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Of some fierce Mænad, even from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith's height,
The locks of the approaching storm.

Thou dirge

Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulcher,
Vaulted with all thy congregated might

Of vapors, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: oh, hear!

III

Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams,

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Beside a pumice isle in Baia'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 gray with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves: oh, 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, O uncontrollable! if even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be

The comrade of thy wanderings over heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skyey 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!

A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.

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Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
What if my leaves are falling like its own!
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,

Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawakened earth

The trumpet of a prophecy! O wind,

O
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

Percy Bysshe Shelley

1

O ,

205 HYMN TO THE EARTH, MOTHER OF ALL'

UNIVERSAL mother, who dost keep

From everlasting thy foundations deep, Eldest of things, Great Earth, I sing of thee; All shapes that have their dwelling in the sea, All things that fly, or on the ground divine Live, move, and there are nourished—these are thine; These from thy wealth thou dost sustain; from thee Fair babes are born, and fruits on every tree Hang ripe and large, revered Divinity!

The life of mortal men beneath thy sway
Is held; thy power both gives and takes away!
Happy are they whom thy mild favors nourish,
All things unstinted round them grow and flourish.
For them endures the life-sustaining field
Its load of harvest, and their cattle yield
Large increase, and their house with wealth is filled.
Such honored dwell in cities fair and free,
The homes of lovely women, prosperously;
Their sons exult in youth's new budding gladness,
And their fresh daughters free from care or sadness,
With bloom-inwoven dance and happy song,
On the soft flowers the meadow-grass among,

1 Translated by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Leap round them sporting-such delights by thee
Are given, rich Power, revered Divinity.

Mother of gods, thou wife of starry Heaven,
Farewell! be thou propitious, and be given
A happy life for this brief melody,
Nor thou nor other songs shall unremembered be.

Homer

206

THE SEA 1

I

WILL go back to the great sweet mother,

Mother and lover of men, the sea.
I will go down to her, I and none other,

Close with her, kiss her, and mix her with me;
Cling to her, strive with her, hold her fast;
O fair white mother, in days long past
Born without sister, born without brother,

Set free my soul as thy soul is free.

O fair green-girdled mother of mine,

Sea, that art clothed with the sun and the rain,
Thy sweet hard kisses are strong like wine,

Thy large embraces are keen like pain!
Save me and hide me with all thy waves,
Find me one grave of thy thousand graves,
Those pure cold populous graves of thine,

Wrought without hand in a world without stain.

I shall sleep, and move with the moving ships,

Change as the winds change, veer in the tide;
My lips will feast on the foam of thy lips,

I shall rise with thy rising, with thee subside;

1 From The Triumph of Time.

Sleep, and not know if she be, if she were,
Filled full with life to the eyes and hair,
As a rose is fulfilled to the rose-leaf tips

With splendid summer and perfume and pride.

This woven raiment of nights and days,

Were it once cast off and unwound from me,
Naked and glad would I walk in thy ways,

Alive and aware of thy waves and thee;
Clear of the whole world, hidden at home,
Clothed with the green, and crowned with the foam,
A pulse of the life of thy straits and bays,
A vein in the heart of the streams of the sea.

Algernon Charles Swinburne

207

YARROW UNVISITED

1803

F

ROM Stirling Castle we had seen

The mazy Forth unraveled,
Had trod the banks of Clyde and Tay,

And with the Tweed had traveled;
And when we came to Clovenford,

Then said my "winsome Marrow,"
“Whate'er betide, we'll turn aside,

And see the Braes of Yarrow.”

“Let Yarrow folk, frae Selkirk town,

Who have been buying, selling,
Go back to Yarrow, 'tis their own,

Each maiden to her dwelling!
On Yarrow's banks let herons feed,

Hares couch, and rabbits burrow,

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