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15 Which framed for my lone boat a lone retreat Of moss-grown trees and weeds, shall I be seen : But beside thee, where still my heart has ever been. Thoughts of great deeds were mine, dear Friend, when first The clouds which wrap this world from youth did pass. I do remember well the hour which burst My spirit's sleep: a fresh May-dawn it was, When I walked forth upon the glittering grass, And wept, I knew not why; until there rose From the near school-room voices, that, alas !
25 Were but one echo from a world of woes-The harsh and grating strife of tyrants and of foes. And then I clasped my hands and looked aroundBut none was near to mock my streaming eyes, Which poured their warm drops on the sunny groundSo without shame I spake :—'I will be wise,
And just, and free, and mild, if in me lies
40 Wrought linked armour for my soul, before It might walk forth to war among mankind; Thus power and hope were strengthened more and more Within me, till there came upon my mind A sense of loneliness, a thirst with which I pined. 45 Alas, that love should be a blight and snare To those who seek all sympathies in one!Such once I sought in vain ; then black despair, The shadow of a starless night, was thrown Over the world in which I moved alone :
50 Yet never found I one not false to me, Hard hearts, and cold, like weights of icy stone, Which crushed and withered mine, that could not be Aught but a lifeless clog, until revived by thee. Thou Friend, whose presence on my wintry heart 55 Fell, like bright spring upon some herbless plain, How beautiful and calm and free thou wert In thy young wisdom, when the mortal chain Of Custom thou didst burst and rend in twain, And walked as free as light the clouds among, Which many an envious slave then breathed in vain From his dim dungeon, and my spirit sprung To meet thee from the woes which had begirt it long. No more alone through the world's wilderness, Although I trod the paths of high intent,
I journeyed now: no more companionless,
Now has descended a serener hour,
95 And in thy gentle speech, a prophecy Is whispered, to subdue my fondest fears : And through thine eyes, even in thy soul I see A lamp of vestal fire burning internally.
They say that thou wert lovely from thy birth,
Percy Bysshe Shelley.
FRANCE: AN ODE, 1797.
Whose pathless march no mortal may control !
Ye ocean-waves! that, wheresoe'er ye roll,
Midway the smooth and perilous slope reclined,
Have made a solemn music of the wind !
How oft, pursuing fancies holy,
Inspired, beyond the guess of folly,
O ye loud waves ! and 0 ye forests high!
15 And 0 ye clouds that far above me soared ! Thou rising sun ! thou blue rejoicing sky!
Yea, every thing that is and will be free!
The spirit of divinest Liberty.
And with that oath, which smote air, earth, and sea,
Stamped her strong foot, ard said she would be free, Bear witness for me, how I hoped and feared !
25 With what a joy my lofty gratulation
Unawed I sang, amid a slavish band :
And Britain joined the dire array ;
Had swoln the patriot einotion
To all that braved the tyrant-quelling lance,
40 But blessed the pæans of delivered France, And hung my head and wept at Britain's name. • And what,' I said, though Blasphemy's loud scream
With that sweet music of deliverance strove ?
Though all the fierce and drunken passions wove 45 A dance more wild than e'er was maniac's dream ?
Ye storms, that round the dawning east assembled, The sun was rising, though ye hid his light!'
And when, to soothe my soul, that hoped and trembled, The dissonance ceased, and all seemed calm and bright;