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Of the rent ice-cliff which the sunbeams by others, yet the effect of the whole was call, fascinating and delightful.
Mont Blanc was inspired by a view of that mountain and its surrounding peaks and valleys, as he lingered on the Bridge of Arve on his way through the Valley of Chamouni. Shelley makes the following mention of this poem in his publication of Letters from Switserland: "The poem the History of Six Weeks' Tour, and author of the two letters from Chamouni entitled Mont Blanc is written by the and Vevai. It was composed under the
Plunging into the vale-it is the blast
DEAR home, thou scene of earliest hopes and joys,
The least of which wronged Memory ever makes
Bitterer than all thine unremembered immediate impression of the deep and
powerful feelings excited by the objects which it attempts to describe; and, as an undisciplined overflowing of the soul, rests its claim to approbation on an attempt to imitate the untamable wildness and inaccessible solemnity from which those feelings sprang."
FRAGMENT: HELEN AND
A SHOVEL of his ashes took
And so they followed hard-
NOTE ON POEMS OF 1816, BY
SHELLEY wrote little during this year. The poem entitled The Sunset was written in the Spring of the year, while still residing at Bishopgate. He spent the summer on the shores of the Lake of Geneva. The Hymn to Intellectual Beauty was conceived during his voyage round the lake with Lord Byron. He occupied himself during this voyage by reading the Nouvelle Héloïse for the first time. The reading it on the very spot where the scenes are laid added to the interest; and he was at once surprised and charmed by the passionate eloquence and earnest enthralling interest that pervade this work. There was something in the character of Saint-Preux, in his abnegation of self, and in the worship he paid to Love, that coincided with Shelley's own disposition; and, though differing in many of the views and shocked
This was an eventful year, and less time was given to study than usual. In the list of his reading I find, in Greek, Theocritus, the Prometheus of Eschylus, several of Plutarch's Lives, and the works of Lucian. In Latin, Lucretius, Pliny's Letters, the Annals and Germany of Tacitus. In French, the History of the French Revolution by Lacretelle. read for the first time, this year, MonHe taigne's Essays, and regarded them ever instructive books in the world. after as one of the most delightful and scanty in English works: Locke's Essay, The list is Political Justice, and Coleridge's Lay Sermon, form nearly the whole. his frequent habit to read aloud to me in It was the evening; in this way we read, this year, the New Testament, Paradise Lost, Spenser's Faery Queen, and Don Quixote.
POEMS WRITTEN IN 1817
A PALE dream came to a Lady fair,
Which I can make the sleeping see, If they will put their trust in me.
And thou shalt know of things unknown,
At first all deadly shapes were driven
And as towards the east she turned,
A great black Anchor rising there; And wherever the Lady turned her eyes, It hung before her in the skies.
The sky was blue as the summer sea,
The depths were cloudless overhead, The air was calm as it could be,
There was no sight or sound of dread, But that black Anchor floating still Over the piny eastern hill.
To see that Anchor ever hanging, And veiled her eyes; she then did hear The sound as of a dim low clanging, And looked abroad if she might know Was it aught else, or but the flow Of the blood in her own veins, to and fro.
VII There was a mist in the sunless air, Which shook as it were with an earthquake's shock,
But the very weeds that blossomed there
Were moveless, and each mighty rock
Stood on its basis steadfastly;
The Anchor was seen no more on high.
But piled around, with summits hid
Among whose everlasting walls
On two dread mountains, from whose crest,
Might seem, the eagle, for her brood, Would ne'er have hung her dizzy nest,
Those tower-encircled cities stood.
A vision strange such towers to see, Sculptured and wrought so gorgeously, Where human art could never be.
From touch of mortal instrument,
The Lady grew sick with a weight of Shot o'er the vales, or lustre lent From its own shapes magnificent.
And columns framed of marble white,
And giant fanes, dome over dome Piled, and triumphant gates, all bright With workmanship, which could not
But still the Lady heard that clang
Among the mountains shook alway, So that the Lady's heart beat fast, As half in joy, and half aghast, On those high domes her look she cast
Sudden, from out that city sprung
Licked its high domes, and overhead
And hark! a rush as if the deep
Had burst its bonds; she looked behind
And now those raging billows came
Where that fair Lady sate, and she Was borne towards the showering flame By the wild waves heaped tumultuously
And on a little plank, the flow
At last her plank an eddy crost,
And bore her to the city's wall,
And saw over the western steep
A raging flood descend, and wind Through that wide vale; she felt no fear, But said within herself, 'Tis clear These towers are Nature's own, and she For it was filled with sculptures rarest,
To save them has sent forth the sea.
Of forms most beautiful and strange, Like nothing human, but the fairest
Of winged shapes, whose legions range Throughout the sleep of those that are, Like this same Lady, good and fair.
The eddy whirled her round and round
The plank whereon that Lady sate
Was driven through the chasms, about and about,
Its aëry arch with light like blood; She looked on that gate of marble clear, With wonder that extinguished fear.
And as she looked, still lovelier grew
Was a strong spirit, and the hue
The flames were fiercely vomited
From every tower and every dome, And dreary light did widely shed
O'er that vast flood's suspended foam, Such grace, was in some sad change Beneath the smoke which hung its night On the stained cope of heaven's light.
She looked, the flames were dim, the flood
Grew tranquil as a woodland river Winding through hills in solitude; Those marble shapes then seemed to quiver,
Between the peaks so desolate
Of the drowning mountains, in and And their fair limbs to float in motion, Like weeds unfolding in the ocean.
out, As the thistle-beard on a whirlwind
While the flood was filling those hollow And their lips moved; one seemed to vales. speak,
When suddenly the mountains crackt, And through the chasm the flood did break
With an earth-uplifting cataract : The statues gave a joyous scream, And on its wings the pale thin dream Lifted the Lady from the stream.
TO CONSTANTIA, SINGING
THUS to be lost and thus to sink and die,
In thy dark eyes a power like light doth lie,
And from thy touch like fire doth leap.
The dizzy flight of that phantom pale
Waked the fair Lady from her sleep, The blood and life within those snowy And she arose, while from the veil
Teach witchcraft to the instrumental strings.
Of her dark eyes the dream did creep, And she walked about as one who knew That sleep has sights as clear and true As any waking eyes can view.
My brain is wild, my breath comes
The blood is listening in my frame,
A breathless awe, like the swift change
Unseen, but felt in youthful slumbers,
Wild, sweet, but uncommunicably
Thou breathest now in fast ascending numbers.
The cope of heaven seems rent and cloven
By the enchantment of thy strain,
Upon the verge of nature's utmost sphere,
Till the world's shadowy walls are past and disappear.
Her voice is hovering o'er my soul-it lingers
O'ershadowing it with soft and lulling