1 Now the last day of many days
2 All beautiful and bright as thou,
3 The loveliest and the last, is dead:
4 Rise, Memory, and write its praise!
5 Up---to thy wonted work! come, trace
6 The epitaph of glory fled,
7 For now the earth has changed its face,
8 A frown is on the heaven's brow.
9 We wander'd to the Pine Forest
10 That skirts the Ocean's foam;
11 The lightest wind was in its nest,
12 The tempest in its home.
13 The whispering waves were half asleep,
14 The clouds were gone to play,
15 And on the bosom of the deep
16 The smile of heaven lay;
17 It seem'd as if the hour were one
18 Sent from beyond the skies
19 Which scatter'd from above the sun
20 A light of Paradise!
21 We paused amid the pines that stood
22 The giants of the waste,
23 Tortured by storms to shapes as rude
24 As serpents interlaced,---
25 And soothed by every azure breath
26 That under heaven is blown,
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27 To harmonies and hues beneath,
28 As tender as its own:
29 Now all the tree-tops lay asleep
30 Like green waves on the sea,
31 As still as in the silent deep
32 The ocean-woods may be.
33 How calm it was!---The silence there
34 By such a chain was bound,
35 That even the busy woodpecker
36 Made stiller with her sound
37 The inviolable quietness;
38 The breath of peace we drew
39 With its soft motion made not less
40 The calm that round us grew.
41 There seem'd, from the remotest seat
42 Of the white mountain waste
43 To the soft flower beneath our feet,
44 A magic circle traced,---
45 A spirit interfused around,
46 A thrilling silent life;
47 To momentary peace it bound
48 Our mortal nature's strife;---
49 And still I felt the centre of
50 The magic circle there
51 Was one fair form that fill'd with love
52 The lifeless atmosphere.
53 We paused beside the pools that lie
54 Under the forest bough;
55 Each seem'd as 'twere a little sky
56 Gulf'd in a world below;
57 A firmament of purple light
58 Which in the dark earth lay,
59 More boundless than the depth of night
60 And purer than the day---
61 In which the lovely forests grew
62 As in the upper air,
63 More perfect both in shape and hue
64 Than any spreading there.
65 There lay the glade and neighbouring lawn,
66 And through the dark-green wood
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67 The white sun twinkling like the dawn
68 Out of a speckled cloud.
69 Sweet views which in our world above
70 Can never well be seen
71 Were imaged in the water's love
72 Of that fair forest green:
73 And all was interfused beneath
74 With an Elysian glow,
75 An atmosphere without a breath,
76 A softer day below.
77 Like one beloved, the scene had lent
78 To the dark water's breast
79 Its every leaf and lineament
80 With more than truth exprest;
81 Until an envious wind crept by,
82 Like an unwelcome thought
83 Which from the mind's too faithful eye
84 Blots one dear image out.
85 ---Though thou art ever fair and kind,
86 The forests ever green,
87 Less oft is peace in Shelley's mind
88 Than calm in waters seen!
[from Miscellanies and Collections, 1750-1900: The Golden Treasury (1891-1897) ]