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Under FRAGMENTS are included, with a few exceptions, incomplete poems, sketches and cancelled passages, and those more inchoate passages which have been recovered from Shelley's notebooks. The exceptions are the Prologue to Hellas, which has been put with that drama, A Vision of the Sea, published by Shelley with the poems accompanying Prometheus Unbound, and five pieces, To Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, 1814, Death, An Allegory, On the Medusa of Leonardo da Vinci, and Evening, Pisa, which, though lacking a word or a line, are in effect complete. The order of the FRAGMENTS is not strictly chronological in the first division, and is altogether arbitrary in the second. The dates assigned in the footnotes are those generally accepted, but, as a rule, they are conjectural and approximate only, not exact. The text is derived from the editions of Mrs. Shelley, the studies of Dr. Garnett in the Boscombe MSS., published by him mainly in Relics of Shelley, 1862, or by Rossetti, 1870, and Rossetti's own studies both in the same and other MSS. of which the results were given in his edition. A few pieces, originally published elsewhere, were also gathered by Rossetti and Forman in their editions, and Forman was enabled to add something more from independent MSS. The original publication of each piece is mentioned in the footnotes.


Nec tantum prodere vati,
Quantum scire licet. Venit ætas omnis in unam
Congeriem, miserumque premunt tot sæcula pectus.

LUCAN, PHARS. v. 176–178.

How wonderful is Death,

Death and his brother Sleep!
One, pale as yonder wan and hornèd moon,

With lips of lurid blue;
The other, glowing like the vital morn

When throned on ocean's wave

It breathes over the world ;
Yet both so passing strange and wonderful !

Hath then the iron-sceptred Skeleton,
Whose reign is in the tainted sepulchres,
To the hell dogs that couch beneath his throne
Cast that fair prey ? Must that divinest form,
Which love and admiration cannot view
Without a beating heart, whose azure veins
Steal like dark streams along a field of snow,
Whose outline is as fair as marble clothed
In light of some sublimest mind, decay ?

Nor putrefaction's breath
Leave aught of this pure spectacle

But loathsomeness and ruin?
Spare aught but a dark theme,
The Dæmon of the World. Published with Alastor, 1816.

On which the lightest heart might moralize?
Or is it but that downy-winged slumbers
Have charmed their nurse, coy Silence, near her

To watch their own repose ?
Will they, when morning's beam

Flows through those wells of light,
Seek far from noise and day some western cave,
Where woods and streams with soft and pausing

A lulling murmur weave ?

Ianthe doth not sleep

The dreamless sleep of death;
Nor in her moonlight chamber silently
Doth Henry hear her regular pulses throb,

Or mark her delicate cheek
With interchange of hues mock the broad moon,

Outwatching weary night,
Without assured reward.

Her dewy eyes are closed ;
On their translucent lids, whose texture fine
Scarce hides the dark blue orbs that burn below

With unapparent fire,
The baby Sleep is pillowed ;
Her golden tresses shade

The bosom's stainless pride,
Twining like tendrils of the parasite

Around a marble column.

Hark! whence that rushing sound ?
'Tis like a wondrous strain that sweeps
Around a lonely ruin

When west winds sigh and evening waves respond

In whispers from the shore : 'Tis wilder than the unmeasured notes Which from the unseen lyres of dells and groves

The genii of the breezes sweep.

Floating on waves of music and of light
The chariot of the Dæmon of the World

Descends in silent power.
Its shape reposed within ; slight as some cloud
That catches but the palest tinge of day

When evening yields to night;
Bright as that fibrous woof when stars endue

Its transitory robe.
Four shapeless shadows bright and beautiful
Draw that strange car of glory; reins of light
Check their unearthly speed ; they stop and fold

Their wings of braided air.
The Dæmon, leaning from the ethereal car,

Gazed on the slumbering maid.
Human eye hath ne'er beheld
A shape so wild, so bright, so beautiful,
As that which o'er the maiden's charmed sleep,

Waving a starry wand,

Hung like a mist of light.
Such sounds as breathed around like odorous winds

Of wakening spring arose,
Filling the chamber and the moonlight sky.

“Maiden, the world's supremest spirit

Beneath the shadow of her wings
Folds all thy memory doth inherit

From ruin of divinest things,

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