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While yet a boy I sought for ghosts, and sped
Through many a listening chamber, cave and ruin,
And starlight wood, with fearful steps pursuing
Hopes of high talk with the departed dead.
I called on poisonous names with which our youth
I was not heard: I saw them not: [is fed:
When musing deeply on the lot
Of life, at that sweet time when winds are wooing
All vital things that wake to bring
News of birds and blossoming,
Sudden, thy shadow fell on me:
I shrieked, and clasped my hands in ecstacy 1
I vowed that I would dedicate my powers
To thee and thine: have I not kept the vow?
With beating heart and streaming eyes, even now
I call the phantoms of a thousand hours [bowers
Each from his voiceless grave: they have invisioned
Of studious zeal or loves delight
Outwatched with me the envious night:
They know that neverjoy illumed my brow,
Unlinked with hope that thou wouldst free
This world from its dark slavery, ~
That thou, O awful Loveliness,
Wouldst give whate'er these words cannot express.
The day becomes more solemn and serene
When noon is past: there is a harmony
In autumn, and a lustre in its sky,
Which through the summer is not heard or seen,
As if it could not be, as if it had not been 1
Thus let thy power, which like the truth
Of nature on my passive youth
Descended, to my onward life supply
Its calm, to one who worships thee,
And every form containing thee,
Whom, Spirit fair, thy spells did bind
To fear himself, and love all human kind.
I met a traveller from an antique land,
Who said: two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desart. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive,stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair "
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
AN EXHORTATION. Camelions 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 their hue
As the light camelions do, Suiting it to every ray Twenty times a day?
Poets are on this cold earth,
As camelions might be
Hidden from their early birth
In a cave beneath the sea;
Where light is camelions change,
Where love is not poets do:
Fame is love disguised: if few
Find either, never think it strange
That poets range.
Yet dare not stain with wealth or power
A poet's free and heavenly mind:
If bright camelions should devour
Any food but beams and wind,
They would grow as earthly soon
As their brother lizards are.
Children of a sunnier star,
Spirits from beyond the moon,
O, refuse the boon!
O, wild WestWind, thou breath of autumn's being, Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,
Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red, Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou, Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed
The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the spring shall blow
Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill (Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air) With living hues and odours, plain and hill: Wild spirit which art moving every where; Destroyer and preserver; hear, O hear!
Thou on whose stream, 'mid the steep sky's commotion,
Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are shed,
Shook from the tangled boughs of heaven and ocean,
Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
On the blue surface of thine airy surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head
Of some fierce maenad, even from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith's height,
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge
Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,
Vaulted with all thy congregated might
A SONG TO SIR PHILIP SIDNEY.
Spirit, whose bliss beyond this cloudy sphere
ls with the rising, and the setting light,
Who, far remov’d from all that grieves us here,
For ever happy, and for ever bright,
Yet lookest down with pity from on high,
"Midst airs of immortality:
O, with what pure and never-ending song,
Song, that uplift upon the wings of love,
May gain access to that celestial throng,
Shall I now soar above,
And in the silver flood of morning play,
And view thy face, and brighten into day
Forgive me, then, O love-enlarged soul, Or love itself in pure felicity, If, questioning my nature's fast controul, I slip my bonds, and wander unto thee; But, ah! too well I know That this may not be so, Till that prefixed doom from heav'n be spent: Then for a little while, If measure may beguile, Let thy sweet deeds become my argument; That all the wide hereafter may behold Thy mind more perfect than refined gold.
But this is to enlarge the liberal air, And pour fresh light into the diamond, To herald that the fragrant rose is fair, And that the sun in beauty doth abound; So vain, and so excessful is the thought To add to Sidney aught: Yet cannot I forego the sweet delight, More sweet to me than music or the spring, Or than the starry beams of summer's night, Thy sweetest praise, O Astrophel, to sing; Till the wide woods, to which I teach the same, Shall echo with thy name; And ev'ry fount that in the valley flows, Shall stay it's fall, and murmur at the close.
Nor yet shall time, a thing not understood, Nor weary space forbid me my desire; The nimble mind can travel where it would, More swift than winds, or than the greedy fire; So shall my thoughts aspire To that eternal seat, where thou art laid In brightness without shade; Thy golden locks, that in wide splendour flow, Crowned with lilies, and with violets, And amaranth, which that good angel sets With joy upon thy radiant head to blow; (Soft flow’rs, unknown to woe, That in the blissful meads of heav'n are found;)