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297 Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Story type: Poetry

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1. How stern are the woes of the desolate mourner, As he bends in still grief o’er the hallowed bier, As enanguished he turns from the laugh of the scorner, And drops, to Perfection’s remembrance, a tear; When floods of despair down his pale cheek are streaming, When no blissful hope on his bosom is […]

The Drowned Lover

Story type: Poetry

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1. Ah! faint are her limbs, and her footstep is weary, Yet far must the desolate wanderer roam; Though the tempest is stern, and the mountain is dreary, She must quit at deep midnight her pitiless home. I see her swift foot dash the dew from the whortle, As she rapidly hastes to the green […]

‘Tis midnight now–athwart the murky air, Dank lurid meteors shoot a livid gleam; From the dark storm-clouds flashes a fearful glare, It shows the bending oak, the roaring stream. I pondered on the woes of lost mankind, I pondered on the ceaseless rage of Kings; My rapt soul dwelt upon the ties that bind The […]


Story type: Poetry

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[Another version of “The Triumph of Conscience” immediately preceding.] 1. ‘Twas dead of the night, when I sat in my dwelling; One glimmering lamp was expiring and low; Around, the dark tide of the tempest was swelling, Along the wild mountains night-ravens were yelling,– They bodingly presaged destruction and woe. 2. ‘Twas then that I […]

1. How swiftly through Heaven’s wide expanse Bright day’s resplendent colours fade! How sweetly does the moonbeam’s glance With silver tint St. Irvyne’s glade! 2. No cloud along the spangled air, Is borne upon the evening breeze; How solemn is the scene! how fair The moonbeams rest upon the trees! 3. Yon dark gray turret […]

Eyes: A Fragment

Story type: Poetry

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How eloquent are eyes! Not the rapt poet’s frenzied lay When the soul’s wildest feelings stray Can speak so well as they. How eloquent are eyes! Not music’s most impassioned note On which Love’s warmest fervours float Like them bids rapture rise. Love, look thus again,– That your look may light a waste of years, […]

[Published by Shelley, 1810. A Reprint, edited by Richard Garnett, C.B., LL.D., was issued by John Lane, in 1898. The punctuation of the original edition is here retained.] A Person complained that whenever he began to write, he never could arrange his ideas in grammatical order. Which occasion suggested the idea of the following lines: […]

1. Ghosts of the dead! have I not heard your yelling Rise on the night-rolling breath of the blast, When o’er the dark aether the tempest is swelling, And on eddying whirlwind the thunder-peal passed? 2. For oft have I stood on the dark height of Jura, Which frowns on the valley that opens beneath; […]

1. The death-bell beats!– The mountain repeats The echoing sound of the knell; And the dark Monk now Wraps the cowl round his brow, As he sits in his lonely cell. 2. And the cold hand of death Chills his shuddering breath, As he lists to the fearful lay Which the ghosts of the sky, […]

To The Moonbeam

Story type: Poetry

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1. Moonbeam, leave the shadowy vale, To bathe this burning brow. Moonbeam, why art thou so pale, As thou walkest o’er the dewy dale, Where humble wild-flowers grow? Is it to mimic me? But that can never be; For thine orb is bright, And the clouds are light, That at intervals shadow the star-studded night. […]

The Solitary

Story type: Poetry

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1. Dar’st thou amid the varied multitude To live alone, an isolated thing? To see the busy beings round thee spring, And care for none; in thy calm solitude, A flower that scarce breathes in the desert rude To Zephyr’s passing wing? 2. Not the swart Pariah in some Indian grove, Lone, lean, and hunted […]

To Death

Story type: Poetry

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Death! where is thy victory? To triumph whilst I die, To triumph whilst thine ebon wing Enfolds my shuddering soul? O Death! where is thy sting? Not when the tides of murder roll, When nations groan, that kings may bask in bliss, Death! canst thou boast a victory such as this– When in his hour […]

Whose is the love that gleaming through the world, Wards off the poisonous arrow of its scorn? Whose is the warm and partial praise, Virtue’s most sweet reward? Beneath whose looks did my reviving soul Riper in truth and virtuous daring grow? Whose eyes have I gazed fondly on, And loved mankind the more? HARRIET! […]

Love’s Rose

Story type: Poetry

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1. Hopes, that swell in youthful breasts, Live not through the waste of time! Love’s rose a host of thorns invests; Cold, ungenial is the clime, Where its honours blow. Youth says, ‘The purple flowers are mine,’ Which die the while they glow. 2. Dear the boon to Fancy given, Retracted whilst it’s granted: Sweet […]

Queen Mab

Story type: Poetry

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1. How wonderful is Death, Death and his brother Sleep! One, pale as yonder waning moon With lips of lurid blue; The other, rosy as the morn When throned on ocean’s wave It blushes o’er the world: Yet both so passing wonderful! Hath then the gloomy Power Whose reign is in the tainted sepulchres Seized […]

Verses On A Cat

Story type: Poetry

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1. A cat in distress, Nothing more, nor less; Good folks, I must faithfully tell ye, As I am a sinner, It waits for some dinner To stuff out its own little belly. 2. You would not easily guess All the modes of distress Which torture the tenants of earth; And the various evils, Which […]

[Published in part (Scene 2) in “The Liberal”, No. 1, 1822; in full, by Mrs. Shelley, “Posthumous Poems”, 1824.] SCENE 1.–PROLOGUE IN HEAVEN THE LORD AND THE HOST OF HEAVEN. ENTER THREE ARCHANGELS. RAPHAEL: The sun makes music as of old Amid the rival spheres of Heaven, On its predestined circle rolled With thunder speed: […]


Story type: Poetry

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[LATIN VERSION OF THE EPITAPH IN GRAY’S ELEGY.] 1. Hic sinu fessum caput hospitali Cespitis dormit juvenis, nec illi Fata ridebant, popularis ille Nescius aurae. 2. Musa non vultu genus arroganti Rustica natum grege despicata, Et suum tristis puerum notavit Sollicitudo. 3. Indoles illi bene larga, pectus Veritas sedem sibi vindicavit, Et pari tantis meritis […]

A Dialogue

Story type: Poetry

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[Published (without title) by Hogg, “Life of Shelley”, 1858; dated 1809. Included in the Esdaile manuscript book.] DEATH: For my dagger is bathed in the blood of the brave, I come, care-worn tenant of life, from the grave, Where Innocence sleeps ‘neath the peace-giving sod, And the good cease to tremble at Tyranny’s nod; I […]

[Published by Mrs. Shelley, “Posthumous Poems”, 1824; dated March, 1822. There is a transcript of Scene 1 among the Hunt manuscripts, which has been collated by Mr. Buxton Forman.] SCENE 1: ENTER CYPRIAN, DRESSED AS A STUDENT; CLARIN AND MOSCON AS POOR SCHOLARS, WITH BOOKS. CYPRIAN: In the sweet solitude of this calm place, This […]

TRANSLATED BY MEDWIN AND CORRECTED BY SHELLEY. 1. Hast thou not seen, officious with delight, Move through the illumined air about the flower The Bee, that fears to drink its purple light, Lest danger lurk within that Rose’s bower? Hast thou not marked the moth’s enamoured flight About the Taper’s flame at evening hour; ‘Till […]


Story type: Poetry

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(Published by Medwin, “Life of Shelley”, 1847, with Shelley’s corrections in italics [”].–ED.) INFERNO 33, 22-75. [Translated by Medwin and corrected by Shelley.] Now had the loophole of that dungeon, still Which bears the name of Famine’s Tower from me, And where ’tis fit that many another will Be doomed to linger in captivity, Shown […]

GUIDO CAVALCANTI TO DANTE ALIGHIERI: [Published by Forman (who assigns it to 1815), “Poetical Works of P. B. S.”, 1876.] Returning from its daily quest, my Spirit Changed thoughts and vile in thee doth weep to find: It grieves me that thy mild and gentle mind Those ample virtues which it did inherit Has lost. […]

FROM THE PURGATORIO OF DANTE, CANTO 28, LINES 1-51. [Published in part (lines 1-8, 22-51) by Medwin, “The Angler in Wales”,1834, “Life of Shelley”, 1847; reprinted in full by Garnett, “Relics of Shelley”, 1862.] And earnest to explore within–around– The divine wood, whose thick green living woof Tempered the young day to the sight–I wound […]

ADAPTED FROM THE VITA NUOVA OF DANTE. [Published by Forman, “Poetical Works of P. B. S.”, 1876.] What Mary is when she a little smiles I cannot even tell or call to mind, It is a miracle so new, so rare.

[VERSES 360 ET SEQ.] [Published by Locock, “Examination”, etc., 1903.] And the cloven waters like a chasm of mountains Stood, and received him in its mighty portal And led him through the deep’s untrampled fountains He went in wonder through the path immortal Of his great Mother and her humid reign And groves profaned not […]

[Published with “Alastor”, 1816; reprinted, “Posthumous Poems”, 1824.] DANTE ALIGHIERI TO GUIDO CAVALCANTI: Guido, I would that Lapo, thou, and I, Led by some strong enchantment, might ascend A magic ship, whose charmed sails should fly With winds at will where’er our thoughts might wend, So that no change, nor any evil chance Should mar […]

FROM THE ITALIAN OF DANTE. [Published by Garnett, “Relics of Shelley”, 1862; dated 1820.] 1. Ye who intelligent the Third Heaven move, Hear the discourse which is within my heart, Which cannot be declared, it seems so new. The Heaven whose course follows your power and art, Oh, gentle creatures that ye are! me drew, […]

[VERSES 1-26.] [Published by Rossetti, “Complete Poetical Works of P. B. S.”, 1870, from the Boscombe manuscripts now in the Bodleian. Mr. Locock (“Examination”, etc., 1903, pages 47-50), as the result of his collation of the same manuscripts, gives a revised and expanded version which we print below.] Melodious Arethusa, o’er my verse Shed thou […]

The Same

Story type: Poetry

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(As revised by Mr. C.D. Locock.) Melodious Arethusa, o’er my verse Shed thou once more the spirit of thy stream: (Two lines missing.) Who denies verse to Gallus? So, when thou Glidest beneath the green and purple gleam Of Syracusan waters, mayest thou flow Unmingled with the bitter Dorian dew! Begin, and whilst the goats […]

