Percy Bysshe Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
Posthumous Portrait of Shelley 
writing Prometheus Unbound
Painter: Joseph Severn
Keats-Shelley Memorial House, Rome

Autumn


Lines To An Indian Air


To---


I Fear Thy Kisses


Love's Philosophy


Music, when soft voices die


Ozymandias Of Egypt


Invocation


The Flight Of Love



  Autumn


The warm sun is failing, the bleak wind is wailing,
The bare boughs are sighing, the pale flowers are dying;
                    And the year
On the earth, her death-bed, in a shroud of leaves dead,
                    Is lying.
           Come, Months, come away,
           From November to May,
           In your saddest array,-
           Follow the bier
           Of the dead cold year,
And like dim shadows watch by her sepulchre.

The chill rain is falling, the nipt worm is crawling,
The rivers are swelling, the thunder is knelling
                    For the year;
The blithe swallows are flown, and the lizards each gone
                    To his dwelling.
           Come, Months, come away,
           Put on white, black and gray;
           Let your light sisters play;
           Ye, follow the bier
           Of the dead cold year,
And make her grave green with tear on tear.


  Lines To An Indian Air
I arise from dreams of Thee In the first sweet sleep of night, When the winds are breathing low And the stars are shining bright: I arise from dreams of thee, And a spirit in my feet Hath led me - who knows how ? To thy chamber-window, Sweet ! The wandering airs they faint On the dark, the silent stream- The champak odours fail Like sweet thoughts in a dream; The nightingale's complaint It dies upon her heart, As I must die on thine O beloved as thou art. O lift me from the grass ! I die, I faint, I fail ! Let thy love in kisses rain On my lips and eyelids pale. My cheek is cold and white, alas ! My heart beats loud and fast; O ! press it close to thine again Where it will break at last.


  To---
One word is too often profaned For me to profane it, One feeling too falsely disdained For thee to disdain it; One hope is too like despair For prudence to smother, And pity from thee more dear Than that from another. I can give not what men call love, But wilt thou accept not The worship the heart lifts above And the heaven reject not- The desire of the moth for the star, Of the night for the morrow, The devotiob to something afar From the sphere of our sorrow ?


  I Fear Thy Kisses
I fear thy kisses, gentle maiden; You needest not fear mine; My spirit is too deeply laden Ever to burthen thine. I fear thy mien, thy tones, thy motion; Thou needest not fear mine; Innocent is the heart's devotion With which I worship thine.


  Love's Philosophy
The Fountains mingle with the river And the rivers with the ocean, The winds of heaven mix for ever With a sweet emotion ; Nothing in the world is single, All things by a law divine In one another's being mingle - Why not I with thine ? See the mountains kiss high heaven And the waves clasp one another ; No sister-flower would be forgiven If it disdain'd its brother : And the sunlight clasps the earth, And the moonbeams kiss the sea - What are all these kissing worth, If thou kiss not me ?


  Music, when soft voices die
Music, when soft voices die, Vibrates in the memory; Odours, when sweet violets sicken, Live within the sense they quicken. Rose leaves, when the rose is dead, Are heap’d for the belovèd’s bed; And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone, Love itself shall slumber on.


  Ozymandias Of Egypt
I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed; And on the pedestal these words appear : "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings : Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair !" Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.


  Invocation
Rarely, rarely, comest thou, Spirit of Delight ! Wherefore hast thou left me now Many a day and night? Many a weary night and day 'Tis since thou are fled away. How shall ever one like me Win thee back again ? With the joyous and the free Thou wilt scoff at pain. Spirit false! thou hast forgot All but those who need thee not. As a lizard with the shade Of a trembling leaf, Thou with sorrow art dismay'd; Even the sighs of grief Reproach thee, that thou art not near, And reproach thou wilt not hear. Let me set my mournful ditty To a merry measure; Thou wilt never come for pity, Thou wilt come for pleasure; Pity then will cut away Those cruel wings, and thou wilt stay. I love all that thou lovest, Spirit of Delight ! The fresh Earth in new leaves dress'd, And the starry night; Autumn evening, and the morn When the golden mists are born. I love snow, and all the forms Of the radiant frost; I love waves, and winds, and storms, Everything almost Which is Nature's, and may be Untainted by man's misery. I love tranquil solitude, And such society As is quiet, wise, and good; Between thee and me What difference? but thou dost possess The things I seek, not love them less. I love Love--though he has wings, And like light can flee, But above all other things, Spirit, I love thee - Thou art love and life ! O come ! Make once more my heart thy home !


  The Flight Of Love
When the lamp is shatter'd The light in the dust lies dead- When the cloud is scatter'd, The rainbow's glory is shed. When the lute is broken, Sweet tones are remember'd not; When the lips have spoken, Love accents are soon forgot. As music and splendour Survive not the lamp and the lute, The heart's echoes render No song when the spirit is mute- No song but sad dirges, Like the wind through a ruin'd cell, Or the mournful surges That ring the dead seaman's knell. When hearts have once mingled, Love first leaves the well-built nest; The weak one is singled To endure what it once possesst. O Love ! who bewailest The frailty of all things here, Who choose you the frailest For your cradle, your home, and your bier ? Its passions will rock thee As the storms rock the ravens on high; Bright reason will mock thee Like the sun from a wintry sky. From thy nest every rafter Will rot, and thine eagle home Leave thee naked to laughter, When leaves fall and cold winds come.


Percy Bysshe Shelley





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Love Poems


Dead Poets Society



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Gaston D'Haese: 02-08-2006.
Update 28-12-2015.