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While it flows musically through green banks,
Ceaseless and pauseless, ever clear and fresh,
So flowed his song, reflecting the deep joy
And tender love that fed those sweetest notes,
The heavenly offspring of ambrosial food.
But that is past. Returning from drear Hell,
He chose a lonely seat of unhewn stone,
Blackened with lichens, on a herbless plain.
Then from the deep and overflowing spring
Of his eternal, ever-moving grief
There rose to Heaven a sound of angry song.
'Tis as a mighty cataract that parts
Two sister rocks with waters swift and strong,
And casts itself with horrid roar and din
Adown a steep; from a perennial source
It ever flows and falls, and breaks the air
With loud and fierce, but most harmonious roar,
And as it falls casts up a vaporous spray
Which the sun clothes in hues of Iris light.
Thus the tempestuous torrent of his grief
Is clothed in sweetest sounds and varying words
Of poesy. Unlike all human works
It never slackens, and through every change
Wisdom and beauty and the power divine
Of mighty poesy together dwell,
Mingling in sweet accord. As I have seen
A fierce south blast tear through the darkened sky,
Driving along a rack of winged clouds,
Which may not pause, but ever hurry on,
As their wild shepherd wills them, while the stars,
Twinkling and dim, peep from between the plumes.
Anon the sky is cleared, and the high dome
Of serene Heaven, starred with fiery flowers,
Shuts in the shaken earth ; or the still moon
Swiftly, yet gracefully, begins her walk,
Rising all bright behind the eastern hills.
I talk of moon, and wind, and stars, and not
Of song; but, would I echo his high song,
Nature must lend me words ne'er used before,
Or I must borrow from her perfect works,
To picture forth his perfect attributes.
He does no longer sit upon his throne
Of rock upon a desert herbless plain,
For the evergreen and knotted ilexes,
And cypresses that seldom wave their boughs,
And sea-green olives with their grateful fruit, ,
And elms dragging along the twisted vines,
Which drop their berries as they follow fast,
And blackthorn bushes with their infant race
Of blushing rose blooms; beeches, to lovers dear,
And weeping willow trees; all swift or slow,
As their huge boughs or lighter dress permit,
Have circled in his throne; and Earth herself
Has sent from her maternal breast a growth
Of starlike flowers and herbs of odors sweet,
To pave the temple that his poesy
Has framed, while near his feet grim lions couch,
And kids, fearless from love, creep near his lair.
Even the blind worms seem to feel the sound.
The birds are silent, hanging down their heads,
Perched on the lowest branches of the trees;
Not even the nightingale intrudes a note
In rivalry, but all entranced she listens.
The season was the childhood of sweet June,
Whose sunny hours from morning until noon
Went creeping through the day with silent feet,
Each with its load of pleasure, slow yet sweet;
Like the long years of blest Eternity
Never to be developed. Joy to thee,
Fiordispina, and thy Cosimo,
For thou the wonders of the depth canst know
Of this unfathomable flood of hours,
Sparkling beneath the heaven which embowers
They were two cousins, almost like two twins,
Except that from the catalogue of sins
Nature had rased their love - which could not
But by dissevering their nativity.
And so they grew together like two flowers
Upon one stem, which the same beams and
showers Lull or awaken in their purple prime, Which the same hand will gather, the same clime Shake with decay. This fair day smiles to see
Fiordispina. Published, 11-30, by Mrs. Shelley, 1824, 1-82, by Garnett, 1862, and dated, 1820.
All those who love — and who e'er loved like
thee, Fiordispina ? Scarcely Cosimo, Within whose bosom and whose brain now glow The ardors of a vision which obscure The very idol of its portraiture. He faints, dissolved into a sea of love ; But thou art as a planet sphered above; But thou art Love itself ruling the motion Of his subjected spirit; such emotion Must end in sin or sorrow, if sweet May Had not brought forth this morn, your wedding
“Lie there; sleep awhile in your own dew,
Ye faint-eyed children of the Hours,"
Fiordispina said, and threw the flowers
Which she had from the breathing –
A table near of polished porphyry.
They seemed to wear a beauty from the eye
That looked on them, a fragrance from the touch
Whose warmth checked their life; a light
As sleepers wear, lulled by the voice they love,
which did reprove The childish pity that she felt for them,
remorse that from their stem She had divided such fair shapes made A feeling in the
which was a shade Of gentle beauty on the flowers; there lay
All gems that make the earth's dark bosom
rods of myrtle-buds and lemon-blooms,
And that leaf tinted lightly which assumes
The livery of unremembered snow -
Violets whose eyes have drunk
Fiordispina and her nurse are now
Upon the steps of the high portico;
Under the withered arm of Media
She flings her glowing arm
step by step and stair by stair, That withered woman,
and white and brown More like a trunk by lichens overgrown Than anything which once could have been hu
And ever as she goes the palsied woman
“ How slow and painfully you seem to walk, Poor Media ! you tire yourself with talk.”
66 And well it may,
Fiordispina, dearest — well-a-day !
You are hastening to a marriage-bed ;
I to the grave! “ And if my love were
Unless my heart deceives me, I would lie
Beside him in my shroud as willingly
As now in the gay night-dress Lilla wrought.”
Fie, child! Let that unseasonable thought
Not be remembered till it snows in June;
Such fancies are a music out of tune