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PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY.
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY.
TO A SKYLARK.
Hail to thee, blithe spirit! (1792 - 1822.)
Bird thou never wert,
That from heaven, or near it,
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,
weep away the life of care
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.
Like a high-born maiden
Waking or asleep,
Thou of death must deem
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 ;
Like a glow-worm golden
We look before and after,
Aud pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught; Among the flowers and grass, which screen Our sweetest songs are those that tell of it from the view;
Like a rose embowered
Yet if we could scorn
Hate and pride and fear;
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.
Sound of vernal showers
Better than all measures
Of delightful sound,
Better than all treasures
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
That thy brain must know
Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow, That panted forth a flood of rapture so The world should listen then, as I am divine.
From hurry to and fro. Soon, up aloft,
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.
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
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'
They told her how, upon Saint Agnes'
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
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