[Published with “Alastor”, 1816.] Tan ala tan glaukan otan onemos atrema Balle–k.t.l. When winds that move not its calm surface sweep The azure sea, I love the land no more; The smiles of the serene and tranquil deep Tempt my unquiet mind.–But when the roar Of Ocean’s gray abyss resounds, and foam Gathers upon the […]

(From the Greek of Moschus) [Published (without title) by Mrs. Shelley, “Posthumous Poems”, 1824. There is a draft amongst the Hunt manuscripts.] Pan loved his neighbour Echo–but that child Of Earth and Air pined for the Satyr leaping; The Satyr loved with wasting madness wild The bright nymph Lyda,–and so three went weeping. As Pan […]

[These four Epigrams were published–numbers 2 and 4 without title–by Mrs. Shelley, “Poetical Works”, 1839, 1st edition.] 1.–TO STELLA. FROM THE GREEK OF PLATO. Thou wert the morning star among the living, Ere thy fair light had fled;– Now, having died, thou art as Hesperus, giving New splendour to the dead. 2.–KISSING HELENA. FROM THE […]

FROM THE GREEK OF MOSCHUS. [Published from the Hunt manuscripts by Forman, “Poetical Works of P. B. S.”, 1876.] Ye Dorian woods and waves, lament aloud,– Augment your tide, O streams, with fruitless tears, For the beloved Bion is no more. Let every tender herb and plant and flower, From each dejected bud and drooping […]

PROM THE GREEK OF BION. [Published by Forman, “Poetical Works of P. B. S.”, 1876.] I mourn Adonis dead–loveliest Adonis– Dead, dead Adonis–and the Loves lament. Sleep no more, Venus, wrapped in purple woof– Wake violet-stoled queen, and weave the crown Of Death,–’tis Misery calls,–for he is dead. The lovely one lies wounded in the […]

[Published by Mrs. Shelley, “Posthumous Poems”, 1824; dated 1819. Amongst the Shelley manuscripts at the Bodleian there is a copy, ‘practically complete,’ which has been collated by Mr. C.D. Locock. See “Examination”, etc., 1903, pages 64-70. ‘Though legible throughout, and comparatively free from corrections, it has the appearance of being a first draft’ (Locock).] SILENUS. […]

[Published by Mrs. Shelley, “Poetical Works”, 1839, 2nd edition; dated 1818.] I sing the glorious Power with azure eyes, Athenian Pallas! tameless, chaste, and wise, Tritogenia, town-preserving Maid, Revered and mighty; from his awful head Whom Jove brought forth, in warlike armour dressed, Golden, all radiant! wonder strange possessed The everlasting Gods that Shape to […]

[Published by Garnett, “Relics of Shelley”, 1862; dated 1818.] [VERSES 1-55, WITH SOME OMISSIONS.] Muse, sing the deeds of golden Aphrodite, Who wakens with her smile the lulled delight Of sweet desire, taming the eternal kings Of Heaven, and men, and all the living things That fleet along the air, or whom the sea, Or […]

[Published by Mrs. Shelley, “Poetical Works”, 1839, 2nd edition; dated 1818.] O universal Mother, who dost keep From everlasting thy foundations deep, Eldest of things, Great Earth, I sing of thee! All shapes that have their dwelling in the sea, All things that fly, or on the ground divine Live, move, and there are nourished–these […]

[Published by Mrs. Shelley, “Poetical Works”, 1839, 2nd edition; dated 1818.] Daughters of Jove, whose voice is melody, Muses, who know and rule all minstrelsy Sing the wide-winged Moon! Around the earth, From her immortal head in Heaven shot forth, Far light is scattered–boundless glory springs; Where’er she spreads her many-beaming wings The lampless air […]

[Published by Mrs. Shelley, “Poetical Works”, 1839, 2nd edition; dated 1818.] Offspring of Jove, Calliope, once more To the bright Sun, thy hymn of music pour; Whom to the child of star-clad Heaven and Earth Euryphaessa, large-eyed nymph, brought forth; Euryphaessa, the famed sister fair Of great Hyperion, who to him did bear A race […]

TRANSLATED FROM THE GREEK OF HOMER. [Published by Mrs. Shelley, “Posthumous Poems”, 1824. This alone of the “Translations” is included in the Harvard manuscript book. ‘Fragments of the drafts of this and the other Hymns of Homer exist among the Boscombe manuscripts’ (Forman).] 1. Sing, Muse, the son of Maia and of Jove, The Herald-child, […]

[Published by Mrs. Shelley, “Poetical Works”, 1839, 2nd edition; dated 1818.] Ye wild-eyed Muses, sing the Twins of Jove, Whom the fair-ankled Leda, mixed in love With mighty Saturn’s Heaven-obscuring Child, On Taygetus, that lofty mountain wild, Brought forth in joy: mild Pollux, void of blame, And steed-subduing Castor, heirs of fame.(6) These are the […]


Story type: Poetry

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Ambition, power, and avarice, now have hurled Death, fate, and ruin, on a bleeding world. See! on yon heath what countless victims lie, Hark! what loud shrieks ascend through yonder sky; Tell then the cause, ’tis sure the avenger’s rage Has swept these myriads from life’s crowded stage: Hark to that groan, an anguished hero […]

See yon opening flower Spreads its fragrance to the blast; It fades within an hour, Its decay is pale–is fast. Paler is yon maiden; Faster is her heart’s decay; Deep with sorrow laden, She sinks in death away.

The Elements respect their Maker’s seal! Still Like the scathed pine tree’s height, Braving the tempests of the night Have I ‘scaped the flickering flame. Like the scathed pine, which a monument stands Of faded grandeur, which the brands Of the tempest-shaken air Have riven on the desolate heath; Yet it stands majestic even in […]

1. Shall we roam, my love, To the twilight grove, When the moon is rising bright; Oh, I’ll whisper there, In the cool night-air, What I dare not in broad daylight! 2. I’ll tell thee a part Of the thoughts that start To being when thou art nigh; And thy beauty, more bright Than the […]

Is it the Eternal Triune, is it He Who dares arrest the wheels of destiny And plunge me in the lowest Hell of Hells? Will not the lightning’s blast destroy my frame? Will not steel drink the blood-life where it swells? No–let me hie where dark Destruction dwells, To rouse her from her deeply caverned […]

O thou bright Sun! beneath the dark blue line Of western distance that sublime descendest, And, gleaming lovelier as thy beams decline, Thy million hues to every vapour lendest, And, over cobweb lawn and grove and stream Sheddest the liquid magic of thy light, Till calm Earth, with the parting splendour bright, Shows like the […]

To Ianthe

Story type: Poetry

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I love thee, Baby! for thine own sweet sake; Those azure eyes, that faintly dimpled cheek, Thy tender frame, so eloquently weak, Love in the sternest heart of hate might wake; But more when o’er thy fitful slumber bending Thy mother folds thee to her wakeful heart, Whilst love and pity, in her glances blending, […]

Vessels of heavenly medicine! may the breeze Auspicious waft your dark green forms to shore; Safe may ye stem the wide surrounding roar Of the wild whirlwinds and the raging seas; And oh! if Liberty e’er deigned to stoop From yonder lowly throne her crownless brow, Sure she will breathe around your emerald group The […]

A BALLAD. 1. Once, early in the morning, Beelzebub arose, With care his sweet person adorning, He put on his Sunday clothes. 2. He drew on a boot to hide his hoof, He drew on a glove to hide his claw, His horns were concealed by a Bras Chapeau, And the Devil went forth as […]

Where man’s profane and tainting hand Nature’s primaeval loveliness has marred, And some few souls of the high bliss debarred Which else obey her powerful command; …mountain piles That load in grandeur Cambria’s emerald vales.

Bright ball of flame that through the gloom of even Silently takest thine aethereal way, And with surpassing glory dimm’st each ray Twinkling amid the dark blue depths of Heaven,– Unlike the fire thou bearest, soon shalt thou Fade like a meteor in surrounding gloom, Whilst that, unquenchable, is doomed to glow A watch-light by […]

Hail to thee, Cambria! for the unfettered wind Which from thy wilds even now methinks I feel, Chasing the clouds that roll in wrath behind, And tightening the soul’s laxest nerves to steel; True mountain Liberty alone may heal The pain which Custom’s obduracies bring, And he who dares in fancy even to steal One […]

[Published from the Esdaile manuscript book by Dowden, “Life of Shelley”, 1887; dated August 1, 1812.] Ever as now with Love and Virtue’s glow May thy unwithering soul not cease to burn, Still may thine heart with those pure thoughts o’erflow Which force from mine such quick and warm return.

It is not blasphemy to hope that Heaven More perfectly will give those nameless joys Which throb within the pulses of the blood And sweeten all that bitterness which Earth Infuses in the heaven-born soul. O thou Whose dear love gleamed upon the gloomy path Which this lone spirit travelled, drear and cold, Yet swiftly […]

1. Brothers! between you and me Whirlwinds sweep and billows roar: Yet in spirit oft I see On thy wild and winding shore Freedom’s bloodless banners wave,– Feel the pulses of the brave Unextinguished in the grave,– See them drenched in sacred gore,– Catch the warrior’s gasping breath Murmuring ‘Liberty or death!’ 2. Shout aloud! […]

To Ireland

Story type: Poetry

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1. Bear witness, Erin! when thine injured isle Sees summer on its verdant pastures smile, Its cornfields waving in the winds that sweep The billowy surface of thy circling deep! Thou tree whose shadow o’er the Atlantic gave Peace, wealth and beauty, to its friendly wave, its blossoms fade, And blighted are the leaves that […]

[Published from the Esdaile manuscript book by Dowden, “Life of Shelley”, 1887; dated 1812.] … 6. No trump tells thy virtues–the grave where they rest With thy dust shall remain unpolluted by fame, Till thy foes, by the world and by fortune caressed, Shall pass like a mist from the light of thy name. 7. […]

A scene, which ‘wildered fancy viewed In the soul’s coldest solitude, With that same scene when peaceful love Flings rapture’s colour o’er the grove, When mountain, meadow, wood and stream With unalloying glory gleam, And to the spirit’s ear and eye Are unison and harmony. The moonlight was my dearer day; Then would I wander […]

1. Maiden, quench the glare of sorrow Struggling in thine haggard eye: Firmness dare to borrow From the wreck of destiny; For the ray morn’s bloom revealing Can never boast so bright an hue As that which mocks concealing, And sheds its loveliest light on you. 2. Yet is the tie departed Which bound thy […]

1. She was an aged woman; and the years Which she had numbered on her toilsome way Had bowed her natural powers to decay. She was an aged woman; yet the ray Which faintly glimmered through her starting tears, Pressed into light by silent misery, Hath soul’s imperishable energy. She was a cripple, and incapable […]

By the mossy brink, With me the Prince shall sit and think; Shall muse in visioned Regency, Rapt in bright dreams of dawning Royalty.

