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“A baby's or an idiot's brow, and made Their nests in it. The old anatomies Sate hatching their bare broods under the shade

“Of demon wings, and laughed from their dead To re-assume the delegated power, [eyes Arrayed in which those worms did monarchize,

“ Who made this earth their charnel. Others more Humble, like falcons, sat upon the fist Of common men, and round their heads did soar;

“Or like small gnats and flies, as thick as mist On evening marshes, thronged about the brow Of lawyers, statesmen, priest, and theorist;

“ And others, like discoloured flakes of snow
On fairest bosoms and the sunniest hair,
Fell, and were melted by the youthful glow

“ Which they extinguished; and, like tears, they


A veil to those from whose faint lids they rained In drops of sorrow. I became aware

“Of whence those forms proceeded which thus

stained The track in which we moved. After brief space, From every form the beauty slowly waned;

“ From every firmest limb and fairest face

The strength and freshness fell like dust, and left The action and the shape without the grace

“Of life. The marble brow of youth was cleft With care; and in those eyes where once hope Desire, like a lioness bereft


“Of her last cub, glared ere it died ; each one Of that great crowd sent forth incessantly These shadows, numerous as the dead leaves blown

“ In autumn evening from a poplar tree, Each like himself and like each other were At first; but some distorted seemed to be

“ Obscure clouds, moulded by the casual air;
And of this stuff the car's creative ray
Wrapt all the busy phantoms that were there,

“As the sun shapes the clouds; thus on the way Mask after mask fell from the countenance And form of all; and long before the day

“ Was old, the joy which waked like heaven's The sleepers in the oblivious valley, died; [glance And some grew weary of the ghastly dance,

" And fell, as I have fallen, by the way-side ;Those soonest from whose forms most shadows

past, And least of strength and beauty did abide. Then, what is life ? I cried.”—



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 each one should select
Out of the world a mistress or a friend,
And all the rest, though fair and wise, commend
To cold oblivion—though it is the code
Of modern morals, and the beaten road,
Which those poor slaves with weary footsteps

Who travel to their home among the dead,
By the broad highway of the world—and so
With one sad friend, and many a jealous foe,
The dreariest and the longest journey go.

Free love has this, different from gold and clay, That to divide is not to take away.

* These fragments do not properly belong to the poems of 1822. They are gleanings from Shelley's manuscript books and papers; preserved not only because they are beautiful in themselves, but as affording indications of his feelings and virtues.

Like ocean, which the general north wind breaks
Into ten thousand waves, and each one makes
A mirror of the moon; like some great glass,
Which did distort whatever form might pass,
Dashed into fragments by a playful child,
Which then reflects its eyes and forehead mild,
Giving for one, which it could ne'er express,
A thousand images of loveliness.

If I were one whom the loud world held wise,
I should disdain to quote authorities
In the support of this kind of love ;-
Why there is first the God in heaven above,
Who wrote a book called Nature, 'tis to be
Reviewed I hear in the next Quarterly ;
And Socrates, the Jesus Christ of Greece;
And Jesus Christ himself did never cease
To urge all living things to love each other,
And to forgive their mutual faults, and smother
The Devil of disunion in their souls.

It is a sweet thing friendship, a dear balm,
A happy and auspicious bird of calm,
Which rides o’er life's ever tumultuous ocean;
A God that broods o'er chaos in commotion ;
A flower which fresh as Lapland roses are,
Lifts its bold head into the world's pure air,
And blooms most radiantly when others die,
Health, hope, and youth, and brief prosperity;

And, with the light and odour of its bloom,
Shining within the dungeon and the tomb;
Whose coming is as light and music are
'Mid dissonance and gloom—a star
Which moves not ʼmid the moving heavens alone,
A smile among dark frowns-a gentle tone
Among rude voices, a beloved light,
A solitude, a refuge, a delight.

If I had but a friend! why I have three,
Even by my own confession ; there may be
Some more, for what I know; for 'tis my

To call my friends all who are wisé and kind,
And these, Heaven knows, at best are very few,
But none can ever be more dear than you.
Why should they be? my muse bas lost her wings,
Or like a dying swan who soars and sings
I should describe you in heroic style,
But as it is--are you not void of guile?
A lovely soul, formed to be blessed and bless;
A well of sealed and secret happiness ;
A lute, which those whom love has taught to play
Make music on, to cheer the roughest day?


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.

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