Shelley, Percy Bysshe, 1792-1822
THE RECOLLECTION



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) ]

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