1. Dares the lama, most fleet of the sons of the wind, The lion to rouse from his skull-covered lair? When the tiger approaches can the fast-fleeting hind Repose trust in his footsteps of air? No! Abandoned he sinks in a trance of despair, The monster transfixes his prey, On the sand flows his life-blood […]

To A Star

Story type: Poetry

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Sweet star, which gleaming o’er the darksome scene Through fleecy clouds of silvery radiance fliest, Spanglet of light on evening’s shadowy veil, Which shrouds the day-beam from the waveless lake, Lighting the hour of sacred love; more sweet Than the expiring morn-star’s paly fires:– Sweet star! When wearied Nature sinks to sleep, And all is […]

1. Oh! take the pure gem to where southerly breezes, Waft repose to some bosom as faithful as fair, In which the warm current of love never freezes, As it rises unmingled with selfishness there, Which, untainted by pride, unpolluted by care, Might dissolve the dim icedrop, might bid it arise, Too pure for these […]


Story type: Poetry

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Why is it said thou canst not live In a youthful breast and fair, Since thou eternal life canst give, Canst bloom for ever there? Since withering pain no power possessed, Nor age, to blanch thy vermeil hue, Nor time’s dread victor, death, confessed, Though bathed with his poison dew, Still thou retain’st unchanging bloom, […]


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And canst thou mock mine agony, thus calm In cloudless radiance, Queen of silver night? Can you, ye flow’rets, spread your perfumed balm Mid pearly gems of dew that shine so bright? And you wild winds, thus can you sleep so still Whilst throbs the tempest of my breast so high? Can the fierce night-fiends […]

Yes! all is past–swift time has fled away, Yet its swell pauses on my sickening mind; How long will horror nerve this frame of clay? I’m dead, and lingers yet my soul behind. Oh! powerful Fate, revoke thy deadly spell, And yet that may not ever, ever be, Heaven will not smile upon the work […]

What was the shriek that struck Fancy’s ear As it sate on the ruins of time that is past? Hark! it floats on the fitful blast of the wind, And breathes to the pale moon a funeral sigh. It is the Benshie’s moan on the storm, Or a shivering fiend that thirsting for sin, Seeks […]

Art thou indeed forever gone, Forever, ever, lost to me? Must this poor bosom beat alone, Or beat at all, if not for thee? Ah! why was love to mortals given, To lift them to the height of Heaven, Or dash them to the depths of Hell? Yet I do not reproach thee, dear! Ah, […]

Tremble, Kings despised of man! Ye traitors to your Country, Tremble! Your parricidal plan At length shall meet its destiny… We all are soldiers fit to fight, But if we sink in glory’s night Our mother Earth will give ye new The brilliant pathway to pursue Which leads to Death or Victory…


Story type: Poetry

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1. Thou wert not, Cassius, and thou couldst not be, Last of the Romans, though thy memory claim From Brutus his own glory–and on thee Rests the full splendour of his sacred fame: Nor he who dared make the foul tyrant quail Amid his cowering senate with thy name, Though thou and he were great–it […]

1. Those whom nor power, nor lying faith, nor toil, Nor custom, queen of many slaves, makes blind, Have ever grieved that man should be the spoil Of his own weakness, and with earnest mind Fed hopes of its redemption; these recur Chastened by deathful victory now, and find Foundations in this foulest age, and […]

O that a chariot of cloud were mine! Of cloud which the wild tempest weaves in air, When the moon over the ocean’s line Is spreading the locks of her bright gray hair. O that a chariot of cloud were mine! I would sail on the waves of the billowy wind To the mountain peak […]

1. The world is now our dwelling-place; Where’er the earth one fading trace Of what was great and free does keep, That is our home!… Mild thoughts of man’s ungentle race Shall our contented exile reap; For who that in some happy place His own free thoughts can freely chase By woods and waves can […]

On Fanny Godwin

Story type: Poetry

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Her voice did quiver as we parted, Yet knew I not that heart was broken From which it came, and I departed Heeding not the words then spoken. Misery–O Misery, This world is all too wide for thee.

1. That time is dead for ever, child! Drowned, frozen, dead for ever! We look on the past And stare aghast At the spectres wailing, pale and ghast, Of hopes which thou and I beguiled To death on life’s dark river. 2. The stream we gazed on then rolled by; Its waves are unreturning; But […]

1. They die–the dead return not–Misery Sits near an open grave and calls them over, A Youth with hoary hair and haggard eye– They are the names of kindred, friend and lover, Which he so feebly calls–they all are gone– Fond wretch, all dead! those vacant names alone, This most familiar scene, my pain– These […]

No, Music, thou art not the ‘food of Love.’ Unless Love feeds upon its own sweet self, Till it becomes all Music murmurs of.

SUPPOSED TO BE ADDRESSED TO WILLIAM GODWIN. Mighty eagle! thou that soarest O’er the misty mountain forest, And amid the light of morning Like a cloud of glory hiest, And when night descends defiest The embattled tempests’ warning!

1. Thy country’s curse is on thee, darkest crest Of that foul, knotted, many-headed worm Which rends our Mother’s bosom–Priestly Pest! Masked Resurrection of a buried Form! 2. Thy country’s curse is on thee! Justice sold, 5 Truth trampled, Nature’s landmarks overthrown, And heaps of fraud-accumulated gold, Plead, loud as thunder, at Destruction’s throne. 3. […]

1. The billows on the beach are leaping around it, The bark is weak and frail, The sea looks black, and the clouds that bound it Darkly strew the gale. Come with me, thou delightful child, Come with me, though the wave is wild, 5 And the winds are loose, we must not stay, Or […]

1. 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; 5 Within thy breath, and on thy hair, like odour, it is […]

To Constantia

Story type: Poetry

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1. The rose that drinks the fountain dew In the pleasant air of noon, Grows pale and blue with altered hue– In the gaze of the nightly moon; For the planet of frost, so cold and bright, Makes it wan with her borrowed light. 2. Such is my heart–roses are fair, And that at best […]

My spirit like a charmed bark doth swim Upon the liquid waves of thy sweet singing, Far far away into the regions dim Of rapture–as a boat, with swift sails winging Its way adown some many-winding river, Speeds through dark forests o’er the waters swinging…

Silver key of the fountain of tears, Where the spirit drinks till the brain is wild; Softest grave of a thousand fears, Where their mother, Care, like a drowsy child, Is laid asleep in flowers.

Mont Blanc

Story type: Poetry

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LINES WRITTEN IN THE VALE OF CHAMOUNI. 1. The everlasting universe of things Flows through the mind, and rolls its rapid waves, Now dark–now glittering–now reflecting gloom– Now lending splendour, where from secret springs The source of human thought its tribute brings 5 Of waters,–with a sound but half its own, Such as a feeble […]

There is a voice, not understood by all, Sent from these desert-caves. It is the roar Of the rent ice-cliff which the sunbeams call, Plunging into the vale–it is the blast Descending on the pines–the torrents pour…

Fragment: Home

Story type: Poetry

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[Published by Garnett, “Relics of Shelley”, 1862.] Dear home, thou scene of earliest hopes and joys, The least of which wronged Memory ever makes Bitterer than all thine unremembered tears.

A shovel of his ashes took From the hearth’s obscurest nook, Muttering mysteries as she went. Helen and Henry knew that Granny Was as much afraid of Ghosts as any, 5 And so they followed hard– But Helen clung to her brother’s arm, And her own spasm made her shake.

1. A pale Dream came to a Lady fair, And said, A boon, a boon, I pray! I know the secrets of the air, And things are lost in the glare of day, Which I can make the sleeping see, 5 If they will put their trust in me. 2. And thou shalt know of […]

1. The awful shadow of some unseen Power Floats though unseen among us,–visiting This various world with as inconstant wing As summer winds that creep from flower to flower,– Like moonbeams that behind some piny mountain shower, 5 It visits with inconstant glance Each human heart and countenance; Like hues and harmonies of evening,– Like […]

LECHLADE, GLOUCESTERSHIRE. The wind has swept from the wide atmosphere Each vapour that obscured the sunset’s ray; And pallid Evening twines its beaming hair In duskier braids around the languid eyes of Day: Silence and Twilight, unbeloved of men, Creep hand in hand from yon obscurest glen. They breathe their spells towards the departing day, […]

The Sunset.

