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The dizzy flight of that phantom pale

Waked the fair Lady from her sleep,
And she arose, while from the veil
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.




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Thus to be lost and thus to sink and die, Perchance were death indeed! - Constantia,

turn! In thy dark eyes a power like light doth lie, Even though the sounds which were thy voice,

which burn Between thy lips, are laid to sleep;

Within thy breath, and on thy hair, like odor it

is yet,

And from thy touch like fire doth leap.
Even while I write, my burning cheeks are

wetAlas, that the torn heart can bleed, but not



A breathless awe, like the swift change
Unseen but felt in youthful slumbers,

To Constantia. Published by Mrs. Shelley, 1824.

Wild, sweet, but uncommunicably strange,

Thou breathest now in fast ascending numbers. The cope

of heaven seems rent and cloven By the enchantment of thy strain ; And on my shoulders wings are woven

To follow its sublime career Beyond the mighty moons that wane

Upon the verge of Nature's utmost sphere,
Till the world's shadowy walls are passed and

Her voice is hovering o'er my soul — it lingers

O’ershadowing it with soft and lulling wings; The blood and life within those snowy fingers

Teach witchcraft to the instrumental strings. My brain is wild, my breath comes quick

The blood is listening in my frame,
And thronging shadows, fast and thick,

Fall on my overflowing eyes;
My heart is quivering like a flame ;

As morning dew, that in the sunbeam dies,
I am dissolved in these consuming ecstasies.


I have no life, Constantia, now, but thee,

Whilst, like the world-surrounding air, thy song Flows on, and fills all things with melody.

Now is thy voice a tempest swift and strong, On which, like one in trance upborne,

Secure o'er rocks and waves I sweep, Rejoicing like a cloud of morn;

Now 'tis the breath of summer night, Which, when the starry waters sleep,

Round western isles, with incense-blossoms bright, Lingering, suspends my soul in its voluptuous flight.



The country's curse is on thee, darkest crest

Of that foul, knotted, many-headed worm Which rends our Mother's bosom! — Priestly Pest !

Masked Resurrection of a buried Form !



Thy country's curse is on thee! Justice sold,

Truth trampled, Nature's landmarks overthrown, And heaps of fraud-accumulated gold,

Plead, loud as thunder, at Destruction's throne.



And, whilst that sure slow Angel, which aye stands

Watching the beck of Mutability,
Delays to execute her high commands,
And, though a nation weeps, spares thine and

Oh, let a father's curse be on thy soul,

And let a daughter's hope be on thy tomb; To the Lord Chancellor. Published without title by Mrs. Shelley, v.-ix. and xiv., 18391, and with title, i.-xvi., 18392. The authorities enumerated below support the text except in cases noted.

iii. 1 sure slow, Harvard MS., Mrs. Shelley, transcripts (Forman, Frederickson') || slow sure, Mrs. Shelley, transcripts (Forman, Frederickson”), 18392.

iii. 1 Angel, which aye || cancelled, by Shelley, for Fate which ever, Frederickson?.

Be both, on thy gray head, a leaden cowl

To weigh thee down to thine approaching doom !


I curse thee! By a parent's outraged love,

By hopes long cherished and too lately lost, – By gentle feelings thou couldst never prove,

By griefs which thy stern nature never crossed ;


By those infantine smiles of happy light,

Which were a fire within a stranger's hearth, Quenched even when kindled, — in untimely

night, Hiding the promise of a lovely birth;



By those unpractised accents of young speech,

Which he who is a father thought to frame To gentlest lore, such as the wisest teach Thou strike the lyre of mind ! - oh, grief and



By all the happy see in children's growth,

That undeveloped flower of budding years — Sweetness and sadness interwoven both,

Source of the sweetest hopes and saddest fears

iv. 3 Be || And, Mrs. Shelley, transcript (Forman) 18392.

4 thine || thy, Mrs. Shelley, transcript (Forman). vi. 4 promises of lovely, Mrs. Shelley, 18391. vii. 3 lore || love, Mrs. Shelley, transcripts (Frederickson 1, 2). viii. 3 intermingled, Mrs. Shelley, transcript (Frederickson“).

4 the saddest, Mrs. Shelley, transcript (Frederickson").


By all the days under an hireling's care,

Of dull constraint and bitter heaviness, – Oh, wretched ye if ever any were,

Sadder than orphans, yet not fatherless!


By the false cant which on their innocent lips

Must hang like poison on an opening bloom, By the dark creeds which cover with eclipse

Their pathway from the cradle to the tomb —


By thy most impious Hell, and all its terror;

By all the grief, the madness, and the guilt Of thine impostures, which must be their error That sand on which thy crumbling Power is



By thy complicity with lust and hate —

Thy thirst for tears thy hunger after gold — The ready frauds which ever on thee wait

The servile arts in which thou hast grown old —

ix. 1 an || a, Mrs. Shelley, transcript (Frederickson"), 18391,2.

3 any ever, Mrs. Shelley, transcript (Frederickson?).

4 yet not fatherless || cancelled by Shelley for why not fatherless, Mrs. Shelley, transcript (Frederickson').

xi. crossed by Shelley and marked dele, Mrs. Shelley, transcript (Frederickson”). xi. 1 most, omit, Mrs. Shelley, transcript (Frederickson?).

1 terrors, Mrs. Shelley, transcript (Frederickson2), 18392.

3 errors, Mrs. Shelley, transcript (Frederickson2), 18392. xii. 4 hast || art, Mrs. Shelley, transcripts (Forman, one, Frederickson”).

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