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And hissings crawl fast o'er the sinooth ocean streams,
ODE TO HEAVEN.
CHORUS OF SPIRITS,
Deep, immeasurable, vast,
Of the present and the past,
Presence-chamber, temple, home,
Glorious shapes have life in thee,
Living globes which ever throng
And green worlds that glide along;
And icy moons most cold and bright,
Even thy name is as a god,
Of that power which is the glass
Generations as they pass
Their unremaining gods and they
Like weak insects in a cave,
But the portal of the grave,
Will make thy best glories seem
What is heaven? and what are ye
What are suns and spheres which flee
Of which ye are but a part ?
What is heaven? a globe of dew,
Some eyed flower whose young leaves waken
Constellated suns unshaken,
In that frail and fading sphere,
CAMELIONS feed on light and air:
Poets' food is love and fame: If in this wide world of care
Poets could but find the same With as little toil as they,
Would they ever change their hue
As the light camelions do,
As camelions might be,
In a cave beneath the sea; Where light is camelions change:
Where love is not, poets do:
Fame is love disguised: if few
A poet's free and heavenly mind:
Any food but beams and wind, They would grow as earthly soon
As their brother lizards are.
Children of a sunnier star, Spirits from beyond the moon, O, refuse the boon!
ODE TO THE WEST WIND.1
I. O, WILD West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being, Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing, Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red, Pestilence-stricken multitudes : 0, thou, Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low, Each like a corpse within its grave, until Thine azure sister of the spring shall blow Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill (Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air) With living hues and odours plain and hill: Wild Spirit, which art moving every where; Destroyer and preserver; hear, o, hear!
Thou on whose stream, ʼmid the steep sky's commotion,
This poem was conceived and chiefly written in a wood that skirts the Arno, near Florence, and on a day when that tempestuous wind, whose temperature is at once mild and animating, was collecting the vapours which pour down the autumnal rains. They began, as I foresaw, at sunset with a violent tempest bail and rain, attended by that magnificent thunder and lightning peculiar to the Cisalpine regions.
The phenomenon alluded to at the conclusion of the third stanza is well known to naturalists. The vegetation at the bottom of the sea, of rivers, and of lakes, sympathises with that oî the land in the change of seasons, and is consequently influenced by the winds which announce it.
Of the dying year, to which this closing night
III. Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams The blue Mediterranean, where he lay, Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams, Beside a pumice isle in Baiæ's bay, And saw in sleep old palaces and towers Quivering within the wave's intenser day, All overgrown with azure moss and flowers So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou For whose path the Atlantic's level powers Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear The sapless foliage of the ocean, know Thy voice, and suddenly grow grey with fear, And tremble and despoil themselves: O, hear!
IV. If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear; If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee; A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share The impulse of thy strength, only less free Than thou, 0, uncontroulable! If even I were as in my boyhood, and could be The comrade of thy wanderings over heaven, As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed Scarce seemed a vision; I would ne'er have striven As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need. Oh! lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud ! I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed i A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.