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For it was filled with sculptures rarest,
Of winged shapes, whose legions range
And as she looked, still lovelier grew
Of his own mind did there endure,
She looked, the flames were dim, the flood Grew tranquil as a woodland river Winding through hills in solitude;
Those marble shapes then seemed to quiver, And their fair limbs to float in motion, Like weeds unfolding in the ocean;
And their lips moved; one seemed to speak,
The dizzy flight of that phantom pale
Of her dark eyes the dream did creep;
THUS to be lost and thus to sink and die, Perchance were death indeed! - Constantia, turn!
In thy dark eyes a power like light doth lie, Even though the sounds which were thy voice, which burn
Between thy lips, are laid to sleep;
Within thy breath, and on thy hair, like odor it is yet,
And from thy touch like fire doth leap.
Even while I write, my burning cheeks are
Alas, that the torn heart can bleed, but not forget!
A breathless awe, like the swift change
To Constantia. Published by Mrs. Shelley, 1824.
Wild, sweet, but uncommunicably strange,
Thou breathest now in fast ascending numbers.
Beyond the mighty moons that wane
Till the world's shadowy walls are passed and disappear.
Her voice is hovering o'er my soul-it lingers O'ershadowing it with soft and lulling wings; The blood and life within those snowy fingers
Teach witchcraft to the instrumental strings.
My heart is quivering like a flame;
As morning dew, that in the sunbeam dies,
I have no life, Constantia, now, but thee,
Whilst, like the world-surrounding air, thy song Flows on, and fills all things with melody.
Now is thy voice a tempest swift and strong, On which, like one in trance upborne,
Secure o'er rocks and waves I sweep, Rejoicing like a cloud of morn;
Now 'tis the breath of summer night, Which, when the starry waters sleep,
Round western isles, with incense-blossoms bright, Lingering, suspends my soul in its voluptuous flight.
TO THE LORD CHANCELLOR
THY Country's curse is on thee, darkest crest
Thy country's curse is on thee! Justice sold, Truth trampled, Nature's landmarks overthrown, And heaps of fraud-accumulated gold,
Plead, loud as thunder, at Destruction's throne.
And, whilst that sure slow Angel, which aye stands Watching the beck of Mutability,
Delays to execute her high commands,
And, though a nation weeps, spares thine and thee,
Oh, let a father's curse be on thy soul,
And let a daughter's hope be on thy tomb;
To the Lord Chancellor. Published without title by Mrs. Shelley, v.-ix. and xiv., 18391, and with title, i.-xvi., 18392. The authorities enumerated below support the text except in cases noted.
iii. 1 sure slow, Harvard MS., Mrs. Shelley, transcripts (Forman, Frederickson1) || slow sure, Mrs. Shelley, transcripts (Forman, Frederickson2), 18392.
iii. 1 Angel, which aye || cancelled, by Shelley, for Fate which ever, Frederickson1.
Be both, on thy gray head, a leaden cowl
To weigh thee down to thine approaching doom!
I curse thee! By a parent's outraged love,
By hopes long cherished and too lately lost, By gentle feelings thou couldst never prove, By griefs which thy stern nature never crossed;
By those infantine smiles of happy light,
Which were a fire within a stranger's hearth, Quenched even when kindled, in untimely
Hiding the promise of a lovely birth ;
By those unpractised accents of young speech,
By all the happy see in children's growth,
Source of the sweetest hopes and saddest fears
iv. 3 Be || And, Mrs. Shelley, transcript (Forman) 18392.
vii. 3 lore || love, Mrs. Shelley, transcripts (Frederickson1,2). viii. 3 intermingled, Mrs. Shelley, transcript (Frederickson2). 4 the saddest, Mrs. Shelley, transcript (Frederickson1).