Story type: Poetry

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There late was One within whose subtle being, As light and wind within some delicate cloud That fades amid the blue noon’s burning sky, Genius and death contended. None may know The sweetness of the joy which made his breath Fail, like the trances of the summer air, When, with the Lady of his love, […]

DAKRTSI DIOISO POTMON ‘APOTMON. Oh! there are spirits of the air, And genii of the evening breeze, And gentle ghosts, with eyes as fair As star-beams among twilight trees:– Such lovely ministers to meet 5 Oft hast thou turned from men thy lonely feet. With mountain winds, and babbling springs, And moonlight seas, that are […]

To Wordsworth

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Poet of Nature, thou hast wept to know That things depart which never may return: Childhood and youth, friendship and love’s first glow, Have fled like sweet dreams, leaving thee to mourn. These common woes I feel. One loss is mine Which thou too feel’st, yet I alone deplore. Thou wert as a lone star, […]

I hated thee, fallen tyrant! I did groan To think that a most unambitious slave, Like thou, shouldst dance and revel on the grave Of Liberty. Thou mightst have built thy throne Where it had stood even now: thou didst prefer A frail and bloody pomp which Time has swept In fragments towards Oblivion. Massacre, […]

1. The cold earth slept below, Above the cold sky shone; And all around, with a chilling sound, From caves of ice and fields of snow, The breath of night like death did flow Beneath the sinking moon. 2. The wintry hedge was black, The green grass was not seen, The birds did rest on […]

1. Mine eyes were dim with tears unshed; Yes, I was firm–thus wert not thou;– My baffled looks did fear yet dread To meet thy looks–I could not know How anxiously they sought to shine 5 With soothing pity upon mine. 2. To sit and curb the soul’s mute rage Which preys upon itself alone; […]

Yet look on me–take not thine eyes away, Which feed upon the love within mine own, Which is indeed but the reflected ray Of thine own beauty from my spirit thrown. Yet speak to me–thy voice is as the tone Of my heart’s echo, and I think I hear That thou yet lovest me; yet […]

We are as clouds that veil the midnight moon; How restlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver, Streaking the darkness radiantly!–yet soon Night closes round, and they are lost for ever: Or like forgotten lyres, whose dissonant strings Give various response to each varying blast, To whose frail frame no second motion brings One mood […]

On Death

Story type: Poetry

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THERE IS NO WORK, NOR DEVICE, NOR KNOWLEDGE, NOR WISDOM, IN THE GRAVE, WHITHER THOU GOEST.–Ecclesiastes. The pale, the cold, and the moony smile Which the meteor beam of a starless night Sheds on a lonely and sea-girt isle, Ere the dawning of morn’s undoubted light, Is the flame of life so fickle and wan […]

Thy dewy looks sink in my breast; Thy gentle words stir poison there; Thou hast disturbed the only rest That was the portion of despair! Subdued to Duty’s hard control, I could have borne my wayward lot: The chains that bind this ruined soul Had cankered then–but crushed it not.

Away! the moor is dark beneath the moon, Rapid clouds have drank the last pale beam of even: Away! the gathering winds will call the darkness soon, And profoundest midnight shroud the serene lights of heaven. Pause not! The time is past! Every voice cries, Away! Tempt not with one last tear thy friend’s ungentle […]

Thy look of love has power to calm The stormiest passion of my soul; Thy gentle words are drops of balm In life’s too bitter bowl; No grief is mine, but that alone These choicest blessings I have known. Harriet! if all who long to live In the warm sunshine of thine eye, That price […]

Amid the desolation of a city, Which was the cradle, and is now the grave Of an extinguished people,–so that Pity Weeps o’er the shipwrecks of Oblivion’s wave, There stands the Tower of Famine. It is built Upon some prison-homes, whose dwellers rave For bread, and gold, and blood: Pain, linked to Guilt, Agitates the […]

Summer And Winter

Story type: Poetry

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It was a bright and cheerful afternoon, Towards the end of the sunny month of June, When the north wind congregates in crowds The floating mountains of the silver clouds From the horizon–and the stainless sky Opens beyond them like eternity. All things rejoiced beneath the sun; the weeds, The river, and the corn-fields, and […]


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1. The fiery mountains answer each other; Their thunderings are echoed from zone to zone; The tempestuous oceans awake one another, And the ice-rocks are shaken round Winter’s throne, When the clarion of the Typhoon is blown. 2. From a single cloud the lightening flashes, Whilst a thousand isles are illumined around, Earthquake is trampling […]

1. Death is here and death is there, Death is busy everywhere, All around, within, beneath, Above is death–and we are death. 2. Death has set his mark and seal On all we are and all we feel, On all we know and all we fear, … 3. First our pleasures die–and then Our hopes, […]

Ode To Naples

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(The Author has connected many recollections of his visit to Pompeii and Baiae with the enthusiasm excited by the intelligence of the proclamation of a Constitutional Government at Naples. This has given a tinge of picturesque and descriptive imagery to the introductory Epodes which depicture these scenes, and some of the majestic feelings permanently connected […]

To The Moon

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1. Art thou pale for weariness Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth, Wandering companionless Among the stars that have a different birth,– And ever changing, like a joyless eye That finds no object worth its constancy? 2. Thou chosen sister of the Spirit, That grazes on thee till in thee it pities…

Autumn: A Dirge

Story type: Poetry

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1. 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 […]

The Waning Moon

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And like a dying lady, lean and pale, Who totters forth, wrapped in a gauzy veil, Out of her chamber, led by the insane And feeble wanderings of her fading brain, The moon arose up in the murky East, A white and shapeless mass–

Hymn Of Pan

Story type: Poetry

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1. From the forests and highlands We come, we come; From the river-girt islands, Where loud waves are dumb Listening to my sweet pipings. The wind in the reeds and the rushes, The bees on the bells of thyme, The birds on the myrtle bushes, The cicale above in the lime, And the lizards below […]

The Question

Story type: Poetry

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1. I dreamed that, as I wandered by the way, Bare Winter suddenly was changed to Spring, And gentle odours led my steps astray, Mixed with a sound of waters murmuring Along a shelving bank of turf, which lay Under a copse, and hardly dared to fling Its green arms round the bosom of the […]

FIRST SPIRIT: O thou, who plumed with strong desire Wouldst float above the earth, beware! A Shadow tracks thy flight of fire– Night is coming! Bright are the regions of the air, And among the winds and beams It were delight to wander there– Night is coming! SECOND SPIRIT: The deathless stars are bright above; […]


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1. Arethusa arose From her couch of snows In the Acroceraunian mountains,– From cloud and from crag, With many a jag, Shepherding her bright fountains. She leapt down the rocks, With her rainbow locks Streaming among the streams;– Her steps paved with green The downward ravine Which slopes to the western gleams; And gliding and […]

1. Sacred Goddess, Mother Earth, Thou from whose immortal bosom Gods, and men, and beasts have birth, Leaf and blade, and bud and blossom, Breathe thine influence most divine On thine own child, Proserpine. 2. If with mists of evening dew Thou dost nourish these young flowers Till they grow, in scent and hue, Fairest […]

Hymn Of Apollo

Story type: Poetry

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1. The sleepless Hours who watch me as I lie, Curtained with star-inwoven tapestries From the broad moonlight of the sky, Fanning the busy dreams from my dim eyes,– Waken me when their Mother, the gray Dawn, Tells them that dreams and that the moon is gone. 2. Then I arise, and climbing Heaven’s blue […]

To A Skylark

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Hail to thee, blithe Spirit! Bird thou never wert, That from Heaven, or near it, Pourest thy full heart In profuse strains of unpremeditated art. Higher still and higher From the earth thou springest Like a cloud of fire; The blue deep thou wingest, And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest. In the […]

Ode To Liberty

Story type: Poetry

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Yet, Freedom, yet, thy banner, torn but flying, Streams like a thunder-storm against the wind.–BYRON. 1. A glorious people vibrated again The lightning of the nations: Liberty From heart to heart, from tower to tower, o’er Spain, Scattering contagious fire into the sky, Gleamed. My soul spurned the chains of its dismay, 5 And in […]

Within a cavern of man’s trackless spirit Is throned an Image, so intensely fair That the adventurous thoughts that wander near it Worship, and as they kneel, tremble and wear The splendour of its presence, and the light Penetrates their dreamlike frame Till they become charged with the strength of flame.

1. I fear thy kisses, gentle maiden, Thou needest not fear mine; My spirit is too deeply laden Ever to burthen thine. 2. I fear thy mien, thy tones, thy motion, Thou needest not fear mine; Innocent is the heart’s devotion With which I worship thine.

PART 1. A Sensitive Plant in a garden grew, And the young winds fed it with silver dew, And it opened its fan-like leaves to the light. And closed them beneath the kisses of Night. And the Spring arose on the garden fair, 5 Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere; And each flower and […]

Cancelled Passage

Story type: Poetry

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Their moss rotted off them, flake by flake, Till the thick stalk stuck like a murderer’s stake, Where rags of loose flesh yet tremble on high, Infecting the winds that wander by.

‘Tis the terror of tempest. The rags of the sail Are flickering in ribbons within the fierce gale: From the stark night of vapours the dim rain is driven, And when lightning is loosed, like a deluge from Heaven, She sees the black trunks of the waterspouts spin 5 And bend, as if Heaven was […]

I am drunk with the honey wine Of the moon-unfolded eglantine, Which fairies catch in hyacinth bowls. The bats, the dormice, and the moles Sleep in the walls or under the sward Of the desolate castle yard; And when ’tis spilt on the summer earth Or its fumes arise among the dew, Their jocund dreams […]

The Cloud

Story type: Poetry

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I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers, From the seas and the streams; I bear light shade for the leaves when laid In their noonday dreams. From my wings are shaken the dews that waken The sweet buds every one, When rocked to rest on their mother’s breast, As she dances about the sun. […]

1. In the cave which wild weeds cover Wait for thine aethereal lover; For the pallid moon is waning, O’er the spiral cypress hanging And the moon no cloud is staining. 2. It was once a Roman’s chamber, Where he kept his darkest revels, And the wild weeds twine and clamber; It was then a […]

(“PROMETHEUS UNBOUND”, ACT 4.) As a violet’s gentle eye Gazes on the azure sky Until its hue grows like what it beholds; As a gray and empty mist Lies like solid amethyst Over the western mountain it enfolds, When the sunset sleeps Upon its snow; As a strain of sweetest sound Wraps itself the wind […]

(FOR WHICH STANZAS 68, 69 HAVE BEEN SUBSTITUTED.) From the cities where from caves, Like the dead from putrid graves, Troops of starvelings gliding come, Living Tenants of a tomb.

One sung of thee who left the tale untold, Like the false dawns which perish in the bursting; Like empty cups of wrought and daedal gold, Which mock the lips with air, when they are thirsting.

As the sunrise to the night, As the north wind to the clouds, As the earthquake’s fiery flight, Ruining mountain solitudes, Everlasting Italy, Be those hopes and fears on thee.

Wake the serpent not–lest he Should not know the way to go,– Let him crawl which yet lies sleeping Through the deep grass of the meadow! Not a bee shall hear him creeping, Not a may-fly shall awaken From its cradling blue-bell shaken, Not the starlight as he’s sliding Through the grass with silent gliding.

Fragment: Rain

Story type: Poetry

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The fitful alternations of the rain, When the chill wind, languid as with pain Of its own heavy moisture, here and there Drives through the gray and beamless atmosphere.

And where is truth? On tombs? for such to thee Has been my heart–and thy dead memory Has lain from childhood, many a changeful year, Unchangingly preserved and buried there.

