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“A baby's or an idiot's brow, and made Their nests in it. The old anatomies Sate hatching their bare broods under the shade
“Of demon wings, and laughed from their dead To re-assume the delegated power, [eyes Arrayed in which those worms did monarchize,
6 Who made this earth their charnel. Others more Humble, like falcons, sat upon the fist Of common men, and round their heads did soar;
“Or like small gnats and flies, as thick as mist On evening marshes, thronged about the brow Of lawyers, statesmen, priest, and theorist;
“ And others, like discoloured flakes of snow
“Which they extinguished ; and, like tears, they
A veil to those from whose faint lids they rained In drops of sorrow.
I became aware
“Of whence those forms proceeded which thus
stained The track in which we moved. After brief space, From every form the beauty slowly waned ;
“ From every
firmest limb and fairest face
The strength and freshness fell like dust, and left The action and the shape without the grace
“Of life. The marble brow of youth was cleft With care; and in those eyes where once hope Desire, like a lioness bereft
“Of her last cub, glared ere it died; each one Of that great crowd sent forth incessantly These shadows, numerous as the dead leaves blown
“ In autumn evening from a poplar tree, Each like himself and like each other were At first; but some distorted seemed to be
“ Obscure clouds, moulded by the casual air;
“As the sun shapes the clouds ; thus on the way Mask after mask fell from the countenance And form of all; and long before the day
“ Was old, the joy which waked like heaven's The sleepers in the oblivious valley, died; [glance And some grew weary of the ghastly dance,
"And fell, as I have fallen, by the way-side ;Those soonest from whose forms most shadows
past, And least of strength and beauty did abide. “ Then, what is life ? I cried.”—
HERE, my dear friend, is a new book for you ;
Free love has this, different from gold and clay, That to divide is not to take away.
* These fragments do not properly belong to the poems of 1822. They are gleanings from Shelley's manuscript books and papers; preserved not only because they are beautiful in themselves, but as affording indications of his feelings and virtues.
Like ocean, which the general north wind breaks
If I were one whom the loud world held wise,
It is a sweet thing friendship, a dear balm,
And, with the light and odour of its bloom,
among dark frowns—a gentle tone
If I had but a friend! why I have three,
mind To call my friends all who are wise and kind, And these, Heaven knows, at best are very few, But none can ever be more dear than you. Why should they be? my muse has lost her wings, Or like a dying swan who soars and sings I should describe you in heroic style, But as it is—are you not void of guile? A lovely soul, formed to be blessed and bless ; A well of sealed and secret happiness ; A lute, which those whom love has taught to play Make music on, to cheer the roughest day?
AND who feels discord now or sorrow ?
Love is the universe to-day-
Darkening Life's labyrinthine way.