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Midst others of less note, came
frail Form, A phantom among men ; companionless As the last cloud of an expiring storm Whose thunder is its knell; he, as I
guess, Had gazed on Nature's naked loveliness, Actæon-like, and now lie fled astray With feeble steps o'er the world's wil
derness, And his own thoughts, along that rugged
way, Pursued, like raging hounds, their father
and their prey. A pardlike Spirit beautiful and swiftA Love in desolation masked ;-a Power Girt round with weakness ;-it can
scarce uplift The weight of the superincumbent hour; It is a dying lamp, a falling shower, A breaking billow ;-even whilst wo
speak Is it not broken? On the withering
flower The killing sun smiles brightly : on a
cheek The life can burn in blood, even while
the heart may break.
The Stranger's mien, and murmured:
“Who art thou?" He answered not, but with a sudden
hand Made bare his branded and ensanguined
brow, Which was like Cain's or Christ's-oh,
that it should be so ! What softer voice is hushed over the
dead? Athwart what brow is that dark mantle
thrown? What form leans sadly o'er the white
deathbed, In mockery of monumental stone, The heavy heart heaving without a
moan ? If it be He, who, gentlest of the wise, Taught, soothed, loved, honored the
departed one ; Let me
not vex, with inharmonious
sighs The silence of that heart's accepted
sacrifice. Our Adonais has drunk poison-oh! What deaf and viperous murderer could Life's early cup with such a draught of
woe? The nameless worm would now itself
disown: It felt, yet could escape the magic tone Whose prelude held all envy, hate, and
wrong, But what was howling in one breast
alone, Silent with expectation of the song, Whose master's hand is cold, whose silver
lyre unstrung. Live thou, whose infamy is not thy
fame! Live! fear no heavier chastisement irom
me, Thou noteless blot on a remembered
name! But be thyself, and know thyself to be : And ever at thy season be thou free To spill the venom when thy fangs o'er.
flow : Remorse and Self-contempt shall cling
to thee; Hot Shame shall burn upon thy secret
brow, And like a beaten hound tremble thou
shalt--as now. 1
1 See the note on page 254.
Nor let us weep that our delight is fed O'er the abandoned Earth, now leave it Far from these carrion kites that scream
Even to the joyous stars which smile on He wakes or sleeps with the enduring its despair!
dead ; Thou caust not soar where he is sitting He is made one with Nature : there is now.
heard Dust to the dust! but the pure spirit His voice in all her music, from the moani shall flow
Of thunder to the song of night's sweet Back to the burning fountain whence
bird ; it came,
He is a presence to be felt and known A portion of the Eternal, which must In darkness and in light, from herb and glow
stone, Through time and change, unquench- Spreading itself where'er that Power ably the same,
may move Whilst thy cold embers choke the sordid Which has withdrawn his being to its hearth of shame.
Which wields the world with never Peace, peace! he is not dead, he doth
wearied love, not sleep
Sustains it from beneath, and kindles it He hath awakened from the dream of
above. life'Tis we, who lost in stormy visions, keep He is a portion of the loveliness With phantoms an unprofitable strife, Which once he made more lovely : he And in mad trance, strike with our
doth bear spirit's knife
His part, while the one Spirit's plastic Invulnerable nothings.--!le decay
stress Like corpses in a charnel ; fear and grief Sweeps through the dull dense work, Convulse us and consume us day by day,
compelling there And cokl hopes swarm like worins with- All new successions to the forms they in our living clay.
Torturing th' unwilling dross that He has outsoared the shadow of our
checks its flight night;
To its own likeness, as each mass may Envy and calumny and hate and pain,
bear : And that unrest which men miscall de- And bursting in its Jeauty and its miglit light.
From trees and beasts and men into the Can touch him not and torture not again; Heaven's light. From the contagion of the world's slow stain
The splendors of the firmament of time He is secure, and now can never mourn May be eclipsed, but are extinguished A heart grown cold, a head grown gray
not ; in vain ;
Like stars to their appointed heiglit Nor, when the spirit's self has ceased to
they climb burn,
And death is a low mist which cannot With sparkless ashes load an unlamentel
blot The brightness it may veil. When lofty
thought He lives, he wakes-'tis Death is dead, Lifts a young heart above its mortal lair, not he;
And love and life contend in it, for what Mourn not for Adonais,- Thou young Shall be its earthly doom, the deal live Dawn
there Turn all thy dew to splendor, for from And move like winds of light on dark The spirit thou lamentest is not gone ;
and storiny air. Ye caverns and ye forests, cease to moan ! Cease ye faint flowers and fountains,
The inheritors of unfulfilled renown and thou Air
Rose from their thrones, built beyond Which like a mourning veil thy scarf
mortal thought, hadst thrown
Far in the Unapparent Chatterton
Rose pale, his solemn agony had not
approved : Oblivion as they rose shrank like a thing
reproved. And many more, whose names on Earth
are dark But whose transmitted effluence cannot
die So long as fire outlives the parent spark, Rose, robed in dazzling immortality. “Thou art become as one of us,” they
cry, " It was for thee yon kingless sphere
has long Swung blind in unascended majesty, Silent alone amid an Heaven of Song. Assume thy wingéd throne, thou Vesper
of our throng!”
Who mourns for Adonais ? Oli come
forth Fond wretch ! and know thyself and
him aright. Clasp with thy panting soul the
pendulous Earth ; As from a centre, dart thy spirit's light Beyond all worlds, until its spacious
might Satiate the void circumference : then
shrink Even to a point within our day and
night; And keep thy heart light lest it make
thee sink When hope has kindled hope and lured
thee to the brink.