1. When a lover clasps his fairest, Then be our dread sport the rarest. Their caresses were like the chaff In the tempest, and be our laugh His despair–her epitaph! 2. When a mother clasps her child, Watch till dusty Death has piled His cold ashes on the clay; She has loved it many a […]

Ye gentle visitations of calm thought– Moods like the memories of happier earth, Which come arrayed in thoughts of little worth, Like stars in clouds by the weak winds enwrought,– But that the clouds depart and stars remain, While they remain, and ye, alas, depart!

How sweet it is to sit and read the tales Of mighty poets and to hear the while Sweet music, which when the attention fails Fills the dim pause–

Is it that in some brighter sphere We part from friends we meet with here? Or do we see the Future pass Over the Present’s dusky glass? Or what is that that makes us seem 5 To patch up fragments of a dream, Part of which comes true, and part Beats and trembles in the […]

Is not to-day enough? Why do I peer Into the darkness of the day to come? Is not to-morrow even as yesterday? And will the day that follows change thy doom? Few flowers grow upon thy wintry way; And who waits for thee in that cheerless home Whence thou hast fled, whither thou must return […]

There is a warm and gentle atmosphere About the form of one we love, and thus As in a tender mist our spirits are Wrapped in the … of that which is to us The health of life’s own life–

I am as a spirit who has dwelt Within his heart of hearts, and I have felt His feelings, and have thought his thoughts, and known The inmost converse of his soul, the tone Unheard but in the silence of his blood, When all the pulses in their multitude Image the trembling calm of summer […]

At the creation of the Earth Pleasure, that divinest birth, From the soil of Heaven did rise, Wrapped in sweet wild melodies– Like an exhalation wreathing To the sound of air low-breathing Through Aeolian pines, which make A shade and shelter to the lake Whence it rises soft and slow; Her life-breathing [limbs] did flow […]

And who feels discord now or sorrow? Love is the universe to-day– These are the slaves of dim to-morrow, Darkening Life’s labyrinthine way.

A gentle story of two lovers young, Who met in innocence and died in sorrow, And of one selfish heart, whose rancour clung Like curses on them; are ye slow to borrow The lore of truth from such a tale? Or in this world’s deserted vale, Do ye not see a star of gladness Pierce […]

1. It lieth, gazing on the midnight sky, Upon the cloudy mountain-peak supine; Below, far lands are seen tremblingly; Its horror and its beauty are divine. Upon its lips and eyelids seems to lie Loveliness like a shadow, from which shine, Fiery and lurid, struggling underneath, The agonies of anguish and of death. 2. Yet […]

1. 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; 5 All things by a law divine In one spirit meet and mingle. Why not I with thine?– 2. See the mountains kiss high Heaven […]

Follow to the deep wood’s weeds, Follow to the wild-briar dingle, Where we seek to intermingle, And the violet tells her tale To the odour-scented gale, For they two have enough to do Of such work as I and you.

My dearest Mary, wherefore hast thou gone, And left me in this dreary world alone? Thy form is here indeed–a lovely one– But thou art fled, gone down the dreary road, That leads to Sorrow’s most obscure abode; Thou sittest on the hearth of pale despair, Where For thine own sake I cannot follow thee.

The world is dreary, And I am weary Of wandering on without thee, Mary; A joy was erewhile In thy voice and thy smile, And ’tis gone, when I should be gone too, Mary.

(With what truth may I say– Roma! Roma! Roma! Non e piu come era prima!) 1. My lost William, thou in whom Some bright spirit lived, and did That decaying robe consume Which its lustre faintly hid,– Here its ashes find a tomb, But beneath this pyramid Thou art not–if a thing divine Like thee […]

Thy little footsteps on the sands Of a remote and lonely shore; The twinkling of thine infant hands, Where now the worm will feed no more; Thy mingled look of love and glee When we returned to gaze on thee–

1. 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, 5 And a spirit in my feet Hath led me–who knows how? To thy chamber window, Sweet! 2. The wandering airs they faint […]

1. Thou art fair, and few are fairer Of the Nymphs of earth or ocean; They are robes that fit the wearer– Those soft limbs of thine, whose motion Ever falls and shifts and glances As the life within them dances. 2. Thy deep eyes, a double Planet, Gaze the wisest into madness With soft […]

An Exhortation

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[Published with “Prometheus Unbound”, 1820. Dated ‘Pisa, April, 1820’ in Harvard manuscript (Woodberry), but assigned by Mrs. Shelley to 1819.] Chameleons feed on light and air: Poets’ food is love and fame: If in this wide world of care Poets could but find the same With as little toil as they, Would they ever change […]

The [living frame which sustains my soul] Is [sinking beneath the fierce control] Down through the lampless deep of song I am drawn and driven along– When a Nation screams aloud Like an eagle from the cloud When a… … When the night… … Watch the look askance and old– See neglect, and falsehood fold…

(This poem was conceived and chiefly written in a wood that skirts the Arno, near Florence, and on a day when that tempestuous wind, whose temperature is at once mild and animating, was collecting the vapours which pour down the autumnal rains. They began, as I foresaw, at sunset with a violent tempest of hail […]

BEFORE THE SPANIARDS HAD RECOVERED THEIR LIBERTY. [Published with “Prometheus Unbound”, 1820.] Arise, arise, arise! There is blood on the earth that denies ye bread; Be your wounds like eyes To weep for the dead, the dead, the dead. What other grief were it just to pay? Your sons, your wives, your brethren, were they; […]

Cancelled Stanza

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Gather, O gather, Foeman and friend in love and peace! Waves sleep together When the blasts that called them to battle, cease. For fangless Power grown tame and mild Is at play with Freedom’s fearless child– The dove and the serpent reconciled!

Ode To Heaven

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CHORUS OF SPIRITS: FIRST SPIRIT: Palace-roof of cloudless nights! Paradise of golden lights! Deep, immeasurable, vast, Which art now, and which wert then Of the Present and the Past, Of the eternal Where and When, Presence-chamber, temple, home, Ever-canopying dome, Of acts and ages yet to come! Glorious shapes have life in thee, Earth, and […]

People of England, ye who toil and groan, Who reap the harvests which are not your own, Who weave the clothes which your oppressors wear, And for your own take the inclement air; Who build warm houses… And are like gods who give them all they have, And nurse them from the cradle to the […]

What men gain fairly–that they should possess, And children may inherit idleness, From him who earns it–This is understood; Private injustice may be general good. But he who gains by base and armed wrong, Or guilty fraud, or base compliances, May be despoiled; even as a stolen dress Is stripped from a convicted thief; and […]

1. God prosper, speed,and save, God raise from England’s grave Her murdered Queen! Pave with swift victory The steps of Liberty, Whom Britons own to be Immortal Queen. 2. See, she comes throned on high, On swift Eternity! God save the Queen! Millions on millions wait, Firm, rapid, and elate, On her majestic state! God […]

An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king,– Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow Through public scorn,–mud from a muddy spring,– Rulers who neither see, nor feel, nor know, But leech-like to their fainting country cling, Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow,– A people starved and stabbed in the […]

1. Men of England, wherefore plough For the lords who lay ye low? Wherefore weave with toil and care The rich robes your tyrants wear? 2. Wherefore feed, and clothe, and save, From the cradle to the grave, Those ungrateful drones who would Drain your sweat–nay, drink your blood? 3. Wherefore, Bees of England, forge […]

1. As from an ancestral oak Two empty ravens sound their clarion, Yell by yell, and croak by croak, When they scent the noonday smoke Of fresh human carrion:– 2. As two gibbering night-birds flit From their bowers of deadly yew Through the night to frighten it, When the moon is in a fit, And […]

1. Corpses are cold in the tomb; Stones on the pavement are dumb; Abortions are dead in the womb, And their mothers look pale–like the death-white shore Of Albion, free no more. 5 2. Her sons are as stones in the way– They are masses of senseless clay– They are trodden, and move not away,– […]

The fierce beasts of the woods and wildernesses Track not the steps of him who drinks of it; For the light breezes, which for ever fleet Around its margin, heap the sand thereon.

My head is wild with weeping for a grief Which is the shadow of a gentle mind. I walk into the air (but no relief To seek,–or haply, if I sought, to find; It came unsought);–to wonder that a chief Among men’s spirits should be cold and blind.

Flourishing vine, whose kindling clusters glow Beneath the autumnal sun, none taste of thee; For thou dost shroud a ruin, and below The rotting bones of dead antiquity.


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1. Let those who pine in pride or in revenge, Or think that ill for ill should be repaid, Who barter wrong for wrong, until the exchange Ruins the merchants of such thriftless trade, Visit the tower of Vado, and unlearn 5 Such bitter faith beside Marenghi’s urn. 2. A massy tower yet overhangs the […]

Lift not the painted veil which those who live Call Life: though unreal shapes be pictured there, And it but mimic all we would believe With colours idly spread,–behind, lurk Fear And Hope, twin Destinies; who ever weave Their shadows, o’er the chasm, sightless and drear. I knew one who had lifted it–he sought, For […]

Silence! Oh, well are Death and Sleep and Thou Three brethren named, the guardians gloomy-winged Of one abyss, where life, and truth, and joy Are swallowed up–yet spare me, Spirit, pity me, Until the sounds I hear become my soul, And it has left these faint and weary limbs, To track along the lapses of […]

1. The sun is warm, the sky is clear, The waves are dancing fast and bright, Blue isles and snowy mountains wear The purple noon’s transparent might, The breath of the moist earth is light, 5 Around its unexpanded buds; Like many a voice of one delight, The winds, the birds, the ocean floods, The […]

A woodman whose rough heart was out of tune (I think such hearts yet never came to good) Hated to hear, under the stars or moon, One nightingale in an interfluous wood Satiate the hungry dark with melody;– And as a vale is watered by a flood, Or as the moonlight fills the open sky […]

1. I loved–alas! our life is love; But when we cease to breathe and move I do suppose love ceases too. I thought, but not as now I do, Keen thoughts and bright of linked lore, Of all that men had thought before. And all that Nature shows, and more. 2. And still I love […]

OCTOBER, 1818. Many a green isle needs must be In the deep wide sea of Misery, Or the mariner, worn and wan, Never thus could voyage on– Day and night, and night and day, 5 Drifting on his dreary way, With the solid darkness black Closing round his vessel’s track: Whilst above the sunless sky, […]

