sun tude's.

O'er which clouds are brightening,

Thou dost tloat and run, I see the Deep's untrampled floor

Like an unbodied joy whose race is just With green and purple sea-weeds

begun. strown; I see the waves upon the shore

The pale purple even Like light dissolved in star-showers Melts around thy flight; thrown:

Like a star of heaven, I sit upon the sands alone;

In the broad daylight The lightning of the noontide ocean Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill Is flashing round me, and a tone

delight. Arises from its measured motion,How sweet, did any heart now share in Keen as are the arrows my emotioni

Of that silver sphere,

Whose intense lamp narrows Alas! I have nor hope nor health,

In the white dawn clear Nor peace within nor calm around,

Until we hardly see, we feel that it is there. Nor that content surpassing wealth The sage in meditation found,

All the earth and air And walked with inward glory With thy voice is loud, crowned,

As, when night is bare, Nor fame, nor power, nor love, nor From one lonely cloud leisure;

The moon rains out her beams, and heaven Others I see whom these surround,

is overflowed. Smiling they live, and call life pleasure; To me that cup has been dealt in another What thou art we know not;

What is most like thee?

From rainbow clouds there flow not Yet now despair itself is mild

Drops so bright to see Even as the winds and waters are;

As from thy presence showers a rain of I could lie down like a tired child,

melody And

weep away the life of care
Which I have borne, and yet inust bear, Like a poet hidden
Till death like sleep might steal on me, In the light of thought,
And I might feel in the warın air Singing hymus unbidden,

My cheek grow cold, and hear the sea Till the world is wrought Breathe o'er my dying brain its last mo. To sympathy with hopes and fears it notony.

heeded not;

measure.

Like a high-born maiden

Waking or asleep,
In a palace tower,

Thou of death must deem
Soothing her love-laden

Things more true and deep Soul in secret hour

Than we mortals dream, With music sweet as love, which overflows Or how could thy notes flow in such a. her bower ;

crystal stream?

Like a glow-worm golden

We look before and after,
In a dell of dew,

Aud pine for what is not:
Scattering unbeholden

Our sincerest laughter
Its aerial hue

With some pain is fraught; Among the flowers and grass, which screen Our sweetest songs are those that tell of it from the view;

saddest thought.

Like a rose embowered

Yet if we could scorn
In its own green leaves,

Hate and pride and fear;
By warm winds deflowered,

If we were things born Till the scent it gives

Not to shed a tear, Makes faint with too much sweet these I know not how thy joy we ever should heavy-winged thieves.

come near.

Sound of vernal showers

Better than all measures
On the twinkling grass,

Of delightful sound,
Rain-awakened flowers,

Better than all treasures
All that ever was

That in books are found, Joyous and clear and fresh thy music Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of doth surpass.

the ground I Teach us, sprite or bird,

Teach me half the gladness
What sweet thoughts are thine!

That thy brain must know
I have never heard

Such harmonious madness
Praise of love or wine

From my lips would flow, That panted forth a flood of rapture so The world should listen then, as I am divine.

listening now!

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From hurry to and fro. Soon, up aloft,
The silver, snarling trumpets 'gan to

chide;
The level chambers, ready with their

pride, Were glowing to receive a thousand

guests; The carvéd angels, ever eager-eyed, Stared, where upon their heads the

cornice rests, With hair blown back, and wings put

crosswise on their breasts.
At length burst in the argent revelry,
With plume, tiara, and all rich array,
Numerous as shadows haunting fairily
The brain, new stuffed in youth with

triumphs gay
Of old romance. These let us wish

away, And turn, sole-thoughted, to one lady

there, Whose heart had brooded, all that

wintry day, On love, and winged Saint Agnes'saint

ly care, As she had heard old dames full many

times declare.

SAINT AGNES' Eve,-ah, bitter chill it

was! The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold; The hare limped trembling through

the frozen grass, And silent was the flock in woolly fold : Numb were the beadsman's fingers

while he told His rosary, and while his frosted breath, Like pious incense fiom a censer old, Seemed taking flight for heaven with

out a death, Past the sweet virgin's picture, while his

prayer he saith. His prayer he saith, this patient, holy

man; Then takes his lamp, and riseth from

his knees, And back returneth, meagre, barefoot,

wan, Along the chapel aisle by slow degrees : The sculptured dead, on each side,

seem to freeze, Imprisoned in black, purgatorial rails : Knights, ladies, praying in dumb ora

t'ries, He passeth by; and his weak spirit fails To think how they may ache in icy hoods

and mails. Northward he turneth through a little

door, And scarce three steps, ere music's

golden tongue Flattered to tears this aged man and

poor; But no, -already had his death-bell

rung; The joys of all his life were said and

sung ; His was harsh penance on Saint Agnes'

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They told her how, upon Saint Agnes'

Eve,
Young virgins might have visions of

delight,
And soft adorings from their loves re-

ceive Upon the honeyed middle of the night, If ceremonies due they did aright; As, supperless to bed they must re

tire, And couch supine their beauties, lily

white; Nor look behind, nor sideways, but

require Of Heaven with upward eyes for all that

they desire. Full of this whim was thoughtful

Madeline: The music, yearning like a god in pain, She scarcely heard ; her maiden eyes

divine, Fixed on the floor, saw many a sweep

ing train Pass by, - she heeded not at all : in vain Came many a tiptoe, amorous cavalier, And back retired; not cooled by high

disdain.

Eve:

Another way he went, and soon among

Rough ashes sat he forhis soul's reprieve, And all night kept awake, for sinners'

sake to grieve. That ancient beadsman heard the prel

ude soft; And so it chanced, for many a door

was wide,

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