• Ana Savković

Percy Bysshe Shelley: Some World Far From Ours


Image: Unsplash, downloaded (https://unsplash.com/photos/p4stN8gJpPM) 9.1.2022.



The Cloud


I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,

From the seas and the streams;

I bear light shade for the leaves when laid

In their noonday dreams.

From my wings are shaken the dews that waken

The sweet buds every one,

When rocked to rest on their mother's breast,

As she dances about the sun.

I wield the flail of the lashing hail,

And whiten the green plains under,

And then again I dissolve it in rain,

And laugh as I pass in thunder.


I sift the snow on the mountains below,

And their great pines groan aghast;

And all the night 'tis my pillow white,

While I sleep in the arms of the blast.

Sublime on the towers of my skiey bowers,

Lightning my pilot sits;

In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,

It struggles and howls at fits;

Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,

This pilot is guiding me,

Lured by the love of the genii that move

In the depths of the purple sea;

Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,

Over the lakes and the plains,

Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,

The Spirit he loves remains;

And I all the while bask in Heaven's blue smile,

Whilst he is dissolving in rains.


The sanguine Sunrise, with his meteor eyes,

And his burning plumes outspread,

Leaps on the back of my sailing rack,

When the morning star shines dead;

As on the jag of a mountain crag,

Which an earthquake rocks and swings,

An eagle alit one moment may sit

In the light of its golden wings.

And when Sunset may breathe, from the lit sea

Its ardours of rest and of love, [beneath,

And the crimson pall of eve may fall

From the depth of Heaven above,

With wings folded I rest, on mine aëry nest,

As still as a brooding dove.


That orbèd maiden with white fire laden,

Whom mortals call the Moon,

Glides glimmering o'er my fleece-like floor,

By the midnight breezes strewn;

And wherever the beat of her unseen feet,

Which only the angels hear,

May have broken the woof of my tent's thin roof,

The stars peep behind her and peer;

And I laugh to see them whirl and flee,

Like a swarm of golden bees,

When I widen the rent in my wind-built tent,

Till calm the rivers, lakes, and seas,

Like strips of the sky fallen through me on high,

Are each paved with the moon and these.


I bind the Sun's throne with a burning zone,

And the Moon's with a girdle of pearl;

The volcanoes are dim, and the stars reel and swim,

When the whirlwinds my banner unfurl.

From cape to cape, with a bridge-like shape,

Over a torrent sea,

Sunbeam-proof, I hang like a roof,-

The mountains its columns be.

The triumphal arch through which I march

With hurricane, fire, and snow,

When the Powers of the air are chained to my chair,

Is the million-coloured bow;

The sphere-fire above its soft colours wove,

While the moist Earth was laughing below.


I am the daughter of Earth and Water,

And the nursling of the Sky;

I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;

I change, but I cannot die.

For after the rain when with never a stain

The pavilion of Heaven is bare,

And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams

Build up the blue dome of air,

I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,

And out of the caverns of rain,

Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the

I arise and unbuild it again. [tomb,



Stanzas Written in Dejection

December 1818, near Naples


The sun is warm, the sky is clear,

The waves are dancing fast and bright,

Blue isles and snowy mountains wear

The purple noon's transparent might,

The breath of the moist earth is light,

Around its unexpanded buds;

Like many a voice of one delight,

The winds, the birds, the Ocean-floods,

The City's voice itself, is soft like Solitude's.


I see the Deep's untrampled floor

With green and purple seaweeds strown;

I see the waves upon the shore

Like light dissolved in star-showers, thrown:

I sit upon the sands alone;

The lightning of the noontide Ocean

Is flashing round me, and a tone

Arises from its measured motion,

How sweet! did any heart now share in my emotion.


Alas! I have nor hope nor health,

Nor peace within nor calm around,

Nor that content surpassing wealth

The sage in meditation found,

And walked with inward glory crowned;

Nor fame, nor power, nor love, nor leisure—

Others I see whom these surround,

Smiling they live, and call life pleasure;

To me that cup has been dealt in another measure.


Yet now despair itself is mild,

Even as the winds and waters are;

I could lie down like a tired child,

And weep away the life of care

Which I have borne and yet must bear,

Till Death like Sleep might steal on me,

And I might feel in the warm air

My cheek grow cold, and hear the Sea

Breathe o'er my dying brain its last monotony.


Some might lament that I were cold,

As I, when this sweet day is gone,

Which my lost heart, too soon grown old,

Insults with this untimely moan—

They might lament,—for I am one

Whom men love not, and yet regret;

Unlike this day, which, when the sun

Shall on its stainless glory set,

Will linger, though enjoyed, like joy in memory yet.



To Jane

The keen stars were twinkling And the fair moon was rising among them, Dear Jane. The guitar was tinkling But the notes were not sweet till you sung them Again. - As the moon's soft splendour O'er the faint cold starlight of Heaven Is thrown- So your voice most tender To the strings without soul had then given Its own. The stars will awaken, Though the moon sleep a full hour later, Tonight; No leaf will be shaken While the dews of your melody scatter Delight.

Though the sound overpowers, Sing again, with your dear voice revealing A tone Of some world far from ours, Where music and moonlight and feeling Are one.



Source: Poems/Shelley (Shelley, P. (1993) Poems/Shelley, London: Everyman's Library)

 

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