1. Come, be happy!–sit near me, Shadow-vested Misery: Coy, unwilling, silent bride, Mourning in thy robe of pride, Desolation–deified! 5 2. Come, be happy!–sit near me: Sad as I may seem to thee, I am happier far than thou, Lady, whose imperial brow Is endiademed with woe. 10 3. Misery! we have known each other, […]

MADDALO, A COURTIER. MALPIGLIO, A POET. PIGNA, A MINISTER. ALBANO, AN USHER. MADDALO: No access to the Duke! You have not said That the Count Maddalo would speak with him? PIGNA: Did you inform his Grace that Signor Pigna Waits with state papers for his signature? MALPIGLIO: The Lady Leonora cannot know That I have […]

To Mary

Story type: Poetry

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O Mary dear, that you were here With your brown eyes bright and clear. And your sweet voice, like a bird Singing love to its lone mate In the ivy bower disconsolate; Voice the sweetest ever heard! And your brow more… Than the … sky Of this azure Italy. Mary dear, come to me soon, […]

On A Faded Violet

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1. The odour from the flower is gone Which like thy kisses breathed on me; The colour from the flower is flown Which glowed of thee and only thee! 2. A shrivelled, lifeless, vacant form, It lies on my abandoned breast, And mocks the heart which yet is warm, With cold and silent rest. 3. […]


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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 […]

To The Nile

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Month after month the gathered rains descend Drenching yon secret Aethiopian dells, And from the desert’s ice-girt pinnacles Where Frost and Heat in strange embraces blend On Atlas, fields of moist snow half depend. Girt there with blasts and meteors Tempest dwells By Nile’s aereal urn, with rapid spells Urging those waters to their mighty […]

Listen, listen, Mary mine, To the whisper of the Apennine, It bursts on the roof like the thunder’s roar, Or like the sea on a northern shore, Heard in its raging ebb and flow By the captives pent in the cave below. The Apennine in the light of day Is a mighty mountain dim and […]

The Past

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1. Wilt thou forget the happy hours Which we buried in Love’s sweet bowers, Heaping over their corpses cold Blossoms and leaves, instead of mould? Blossoms which were the joys that fell, And leaves, the hopes that yet remain. 2. Forget the dead, the past? Oh, yet There are ghosts that may take revenge for […]

A Hate-Song

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A hater he came and sat by a ditch, And he took an old cracked lute; And he sang a song which was more of a screech ‘Gainst a woman that was a brute.

Lines To A Critic

Story type: Poetry

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1. Honey from silkworms who can gather, Or silk from the yellow bee? The grass may grow in winter weather As soon as hate in me. 2. Hate men who cant, and men who pray, And men who rail like thee; An equal passion to repay They are not coy like me. 3. Or seek […]

[Published by Mrs. Shelley, “Poetical Works”, 1839, 1st edition. This fragment is amongst the Shelley manuscripts at the Bodleian. See Mr. C.D. Locock’s “Examination”, etc., 1903, page 63.] To thirst and find no fill–to wail and wander With short unsteady steps–to pause and ponder– To feel the blood run through the veins and tingle Where […]

Wealth and dominion fade into the mass Of the great sea of human right and wrong, When once from our possession they must pass; But love, though misdirected, is among The things which are immortal, and surpass All that frail stuff which will be–or which was.

My thoughts arise and fade in solitude, The verse that would invest them melts away Like moonlight in the heaven of spreading day: How beautiful they were, how firm they stood, Flecking the starry sky like woven pearl!

For me, my friend, if not that tears did tremble In my faint eyes, and that my heart beat fast With feelings which make rapture pain resemble, Yet, from thy voice that falsehood starts aghast, I thank thee–let the tyrant keep His chains and tears, yea, let him weep With rage to see thee freshly […]

A golden-winged Angel stood Before the Eternal Judgement-seat: His looks were wild, and Devils’ blood Stained his dainty hands and feet. The Father and the Son Knew that strife was now begun. They knew that Satan had broken his chain, And with millions of daemons in his train, Was ranging over the world again. Before […]

1. We meet not as we parted, We feel more than all may see; My bosom is heavy-hearted, And thine full of doubt for me:– One moment has bound the free. 2. That moment is gone for ever, Like lightning that flashed and died– Like a snowflake upon the river– Like a sunbeam upon the […]

The Isle

Story type: Poetry

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There was a little lawny islet By anemone and violet, Like mosaic, paven: And its roof was flowers and leaves Which the summer’s breath enweaves, Where nor sun nor showers nor breeze Pierce the pines and tallest trees, Each a gem engraven;– Girt by many an azure wave With which the clouds and mountains pave […]

Bright wanderer, fair coquette of Heaven, To whom alone it has been given To change and be adored for ever, Envy not this dim world, for never But once within its shadow grew One fair as–


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These are two friends whose lives were undivided; So let their memory be, now they have glided Under the grave; let not their bones be parted, For their two hearts in life were single-hearted.

Best and brightest, come away! Fairer far than this fair Day, Which, like thee to those in sorrow, Comes to bid a sweet good-morrow To the rough Year just awake In its cradle on the brake. The brightest hour of unborn Spring, Through the winter wandering, Found, it seems, the halcyon Morn To hoar February […]

1. Now the last day of many days, All beautiful and bright as thou, The loveliest and the last, is dead, Rise, Memory, and write its praise! Up,–to thy wonted work! come, trace The epitaph of glory fled,– For now the Earth has changed its face, A frown is on the Heaven’s brow. 2. We […]

Dearest, best and brightest, Come away, To the woods and to the fields! Dearer than this fairest day Which, like thee to those in sorrow, Comes to bid a sweet good-morrow To the rough Year just awake In its cradle in the brake. The eldest of the Hours of Spring, Into the Winter wandering, Looks […]

Ariel to Miranda:–Take This slave of Music, for the sake Of him who is the slave of thee, And teach it all the harmony In which thou canst, and only thou, Make the delighted spirit glow, Till joy denies itself again, And, too intense, is turned to pain; For by permission and command Of thine […]

1. The keen stars were twinkling, And the fair moon was rising among them, Dear Jane! The guitar was tinkling, But the notes were not sweet till you sung them Again. 2. As the moon’s soft splendour O’er the faint cold starlight of Heaven Is thrown, So your voice most tender To the strings without […]

The Zucca

Story type: Poetry

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1. Summer was dead and Autumn was expiring, And infant Winter laughed upon the land All cloudlessly and cold;–when I, desiring More in this world than any understand, Wept o’er the beauty, which, like sea retiring, Had left the earth bare as the wave-worn sand Of my lorn heart, and o’er the grass and flowers […]

A Dirge

Story type: Poetry

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Rough wind, that moanest loud Grief too sad for song; Wild wind, when sullen cloud Knells all the night long; Sad storm whose tears are vain, Bare woods, whose branches strain, Deep caves and dreary main,– Wail, for the world’s wrong!

She left me at the silent time When the moon had ceased to climb The azure path of Heaven’s steep, And like an albatross asleep, Balanced on her wings of light, Hovered in the purple night, Ere she sought her ocean nest In the chambers of the West. She left me, and I stayed alone […]

1. ‘Sleep, sleep on! forget thy pain; My hand is on thy brow, My spirit on thy brain; My pity on thy heart, poor friend; And from my fingers flow The powers of life, and like a sign, Seal thee from thine hour of woe; And brood on thee, but may not blend With thine. […]

Thy beauty hangs around thee like Splendour around the moon– Thy voice, as silver bells that strike Upon

The death knell is ringing The raven is singing The earth worm is creeping The mourners are weeping Ding dong, bell–

1. When the lamp is shattered The light in the dust lies dead– When the cloud is scattered The rainbow’s glory is shed. When the lute is broken, Sweet tones are remembered not; When the lips have spoken, Loved accents are soon forgot. 2. As music and splendour Survive not the lamp and the lute, […]

‘What art thou, Presumptuous, who profanest The wreath to mighty poets only due, Even whilst like a forgotten moon thou wanest? Touch not those leaves which for the eternal few Who wander o’er the Paradise of fame, In sacred dedication ever grew: One of the crowd thou art without a name.’ ‘Ah, friend, ’tis the […]

I stood upon a heaven-cleaving turret Which overlooked a wide Metropolis– And in the temple of my heart my Spirit Lay prostrate, and with parted lips did kiss The dust of Desolations [altar] hearth– And with a voice too faint to falter It shook that trembling fane with its weak prayer ‘Twas noon,–the sleeping skies […]

When soft winds and sunny skies With the green earth harmonize, And the young and dewy dawn, Bold as an unhunted fawn, Up the windless heaven is gone,– Laugh–for ambushed in the day,– Clouds and whirlwinds watch their prey.

When May is painting with her colours gay The landscape sketched by April her sweet twin…

And that I walk thus proudly crowned withal Is that ’tis my distinction; if I fall, I shall not weep out of the vital day, To-morrow dust, nor wear a dull decay.

The rude wind is singing The dirge of the music dead; The cold worms are clinging Where kisses were lately fed.

Great Spirit whom the sea of boundless thought Nurtures within its unimagined caves, In which thou sittest sole, as in my mind, Giving a voice to its mysterious waves–


Story type: Poetry

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If I walk in Autumn’s even While the dead leaves pass, If I look on Spring’s soft heaven,– Something is not there which was Winter’s wondrous frost and snow, Summer’s clouds, where are they now?

He wanders, like a day-appearing dream, Through the dim wildernesses of the mind; Through desert woods and tracts, which seem Like ocean, homeless, boundless, unconfined.

I faint, I perish with my love! I grow Frail as a cloud whose [splendours] pale Under the evening’s ever-changing glow: I die like mist upon the gale, And like a wave under the calm I fail.

Faint with love, the Lady of the South Lay in the paradise of Lebanon Under a heaven of cedar boughs: the drouth Of love was on her lips; the light was gone Out of her eyes–

Come, thou awakener of the spirit’s ocean, Zephyr, whom to thy cloud or cave No thought can trace! speed with thy gentle motion!

