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Shook the boughs thus laden and heavy and stiff,

And snapped them off with his rigid griff.

When Winter had gone and Spring came back, The Sensitive Plant was a leafless wreck;

But the mandrakes, and toadstools, and docks, and


Rose like the dead from their ruined charnels.


Whether the Sensitive Plant, or that
Which within its boughs like a spirit sat,
Ere its outward form had known decay,
Now felt this change, I cannot say.

Whether that lady's gentle mind,
No longer with the form combined
Which scattered love, as stars do light,
Found sadness where it left delight,

I dare not guess; but in this life
Of error, ignorance and strife,
Where nothing is, but all things seem,
And we the shadows of the dream,

It is a modest creed, and yet
Pleasant, if one considers it,
To own that death itself must be,
Like all the rest, a mockery.

114 Whether || And if, Harvard MS.
118 Whether || Or if, Harvard MS.

That garden sweet, that lady fair,
And all sweet shapes and odors there,
In truth have never passed away :
'Tis we, 'tis ours, are changed; not they.

For love, and beauty, and delight,
There is no death nor change: their might
Exceeds our organs, which endure
No light, being themselves obscure.


'Tis the terror of tempest. The rags of the sail Are flickering in ribbons within the fierce gale; From the stark night of vapors the dim rain is driven,

And, when lightning is loosed, like a deluge from heaven,

She sees the black trunks of the waterspouts spin

And bend, as if heaven was ruining in,

Which they seemed to sustain with their terrible


As if ocean had sunk from beneath them; they pass

To their graves in the deep with an earthquake of sound,

And the waves and the thunders, made silent around,

A Vision of the Sea. Published with Prometheus Unbound, 1820. Composed at Pisa, and dated, in the Harvard MS., April, 1820.

6 ruining, Harvard MS. Mrs. Shelley, 18391 || raining, Shelley, 1820.

8 sunk, Harvard MS., Mrs. Shelley, 18391 || sank, Shelley, 1820.

Leave the wind to its echo. The vessel, now tossed

Through the low trailing rack of the tempest, is lost In the skirts of the thundercloud; now down the sweep

Of the wind-cloven wave to the chasm of the deep It sinks, and the walls of the watery vale

Whose depths of dread calm are unmoved by the gale,

Dim mirrors of ruin, hang gleaming about;

While the surf, like a chaos of stars, like a rout
Of death-flames, like whirlpools of fire-flowing iron,
With splendor and terror the black ship environ,
Or, like sulphur-flakes hurled from a mine of pale

In fountains spout o'er it. In many a spire
The pyramid-billows, with white points of brine,
In the cope of the lightning inconstantly shine,
piercing the sky from the floor of the sea.
The great ship seems splitting! it cracks as a tree,
While an earthquake is splintering its root, ere
the blast

Of the whirlwind that stripped it of branches has passed.

The intense thunder-balls which are raining from heaven

Have shattered its mast, and it stands black and riven.

The chinks suck destruction. The heavy dead hulk
On the living sea rolls an inanimate bulk,
Like a corpse on the clay which is hungering to fold
Its corruption around it. Meanwhile, from the


One deck is burst up by the waters below,

And it splits like the ice when the thaw-breezes blow O'er the lakes of the desert! Who sit on the other?

Is that all the crew that lie burying each other, Like the dead in a breach, round the foremast? Are those

Twin tigers who burst, when the waters arose, In the agony of terror, their chains in the hold, (What now makes them tame is what then made them bold)

Who crouch, side by side, and have driven, like a crank,

The deep grip of their claws through the vibrating plank,

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Are these all? Nine weeks the tall vessel had lain On the windless expanse of the watery plain, Where the death-darting sun cast no shadow at


And there seemed to be fire in the beams of the moon,

Till a lead-colored fog gathered up from the deep, Whose breath was quick pestilence; then, the cold sleep

Crept, like blight through the ears of a thick field

of corn,

O'er the populous vessel. And even and morn, With their hammocks for coffins, the seamen


Like dead men the dead limbs of their comrades cast

35 by, Harvard MS. | from, Shelley, 1820.

37 sits, Harvard MS.

38 crew who, Harvard MS.

Down the deep, which closed on them above and around,

And the sharks and the dogfish their graveclothes unbound,

And were glutted like Jews with this manna rained down

From God on their wilderness. One after one
The mariners died; on the eve of this day,
When the tempest was gathering in cloudy array,
But seven remained. Six the thunder has smitten,
And they lie black as mummies on which Time
has written

His scorn of the embalmer; the seventh, from the deck

An oak-splinter pierced through his breast and his back,

And hung out to the tempest, a wreck on the wreck.

No more? At the helm sits a woman more fair Than heaven when, unbinding its star-braided hair,

It sinks with the sun on the earth and the sea.
She clasps a bright child on her upgathered knee;
It laughs at the lightning, it mocks the mixed


Of the air and the sea; with desire and with wonder

It is beckoning the tigers to rise and come near; It would play with those eyes where the radiance of fear

Is outshining the meteors; its bosom beats high, The heart-fire of pleasure has kindled its eye, 61 had, Mrs. Shelley, 18391.

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