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TO MARY WOLLSTONECRAFT GODWIN

I

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
With soothing pity upon mine.

II

To sit and curb the soul's mute rage

Which preys upon itself alone;
To curse the life which is the cage

Of fettered grief that dares not groan,
Hiding from many a careless eye
The scornèd load of agony;

Whilst thou alone, then not regarded,

The thou alone should be, -
To spend years thus, and be rewarded,

As thou, sweet love, requited me
When none were near — Oh, I did wake
From torture for that moment's sake.

IV

Upon my heart thy accents sweet

Of peace and pity fell like dew

To Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin || To - Mrs. Shelley, 1824. Published by Mrs. Shelley, 1824. Composed June, 1814.

On flowers half dead; thy lips did meet

Mine tremblingly; thy dark eyes threw
Their soft persuasion on my brain,
Charming away its dream of pain.

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We are not happy, sweet! our state

Is strange and full of doubt and fear;
More need of words that ills abate; -

Reserve or censure come not near
Our sacred friendship, lest there be
No solace left for thee and me.

VI
Gentle and good and mild thou art,

Nor can I live if thou appear
Aught but thyself, or turn thine heart

Away from me, or stoop to wear
The mask of scorn, although it be
To hide the love thou feel'st for me.

MUTABILITY.

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 forever :

Or like forgotten lyres whose dissonant strings

Give various response to each varying blast, To whose frail frame no second motion brings One mood or modulation like the last.

Mutability. Published with Alastor, 1816.

We rest — a dream has power to poison sleep; We rise — one wandering thought pollutes the

day; We feel, conceive or reason, laugh or weep;

Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away :

It is the same !—for, be it joy or sorrow,

The path of its departure still is free ;
Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his morrow;

Nought may endure but Mutability.

ON DEATH

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 That flits round our steps till their strength is gone.

O man ! hold thee on in courage of soul

Through the stormy shades of thy worldly way, And the billows of cloud that around thee roll

Shall sleep in the light of a wondrous day, Where hell and heaven shall leave thee free To the universe of destiny.

This world is the nurse of all we know,

This world is the mother of all we feel; On Death, Mrs. Shelley, 18391 || no title, Shelley, 1816. Published with Alastor, 1816.

And the coming of death is a fearful blow

To a brain unencompassed with nerves of steel, When all that we know, or feel, or see, Shall pass like an unreal mystery.

The secret things of the grave are there,

Where all but this frame must surely be, Though the fine-wrought eye and the wondrous

ear

No longer will live to hear or to see
All that is great and all that is strange
In the boundless realm of unending change.

Who telleth a tale of unspeaking death ?

Who lifteth the veil of what is to come ? Who painteth the shadows that are beneath

The wide-winding caves of the peopled tomb? Or uniteth the hopes of what shall be With the fears and the love for that which we see?

A SUMMER EVENING CHURCHYARD

LECHLADE, GLOUCESTERSHIRE

The wind has swept from the wide atmosphere

Each vapor 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.

A Summer Evening Churchyard. Published with Alastor, 1816. Composed September, 1815.

They breathe their spells toward the departing day,

Encompassing the earth, air, stars and sea; Light, sound and motion own the potent sway,

Responding to the charm with its own mystery. The winds are still, or the dry church-tower grass Knows not their gentle motions as they pass.

Thou too, aërial Pile, whose pinnacles

Point from one shrine like pyramids of fire, Obeyest in silence their sweet solemn spells, Clothing in hues of heaven thy dim and distant

spire, Around whose lessening and invisible height Gather among the stars the clouds of night.

The dead are sleeping in their sepulchres ;

And, mouldering as they sleep, a thrilling sound, Half sense, half thought, among the darkness

stirs, Breathed from their wormy beds all living things

around; And mingling with the still night and mute sky Its awful hush is felt inaudibly.

Thus solemnized and softened, death is mild

And terrorless as this serenest night; Here could I hope, like some inquiring child Sporting on graves, that death did hide from

human sight Sweet secrets, or beside its breathless sleep That loveliest dreams perpetual watch did keep.

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