Fragment On Keats

Story type: Poetry

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ON KEATS, WHO DESIRED THAT ON HIS TOMB SHOULD BE INSCRIBED– ‘Here lieth One whose name was writ on water. But, ere the breath that could erase it blew, Death, in remorse for that fell slaughter, Death, the immortalizing winter, flew Athwart the stream,–and time’s printless torrent grew A scroll of crystal, blazoning the name […]

Methought I was a billow in the crowd Of common men, that stream without a shore, That ocean which at once is deaf and loud; That I, a man, stood amid many more By a wayside…, which the aspect bore Of some imperial metropolis, Where mighty shapes–pyramid, dome, and tower– Gleamed like a pile of […]


Story type: Poetry

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Where art thou, beloved To-morrow? When young and old, and strong and weak, Rich and poor, through joy and sorrow, Thy sweet smiles we ever seek,– In thy place–ah! well-a-day! We find the thing we fled–To-day.

Our boat is asleep on Serchio’s stream, Its sails are folded like thoughts in a dream, The helm sways idly, hither and thither; Dominic, the boatman, has brought the mast, And the oars, and the sails; but ’tis sleeping fast, 5 Like a beast, unconscious of its tether. The stars burnt out in the pale […]


Story type: Poetry

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1. I pant for the music which is divine, My heart in its thirst is a dying flower; Pour forth the sound like enchanted wine, Loosen the notes in a silver shower; Like a herbless plain, for the gentle rain, I gasp, I faint, till they wake again. 2. Let me drink of the spirit […]

I would not be a king–enough Of woe it is to love; The path to power is steep and rough, And tempests reign above. I would not climb the imperial throne; ‘Tis built on ice which fortune’s sun Thaws in the height of noon. Then farewell, king, yet were I one, Care would not come […]

Sonnet To Byron

Story type: Poetry

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I am afraid these verses will not please you, but If I esteemed you less, Envy would kill Pleasure, and leave to Wonder and Despair The ministration of the thoughts that fill The mind which, like a worm whose life may share A portion of the unapproachable, Marks your creations rise as fast and fair […]


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Wild, pale, and wonder-stricken, even as one Who staggers forth into the air and sun From the dark chamber of a mortal fever, Bewildered, and incapable, and ever Fancying strange comments in her dizzy brain Of usual shapes, till the familiar train Of objects and of persons passed like things Strange as a dreamer’s mad […]

1. The sun is set; the swallows are asleep; The bats are flitting fast in the gray air; The slow soft toads out of damp corners creep, And evening’s breath, wandering here and there Over the quivering surface of the stream, Wakes not one ripple from its summer dream. 2. There is no dew on […]

BOYS SING: Night! with all thine eyes look down! Darkness! weep thy holiest dew! Never smiled the inconstant moon On a pair so true. Haste, coy hour! and quench all light, Lest eyes see their own delight! Haste, swift hour! and thy loved flight Oft renew! GIRLS SING: Fairies, sprites, and angels, keep her! Holy […]

… And many there were hurt by that strong boy, His name, they said, was Pleasure, And near him stood, glorious beyond measure Four Ladies who possess all empery In earth and air and sea, Nothing that lives from their award is free. Their names will I declare to thee, Love, Hope, Desire, and Fear, […]

1. 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. 2. I can give not what men call love, But wilt thou accept […]

1. Fairest of the Destinies, Disarray thy dazzling eyes: Keener far thy lightnings are Than the winged [bolts] thou bearest, And the smile thou wearest Wraps thee as a star Is wrapped in light. 2. Could Arethuse to her forsaken urn From Alpheus and the bitter Doris run, Or could the morning shafts of purest […]

1. When passion’s trance is overpast, If tenderness and truth could last, Or live, whilst all wild feelings keep Some mortal slumber, dark and deep, I should not weep, I should not weep! 2. It were enough to feel, to see, Thy soft eyes gazing tenderly, And dream the rest–and burn and be The secret […]

A Bridal Song

Story type: Poetry

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1. The golden gates of Sleep unbar Where Strength and Beauty, met together, Kindle their image like a star In a sea of glassy weather! Night, with all thy stars look down,– Darkness, weep thy holiest dew,– Never smiled the inconstant moon On a pair so true. Let eyes not see their own delight;– Haste, […]

Nor happiness, nor majesty, nor fame, Nor peace, nor strength, nor skill in arms or arts, Shepherd those herds whom tyranny makes tame; Verse echoes not one beating of their hearts, History is but the shadow of their shame, Art veils her glass, or from the pageant starts As to oblivion their blind millions fleet, […]


Story type: Poetry

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ANOTHER VERSION OF THE PRECEDING. Night, with all thine eyes look down! Darkness shed its holiest dew! When ever smiled the inconstant moon On a pair so true? Hence, coy hour! and quench thy light, Lest eyes see their own delight! Hence, swift hour! and thy loved flight Oft renew. BOYS: O joy! O fear! […]

The Aziola

Story type: Poetry

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1. ‘Do you not hear the Aziola cry? Methinks she must be nigh,’ Said Mary, as we sate In dusk, ere stars were lit, or candles brought; And I, who thought This Aziola was some tedious woman, Asked, ‘Who is Aziola?’ How elate I felt to know that it was nothing human, No mockery of […]

A Lament

Story type: Poetry

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1. O world! O life! O time! On whose last steps I climb, Trembling at that where I had stood before; When will return the glory of your prime? No more–Oh, never more! 2. Out of the day and night A joy has taken flight; Fresh spring, and summer, and winter hoar, Move my faint […]


Story type: Poetry

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1. Swifter far than summer’s flight– Swifter far than youth’s delight– Swifter far than happy night, Art thou come and gone– As the earth when leaves are dead, As the night when sleep is sped, As the heart when joy is fled, I am left lone, alone. 2. The swallow summer comes again– The owlet […]

1. The serpent is shut out from Paradise. The wounded deer must seek the herb no more In which its heart-cure lies: The widowed dove must cease to haunt a bower Like that from which its mate with feigned sighs Fled in the April hour. I too must seldom seek again Near happy friends a […]

1. 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 art fled away. 2. How shall ever one like me Win thee back again? With the joyous and the free Thou wilt scoff at pain. Spirit false! […]

1. The flower that smiles to-day To-morrow dies; All that we wish to stay Tempts and then flies. What is this world’s delight? Lightning that mocks the night, Brief even as bright. 2. Virtue, how frail it is! Friendship how rare! Love, how it sells poor bliss For proud despair! But we, though soon they […]

What! alive and so bold, O Earth? Art thou not overbold? What! leapest thou forth as of old In the light of thy morning mirth, The last of the flock of the starry fold? Ha! leapest thou forth as of old? Are not the limbs still when the ghost is fled, And canst thou move, […]

1. My faint spirit was sitting in the light Of thy looks, my love; It panted for thee like the hind at noon For the brooks, my love. Thy barb whose hoofs outspeed the tempest’s flight Bore thee far from me; My heart, for my weak feet were weary soon, Did companion thee. 2. Ah! […]

To Emilia Viviani

Story type: Poetry

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1. Madonna, wherefore hast thou sent to me Sweet-basil and mignonette? Embleming love and health, which never yet In the same wreath might be. Alas, and they are wet! Is it with thy kisses or thy tears? For never rain or dew Such fragrance drew From plant or flower–the very doubt endears My sadness ever […]

The Fugitives

Story type: Poetry

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1. The waters are flashing, The white hail is dashing, The lightnings are glancing, The hoar-spray is dancing– Away! The whirlwind is rolling, The thunder is tolling, The forest is swinging, The minster bells ringing– Come away! The Earth is like Ocean, Wreck-strewn and in motion: Bird, beast, man and worm Have crept out of […]

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 heaped for the beloved’s bed; And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone, Love itself shall slumber on.

1. Orphan Hours, the Year is dead, Come and sigh, come and weep! Merry Hours, smile instead, For the Year is but asleep. See, it smiles as it is sleeping, Mocking your untimely weeping. 2. As an earthquake rocks a corse In its coffin in the clay, So White Winter, that rough nurse, Rocks the […]

To Night

Story type: Poetry

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1. Swiftly walk o’er the western wave, Spirit of Night! Out of the misty eastern cave, Where, all the long and lone daylight, Thou wovest dreams of joy and fear, ‘Which make thee terrible and dear,– Swift be thy flight! 2. Wrap thy form in a mantle gray, Star-inwrought! Blind with thine hair the eyes […]


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Unfathomable Sea! whose waves are years, Ocean of Time, whose waters of deep woe Are brackish with the salt of human tears! Thou shoreless flood, which in thy ebb and flow Claspest the limits of mortality, And sick of prey, yet howling on for more, Vomitest thy wrecks on its inhospitable shore; Treacherous in calm, […]

Alas! this is not what I thought life was. I knew that there were crimes and evil men, Misery and hate; nor did I hope to pass Untouched by suffering, through the rugged glen. In mine own heart I saw as in a glass The hearts of others … And when I went among my […]

1. Far, far away, O ye Halcyons of Memory, Seek some far calmer nest Than this abandoned breast! No news of your false spring To my heart’s winter bring, Once having gone, in vain Ye come again. 2. Vultures, who build your bowers High in the Future’s towers, Withered hopes on hopes are spread! Dying […]

I dreamed that Milton’s spirit rose, and took From life’s green tree his Uranian lute; And from his touch sweet thunder flowed, and shook All human things built in contempt of man,– And sanguine thrones and impious altars quaked, Prisons and citadels…

Unrisen splendour of the brightest sun, To rise upon our darkness, if the star Now beckoning thee out of thy misty throne Could thaw the clouds which wage an obscure war With thy young brightness!

Serene in his unconquerable might Endued[,] the Almighty King, his steadfast throne Encompassed unapproachably with power And darkness and deep solitude an awe Stood like a black cloud on some aery cliff Embosoming its lightning–in his sight Unnumbered glorious spirits trembling stood Like slaves before their Lord–prostrate around Heaven’s multitudes hymned everlasting praise.