Go thou to Rome.--at once the Paradise, The grave, the city, and the wilderness; And where its wrecks like shattered
mountains rise, And flowering weeds, and fragrant
copses dress The bones of Desolation's nakedness, Pass, till the Spirit of the spot shall lead Thy footsteps to a slope of green access Where, like an infant's smile, over the
dead A light of laughing flowers along the
grass is spread. And gray walls moulder round, on which
dull Time Feeds, like slow fire upon a hoary brand; And one keen pyramid with wedge sub
lime, Pavilioning the dust of him who planned This refuge for his memory, doth stand Like flame transformed to marble; and
beneath, A field is spread, on which a newer band Have pitched in Heaven's smile their
camp of death Welcoming him we lose with scarce ex
tinguished breath. Here pause : these graves are all too
young as yet To have outgrown the sorrow' which
consigned Its charge to each; and if the seal is set, Here, on one fountain of a mourning
mind, Break it not thou ! too surely shalt thou find
(home, Tuine own well full, if thou returnest Of tears and gall. From the world's
bitter wind Seek shelter in the shadow of the tomb, What Adonais is, wly fear we to be.
come? The One remains, the many change and
pass ; Heaven's light forever shines, Earth's
shadows fly; Life, like a done of many-colored glass, Stains the white radiance of Eternity, Until Death tramples it to fragments.
-Die, If thou wouldst be with that which
thou dost seek! Follow where all is fled !--Rome's azure sky,
[are weak Flowers, ruins, statues, music, words, The glory they transfuse with fitting
truth to speak.
Or go to Rome, which is the sepulchre Ohi not of him, but of our joy : 'tis
nought That ages, empires, and religions there Lie buried in the ravage they have
wrought; For such as he can lend,—they borrow
not Glory from those who made the world
their prey; And he is gathered to the kings of
thought Who waged contention with their time's
decay, And of the past are all that cannot pass
Why linger, why turn back, why shrink,
my Heart? Thy hopes are gone before : from all
things here They have departed; thou shouldst now
depart ! A light is past from the revolving year, And man, and woman; and what still
is dear Attracts to crush, repels to make thee
wither. The soft sky smiles,--the low wind
whispers near; 'Tis Adonais calls ! oh, basten thither, No more let Life divide what Death can
join together. That Light whose smile kindles the
Universe, That Beauty in which all things work
and move, That Benediction which the eclipsing
Curse Of birth can quench not, that sustain
ing Love Which through the web of being blindly By man and beast and earth and air and
sea, Burns bright or dim, aseachare mirrors of The fire for which all thirst; now beams
on me, Consuming the last clouds of cold
mortality. The breath whose might I have invoked Descends on me; my spirit's bark is
driven, Far from the shore, far froin the trem
bling throng Whose sails were never to the tempest
given ; The massy earth and spheréd skies are
riven ! i am borne darkly, fearfully, afar ; Whilst burning through the innost veil
of Heaven, The soul of Adonais, like a star, Beacons from the abode where the Eternal are.
WORLDS on worlds are rolling ever
From creation to decay,
Sparkling, bursting, borne away.
Who, through birth's orient portal And death's dark chasm hurrying to and
In the brief dust and light
New gods, new laws receive,
LIFE MAY CHANGE, BUT IT MAY
Swift as the radiant shapes of_sleep
From one wliose dreams are Paradise Fly, when the fond wretch wakes to
The Powers of earth and air
LIFE may change, but it may fly not; Hope may vanish, but can die not; Truth be veiled, but still it burneth; Love repulsed, -but it returneth !
Through the walls of our prison ; And Greece, which was dead, is arisen!
Apollo, Pan, and Love,
And even Olympian Jove
Dispeopled of their dreams,
From Hellas. 1821. 1822.
SONGS FROM HELLAS
DARKNESS has dawned in the East
On the noon of time:
From the liungry clime.
To a sunnier strand,
To the Evening land !
With the sunset's fire :
But the night is not born ; And, like loveliness panting with wild desire
(light, While it trembles with fear and de
Hesperus flies from awakening night, And pants in its beauty and speed with
light Fast flashing, soft, and bright. Thou beacon of love! thou lamp of the
Guide us far, far away, Io climes where now veiled by the
ardor of day Thou art hidden From waves on which weary noon Faints in her summer swoon, Between Kingless continents sinless as Eden,
[lably Around mountains and islands invio. Prankt on the sapphire sea.
THE WORLD'S GREAT AGE BEGINS
The golden years return,
Her winter weeds outworn :
From waves serener far;
Against the morning star.
Fraught with a later prize;
And loves, and weeps, and dies.
If earth Death's scroll must be !
Which dawns upon the free: Although a subtler Sphinx renew Riddles of death Thebes never knew.
Through the sunset of hope,
of their sky, The music and fragrance their soli
tudes breathe Burst, like morning on dream, or like
Heaven on death
Another Athens shall arise,
And to remoter time
The splendor of its prime;
Shall burst, more bright and good Than all who fell, than One who rose,
Than many uusubdued : 1 1 Saturn and Love were among the deities of a real or imaginary state of innocence and happi. Dess. All those who fell, or the Gods of Greece, Asia, and Egypt; the One wcho rose, or Jesus Christ, at whose appearance the idols of the Pagan World were amereed of their worship: an I the many unsubdued, or the monstrous ob. jects of the idolatry of China, India, the Antarctic islands, and the native tribes of America. certainly have reigne l over the understandings of men in conjunction or in succession, during periods in which all we know of evil has been in a state of portentous, and, until the revival of learning and the arts, perpetually increasing activity. (From Shelley's Note.)