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by [?]

Ah, did you once see Shelley plain,
And did he stop and speak to you,
And did you speak to him again?
How strange it seems and new!

But you were living before that,
And also you are living after;
And the memory I started at–
My starting moves your laughter!

I crossed a moor with a name of its own
And a certain use in the world, no doubt,
Yet a hand’s-breadth of it shines alone
‘Mid the blank miles round about.

For there I picked upon the heather
And there I put inside my breast
A moulted feather, an eagle-feather!
Well, I forget the rest.


In Browning’s early youth, while he was under the influence of Byron
and Pope, he found, at a bookstall, a stray copy of Shelley’s Daemon
of the World
. From this time on, Shelley’s poetry was his ideal.
The term “moulted feather” has peculiar significance from the fact
that this was a poem which Shelley afterwards rejected.