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And the jessamine faint, and the sweet tuberose, —
The sweetest flower for scent that blows,—

And all rare blossoms from every clime,
Grew in that garden in perfect prime.

And from this undefiled Paradise,
The flowers (as an infant's awakening eyes
Smile on its mother, whose singing sweet
Can first lull, and at last must awaken it),

When Heaven's blithe winds had unfolded them,
As mine-lamps enkindle a hidden gem,
Shone smiling to Heaven, and every one
Shared joy in the light of the gentle sun;

For each one was interpenetrated

With the light and the odor its neighbor shed,Like young lovers, whom youth and love make dear, Wrapped and filled by their mutual atmosphere.

But the sensitive plant which could give small fruit Of the love which it felt from the leaf to the root, Received more than all, it loved more than ever, Where none wanted but it, could belong to the giver,

For the sensitive plant has no bright flower;
Radiance and odor are not its dower;

It loves, even like Love, its deep heart is full,
It desires what it has not, -- the beautiful.

The light winds which from unsustaining wings
Shed the music of many murmurings;
The beams which dart from many a star
Of the flowers whose hues they bear afar;

The plumèd insects, swift and free,
Like golden boats on a sunny sea,
Laden with light and odor, which pass
Over the gleam of the living grass;

The unseen clouds of the dew, which lie
Like fire in the flowers till the sun rides high,
Then wander like spirits among the spheres,
Each cloud faint with the fragrance it bears;

The quivering vapors of dim noontide,
Which, like a sea, o'er the warm earth glide,
In which every sound and odor and beam
Move, as reeds in a single stream;

Each and all, like ministering angels, were
For the sensitive plant sweet joy to bear,
Whilst the lagging hours of the day went by,
Like windless clouds o'er a tender sky.

And when evening descended from Heaven above,
And the earth was all rest and the air was all love,
And delight, though less bright, was far more deep,
And the day's veil fell from the world of sleep, —

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There was a power in this sweet place,
An Eve in this Eden, a ruling grace,

Which to the flowers, did they waken or dream,
Was as God is to the starry scheme.

A lady, the wonder of her kind,

Whose form was upborne by a lovely mind,
Which, dilating, had moulded her mien and motion
Like a sea-flower unfolded beneath the ocean,

Tended the garden from morn to even;
And the meteors of that sublunar heaven,
Like the lamps of the air when night walks forth,
Laughed round her footsteps up from the earth.

She had no companion of mortal race,

But her tremulous breath, and her flushing face
Told, whilst the morn kissed the sleep from her eyes,
That her dreams were less slumber than paradise.

As if some bright spirit, for her sweet sake,
Had deserted heaven while the stars were awake;
As if yet around her he lingering were,
Though the veil of daylight concealed him from her.

Her step seemed to pity the grass it prest;
You might hear, by the heaving of her breast,
That the coming and going of the wind
Brought pleasure there, and left passion behind.

And wherever her airy footstep trod,

Her trailing hair from the grassy sod

Erased its light vestige with shadowy sweep,
Like a sunny storm o'er the dark-green deep.

I doubt not the flowers of that garden sweet
Rejoiced in the sound of her gentle feet;
I doubt not they felt the spirit that came
From her glowing fingers through all their frame.

She sprinkled bright water from the stream
On those that were faint with the sunny beam,
And out of the cups of the heavy flowers
She emptied the rain of the thunder-showers.

She lifted their heads with her tender hands, And sustained them with rods and osier bands; If the flowers had been her own infants she Could never have nursed them more tenderly.

And all killing insects and gnawing worms,
And things of obscene and unlovely forms,
She bore in a basket of Indian woof
Into the rough woods far aloof.

In a basket, of grasses and wild-flowers full,
The freshest her gentle hands could pull,
For the poor banished insects, whose intent,
Although they did ill, was innocent.

And many an antenatal tomb,

Where butterflies dream of the life to come,
She left clinging ground the smooth and dark
Edge of the odorous cedar bark.

This fairest creature from earliest spring
Thus moved through the garden, ministering

All the sweet season of summer-tide,

And, ere the first leaf looked brown, she died.


Three days the flowers of the garden fair
Like stars, when the moon is awakened, were,

Or the waves of Baiæ, ere luminous

She floats up through the smoke of Vesuvius.

And on the fourth the sensitive plant
Felt the sound of the funeral chant ;

And the steps of the bearers, heavy and slow,
And the sobs of the mourners, deep and low.

The dark grass, and the flowers among the grass,
Were bright with tears as the crowd did pass ;
From their sighs the wind caught a mournful tone,
And sate in the pines, and gave groan for groan.

The garden, once fair, became cold and foul,
Like the corpse of her who had been its soul;
Which at first was lovely as if in sleep,
Then slowly changed, till it grew a heap
To make men tremble who never weep.

Swift summer into the autumn flowed,
And frost in the mist of the morning rode,
Though the noon-day sun looked clear and bright,
Mocking the spoil of the secret night.

The rose-leaves, like flakes of crimson snow,
Paved the turf and the moss below;

The lilies were drooping and white and wan
Like the head and the skin of a dying man.

Then the rain came down, and the broken stalks
Were bent and tangled across the walks;
And the leafless network of parasite bowers
Massed into ruin, and all sweet flowers.

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Between the time of the wind and the snow,

All loathliest weeds began to grow,

Whose coarse leaves were splashed with many a speck, Like the water-snake's belly, and the toad's back;

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And plants at whose names the verse feels loath,
Filled the place with a monstrous undergrowth,-
Prickly and pulpous, and blistering and blue,

Livid and starred with a lurid dew.

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The sensitive plant, like one forbid,

Wept, and the tears within each lid

Of its folded leaves, which together grew,
Were changed to a blight of frozen glue.

For the leaves soon fell, and the branches soon
By the heavy axe of the blast were hewn;
The sap shrank to the root through every pore,
As blood to a heart that will beat no more.

For Winter came; the wind was his whip;
One choppy finger was on his lip;

He had torn the cataracts from the hills,
And they clanked at his girdle like manacles.

His breath was a chain which, without a sound,
The earth and the air and the water bound;
He came fiercely driven in his chariot-throne
By the tenfold blasts of the Arctic zone.

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Then the weeds, which were forms of living death,
Fled from the frost to the earth beneath;
Their decay, and sudden flight from frost,
Was but like the vanishing of a ghost.

And under the roots of the sensitive plant
The moles and the dormice died for want;
The birds dropped stiff from the frozen air,

And were caught in the branches naked and bare.

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When winter had gone, and spring came back,

The sensitive plant was a leafless wreck;

But the mandrakes and toad-stools and docks and darnels
Rose like the dead from their ruined charnels.

The Cenci,

In Pisa Shelley's best poems were written, Hellas, The Witch of Atlas, