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Choruses from HELLAS

(1821)

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Life may change, but it may fly not;
Hope may vanish, but can die not;
Truth be veiled, but still it burneth;
Love repulsed, — but it returneth.
Yet were life a charnel where
Hope lay coffined with despair;
Yet were truth a sacred lie;
Love were lust:

Another Athens shall arise,

And to remoter time
Bequeath, like sunset to the skies,

The splendor of its prime;
And leave, if naught so bright may live,
All Earth can take or Heaven can give.
Saturn and Love their long repose

Shall burst, more bright and good Than all who fell, than One who rose, Than

many unsubdued : Not gold, not blood, their altar dowers, But votive tears and symbol Aowers. 1095 Ah, cease! must hate and death return?

Cease! must men kill and die?
Cease! drain not to its dregs the urn

Of bitter prophecy.
The world is weary of the past:
Oh, might it die or rest at last!

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We paused beside the pools that lie

Under the forest-bough. Each seemed as 'twere a little sky 55

Gulfed in a world below: A firmament of purple light

Which in the dark earth lay,
More boundless than the depth of night,

And purer than the day, -
In which the lovely forests grew

As in the upper air,
More perfect both in shape and hue

Than any spreading there:
There lay the glade and neighboring

lawn, And through the dark green wood The white sun twinkling like the dawn

Out of a speckled cloud.
Sweet views which in our world above

Can never well be seen,
Were imaged by the water's love

Of that fair forest green:
And all was interfused beneath

With an Elysian glow, -
An atmosphere without a breath,

A softer day below.
Like one beloved, the scene had lent

To the dark water's breast
Its every leaf and lineament

With more than truth expressed: Until an envious wind crept by,

Like an unwelcome thought,
Which from the mind's too faithful eye

Blots one dear image out.
Though thou art ever fair and kind,

And forests ever green,
Less oft its peace in Shelley's mind

Than calm in water seen.

We paused amid the pines that stood

The giants of the waste,
Tortured by storms to shapes as rude

As serpents interlaced,
And soothed, by every azure breath

That under heaven is blown,
To harmonies and hues beneath,

As tender as its own.
Now all the tree-tops lay asleep

Like green waves on the sea,
As still as in the silent deep

The ocean-woods may be.

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How calm it was! — The silence there

By such a chain was bound That even the busy woodpecker 35

Made stiller with her sound
The inviolable quietness;

The breath of peace we drew
With its soft motion made not less

The calm that round us grew.
There seemed, from the remotest seat

Of the white mountain-waste
To the soft flower beneath our feet,

A magic circle traced,
A spirit interfused around,

A thrilling silent life:
To

momentary peace it bound Our mortal nature's strife. And still, I felt, the centre of The magic circle there

fair form that filled with love The lifeless atmosphere.

TO JANE

(1822)

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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 sang them

5 Again.

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Was one

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As the moon's soft splendor

When you die, the silent Moon,
O'er the faint cold starlight of heaven In her interlunar swoon,
Is thrown,

Is not sadder in her cell
So your voice most tender

10 Than deserted Ariel.
To the strings without soul had then When you live again on earth,
given

Like an unseen star of birth
Its own.

Ariel guides you o'er the sea

Of life from your nativity. The stars will awaken,

Many changes have been run,

Since Ferdinand and you begun
Though the moon sleep a full hour later
Tonight;

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Your course of love, and Ariel still No leaf will be shaken

Has tracked your steps, and served your Whilst the dews of your melody scatter

will:
Delight.

Now, in humbler, happier lot,
This is all remembered not;

And now, alas! the poor sprite is
Though the sound overpowers,

Imprisoned, for some fault of his, Sing again, with your dear voice reveal

In a body like a grave -
ing

From you, he only dares to crave,
A tone

For his service and his sorrow,
Of some world far from ours,
Where music and moonlight and feeling A smile today, a song tomorrow.
Are one.

The artist who this idol wrought

To echo all harmonious thought, WITH A GUITAR: TO JANE

Felled a tree, while on the steep (1822)

The woods were in their winter sleep,

Rocked in that repose divine Ariel to Miranda:- Take

On the wind-swept Apennine; This slave of Music, for the sake

And dreaming, some of Autumn past, Of him who is the slave of thee;

And some of Spring approaching fast, 50 And teach it all the harmony

And some of April buds and showers, In which thou canst, and only thou, And some of songs in July bowers, Make the delighted spirit glow, - And all of love. And so this tree Till joy denies itself again,

Oh that such our death may be! And, too intense, is turned to pain.

Died in sleep, and felt no pain, For by permission and command

To live in happier form again; Of thine own Prince Ferdinand,

From which, beneath Heaven's fairest Poor Ariel sends this silent token

star, Of more than ever can be spoken. –

The artist wrought this loved guitar, Your guardian spirit, Ariel, who,

And taught it justly to reply, From life to life, must still pursue

To all who question skilfully, Your happiness: for thus alone

In language gentle as thine own, Can Ariel ever find his own.

Whispering in enamored tone From Prospero's enchanted cell,

Sweet oracles of woods and dells, As the mighty verses tell,

And summer winds in sylvan cells. To the throne of Naples, he

For it had learnt all harmonies Lit you o'er the trackless sea,

Of the plains and of the skies, Flitting on, your prow before,

Of the forests and the mountains, Like a living meteor.

And the many-voiced fountains:

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