Time Long Past

Story type: Poetry

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1. Like the ghost of a dear friend dead Is Time long past. A tone which is now forever fled, A hope which is now forever past, A love so sweet it could not last, Was Time long past. 2. There were sweet dreams in the night Of Time long past: And, was it sadness […]

Thou living light that in thy rainbow hues Clothest this naked world; and over Sea And Earth and air, and all the shapes that be In peopled darkness of this wondrous world The Spirit of thy glory dost diffuse … truth … thou Vital Flame Mysterious thought that in this mortal frame Of things, with […]

I went into the deserts of dim sleep– That world which, like an unknown wilderness, Bounds this with its recesses wide and deep–

The viewless and invisible Consequence Watches thy goings-out, and comings-in, And…hovers o’er thy guilty sleep, Unveiling every new-born deed, and thoughts More ghastly than those deeds–


Story type: Poetry

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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 […]

Such hope, as is the sick despair of good, Such fear, as is the certainty of ill, Such doubt, as is pale Expectation’s food Turned while she tastes to poison, when the will Is powerless, and the spirit…


Story type: Poetry

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1. Good-night? ah! no; the hour is ill Which severs those it should unite; Let us remain together still, Then it will be GOOD night. 2. How can I call the lone night good, Though thy sweet wishes wing its flight? Be it not said, thought, understood– Then it will be–GOOD night. 3. To hearts […]

Buona Notte

Story type: Poetry

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1. ‘Buona notte, buona notte!’–Come mai La notte sara buona senza te? Non dirmi buona notte,–che tu sai, La notte sa star buona da per se. 2. Solinga, scura, cupa, senza speme, La notte quando Lilla m’abbandona; Pei cuori chi si batton insieme Ogni notte, senza dirla, sara buona. 3. Come male buona notte ci […]

Alas, good friend, what profit can you see In hating such a hateless thing as me? There is no sport in hate where all the rage Is on one side: in vain would you assuage Your frowns upon an unresisting smile, In which not even contempt lurks to beguile Your heart, by some faint sympathy […]


Story type: Poetry

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A: Not far from hence. From yonder pointed hill, Crowned with a ring of oaks, you may behold A dark and barren field, through which there flows, Sluggish and black, a deep but narrow stream, Which the wind ripples not, and the fair moon Gazes in vain, and finds no mirror there. Follow the herbless […]

An Allegory

Story type: Poetry

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1. A portal as of shadowy adamant Stands yawning on the highway of the life Which we all tread, a cavern huge and gaunt; Around it rages an unceasing strife Of shadows, like the restless clouds that haunt The gap of some cleft mountain, lifted high Into the whirlwinds of the upper sky. 2. And […]

Ye hasten to the grave! What seek ye there, Ye restless thoughts and busy purposes Of the idle brain, which the world’s livery wear? O thou quick heart, which pantest to possess All that pale Expectation feigneth fair! Thou vainly curious mind which wouldest guess Whence thou didst come, and whither thou must go, And […]

If gibbets, axes, confiscations, chains, And racks of subtle torture, if the pains Of shame, of fiery Hell’s tempestuous wave, Seen through the caverns of the shadowy grave, Hurling the damned into the murky air While the meek blest sit smiling; if Despair And Hate, the rapid bloodhounds with which Terror Hunts through the world […]

1. Tell me, thou Star, whose wings of light Speed thee in thy fiery flight, In what cavern of the night Will thy pinions close now? 2. Tell me, Moon, thou pale and gray Pilgrim of Heaven’s homeless way, In what depth of night or day Seekest thou repose now? 3. Weary Wind, who wanderest […]

MANTIS EIM EZTHLON AGONUN.–OEDIP. COLON. “Hellas” was composed at Pisa in the autumn of 1821, and dispatched to London, November 11. It was published, with the author’s name, by C. & J. Ollier in the spring of 1822. A transcript of the poem by Edward Williams is in the Rowfant Library. Ollier availed himself of […]

[Published by Dr. Garnett, “Relics of Shelley”, 1862.] PASSAGES OF THE PREFACE. …the expression of my indignation and sympathy. I will allow myself a first and last word on the subject of calumny as it relates to me. As an author I have dared and invited censure. If I understand myself, I have written neither […]


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AN ELEGY ON THE DEATH OF JOHN KEATS, AUTHOR OF ENDYMION, HYPERION, ETC. Aster prin men elampes eni zooisin Eoos nun de thanon lampeis Esperos en phthimenois.–PLATO. [“Adonais” was composed at Pisa during the early days of June, 1821, and printed, with the author’s name, at Pisa, ‘with the types of Didot,’ by July 13, […]

Here, my dear friend, is a new book for you; I have already dedicated two To other friends, one female and one male,– What you are, is a thing that I must veil; What can this be to those who praise or rail? I never was attached to that great sect Whose doctrine is that […]

Charles The First

Story type: Theater

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[“Charles the First” was designed in 1818, begun towards the close of 1819 [Medwin, “Life”, 2 page 62], resumed in January, and finally laid aside by June, 1822. It was published in part in the “Posthumous Poems”, 1824, and printed, in its present form (with the addition of some 530 lines), by Mr. W.M. Rossetti, […]

Composed at Lerici on the Gulf of Spezzia in the spring and early summer of 1822–the poem on which Shelley was engaged at the time of his death. Published by Mrs. Shelley in the “Posthumous Poems” of 1824 Swift as a spirit hastening to his task Of glory and of good, the Sun sprang forth […]

[Published in part (lines 1-69, 100-120) by Mrs. Shelley, “Posthumous Poems”, 1824; and again, with the notes, in “Poetical Works”, 1839. Lines 127-238 were printed by Dr. Garnett under the title of “The Magic Plant” in his “Relics of Shelley”, 1862. The whole was edited in its present form from the Boscombe manuscript by Mr. […]


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VERSES ADDRESSED TO THE NOBLE AND UNFORTUNATE LADY, EMILIA V–, NOW IMPRISONED IN THE CONVENT OF –. L’anima amante si slancia fuori del creato, e si crea nell’ infinito un Mondo tutto per essa, diverso assai da questo oscuro e pauroso baratro. HER OWN WORDS. [“Epipsychidion” was composed at Pisa, January, February, 1821, and published […]

Composed at the Baths of San Giuliano, near Pisa, August 14-16, 1820; published in Posthumous Poems, edition Mrs. Shelley, 1824. The dedication To Mas-y first appeared in the Poetical Works, 1839, 1st edition TO MARY (ON HER OBJECTING TO THE FOLLOWING POEM, UPON THE SCORE OF ITS CONTAINING NO HUMAN INTEREST). 1. How, my dear […]

Composed during Shelley’s occupation of the Gisbornes’ house at Leghorn, July, 1820; published in “Posthumous Poems”, 1824. The spider spreads her webs, whether she be In poet’s tower, cellar, or barn, or tree; The silk-worm in the dark green mulberry leaves His winding sheet and cradle ever weaves; So I, a thing whom moralists call […]

BY MICHING MALLECHO, ESQ. Is it a party in a parlour, Crammed just as they on earth were crammed, Some sipping punch–some sipping tea; But, as you by their faces see, All silent, and all–damned! “Peter Bell”, by W. WORDSWORTH. OPHELIA.–What means this, my lord? HAMLET.–Marry, this is Miching Mallecho; it means mischief. SHAKESPEARE. [Composed […]

WRITTEN ON THE OCCASION OF THE MASSACRE AT MANCHESTER. [Composed at the Villa Valsovano near Leghorn–or possibly later, during Shelley’s sojourn at Florence–in the autumn of 1819, shortly after the Peterloo riot at Manchester, August 16; edited with Preface by Leigh Hunt, and published under the poet’s name by Edward Moxon, 1832 (Bradbury & Evans, […]

PREFACE. The poem entitled “Alastor” may be considered as allegorical of one of the most interesting situations of the human mind. It represents a youth of uncorrupted feelings and adventurous genius led forth by an imagination inflamed and purified through familiarity with all that is excellent and majestic, to the contemplation of the universe. He […]

PART 1 Nec tantum prodere vati, Quantum scire licet. Venit aetas omnis in unam Congeriem, miserumque premunt tot saecula pectus. LUCAN, Phars. v. 176. How wonderful is Death, Death and his brother Sleep! One pale as yonder wan and horned moon, With lips of lurid blue, The other glowing like the vital morn, 5 When […]

ADVERTISEMENT. The story of “Rosalind and Helen” is, undoubtedly, not an attempt in the highest style of poetry. It is in no degree calculated to excite profound meditation; and if, by interesting the affections and amusing the imagination, it awakens a certain ideal melancholy favourable to the reception of more important impressions, it will produce […]

(The idea Shelley had formed of Prince Athanase was a good deal modelled on “Alastor”. In the first sketch of the poem, he named it “Pandemos and Urania”. Athanase seeks through the world the One whom he may love. He meets, in the ship in which he is embarked, a lady who appears to him […]

Composed at Este after Shelley’s first visit to Venice, 1818 (Autumn); first published in the “Posthumous Poems”, London, 1824 (edition Mrs. Shelley). Shelley’s original intention had been to print the poem in Leigh Hunt’s “Examiner”; but he changed his mind and, on August 15, 1819, sent the manuscript to Hunt to be published anonymously by […]

On Love

Story type: Essay

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What is love? Ask him who lives, what is life? ask him who adores, what is God? I know not the internal constitution of other men, nor even thine, whom I now address. I see that in some external attributes they resemble me, but when, misled by that appearance, I have thought to appeal to […]

Life and the world, or whatever we call that which we are and feel, is an astonishing thing. The mist of familiarity obscures from us the wonder of our being. We are struck with admiration at some of its transient modifications, but it is itself the great miracle. What are changes of empires, the wreck […]

I–THE MIND It is an axiom in mental philosophy, that we can think of nothing which we have not perceived. When I say that we can think of nothing, I mean, we can imagine nothing, we can reason of nothing, we can remember nothing, we can foresee nothing. The most astonishing combinations of poetry, the […]

The first law which it becomes a Reformer to propose and support, at the approach of a period of great political change, is the abolition of the punishment of death. It is sufficiently clear that revenge, retaliation, atonement, expiation, are rules and motives, so far from deserving a place in any enlightened system of political […]

The dialogue entitled The Banquet was selected by the translator as the most beautiful and perfect among all the works of Plato. [Footnote: The Republic, though replete with considerable errors of speculation, is, indeed, the greatest repository of important truths of all the works of Plato. This, perhaps, is because it is the longest. He […]

The period which intervened between the birth of Pericles and the death of Aristotle, is undoubtedly, whether considered in itself, or with reference to the effects which it has produced upon the subsequent destinies of civilized man, the most memorable in the history of the world. What was the combination of moral and political circumstances […]

According to one mode of regarding those two classes of mental action, which are called reason and imagination, the former may be considered as mind contemplating the relations borne by one thought to another, however produced; and the latter, as mind acting upon those thoughts so as to colour them with its own light, and […]