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of that which is Whence thou hast fled, whither thou
Charged with the load that makes thee faint and mourn?
Wrapt in the
The health of life's own life.
NOTE BY MRS. SHELLEY
Shelley loved the People; and respected them as often more virtuous, as always more suffering, and therefore more deserving of sympathy, than the great.
He believed that a clash between the two classes of society was inevitable, and he eagerly ranged himself on the people's side. He had an idea of publishing a series of poems adapted expressly to commemorate their circumstances and He wrote a few; but, in those days of prosecution for libel, they could And their breath was mixed with fresh not be printed. They are not among the best of his productions, a writer being always shackled when he endeavours to write down to the comprehension of those who could not understand or feel a highly imaginative style; but they show his earnestness, and with what heartfelt compassion he went home to the direct point of injury that oppression is detestable as being the parent of starvation, nakedness, and ignorance. Besides these outpourings of compassion and indignation, he had
meant to adorn the cause he loved with And the Naiad-like lily of the vale, Whom youth makes so fair and passion so pale,
loftier poetry of glory and triumph: such is the scope of the Ode to the Assertors of Liberty. He sketched also a new version of our national anthem, as addressed to Liberty.
That the light of its tremulous bells is
But none ever trembled and panted with bliss
In the garden, the field, or the wilder
Like a doe in the noontide with love's sweet want,
As the companionless Sensitive Plant.
The snowdrop, and then the violet,
the turf, like the voice and the instrument.
the pied wind-flowers and the
And narcissi, the fairest among them all,
Till they die of their own dear loveliness;
Through their pavilions of tender green;
And the hyacinth purple, and white, Were all paved with daisies and delicate and blue,
Which flung from its bells a sweet peal As fair as the fabulous asphodels,
And flowrets which drooping as day drooped too
Fell into pavilions, white, purple, and blue,
And the rose like a nymph to the bath To roof the glow-worm from the even
Of music so delicate, soft, and intense,
Which unveiled the depth of her glowing And from this undefiled Paradise
The flowers (as an infant's awakening eyes
Smile on its mother, whose singing
Till, fold after fold, to the fainting air
And the wand-like lily, which lifted up, Can first lull, and at last must awaken As a Mænad, its moonlight-coloured
The beams which dart from many a And snatches of its Elysian chant
Were mixed with the dreams of the
Of the flowers whose hues they bear afar;
The plumèd insects swift and free,
The Sensitive Plant was the earliest
The unseen clouds of the dew, which lie Like fire in the flowers till the sun rides high,
There was a Power in this sweet place, Then wander like spirits among the An Eve in this Eden; a ruling grace Which to the flowers did they waken or dream,
Each cloud faint with the fragrance it bears;
Was as God is to the starry scheme.
A Lady, the wonder of her kind,
Which, dilating, had moulded her mien
The quivering vapours of dim noontide,
Like a sea-flower unfolded beneath the
Tended the garden from morn to even : And the meteors of that sublunar heaven, Whilst the lagging hours of the day Like the lamps of the air when night
went by Like windless clouds o'er a tender sky. And when evening descended from heaven above,
She had no companion of mortal race, And the Earth was all rest, and the air But her tremulous breath and her flush
was all love,
And delight, tho' less bright, was far Told, whilst the morn kissed the sleep more deep, from her eyes
And the day's veil fell from the world That her dreams were less slumber than of sleep, Paradise:
(Only overhead the sweet nightingale Ever sang more sweet as the day might fail,
Laughed round her footsteps up from the Earth!
And the beasts, and the birds, and the As if some bright Spirit for her sweet insects were drowned sake
In an ocean of dreams without a sound; Had deserted heaven while the stars Whose waves never mark, tho' they
As if yet around her he lingering were, The light sand which paves it, conscious- Tho' the veil of daylight concealed him from her.
Her step seemed to pity the grass it prest;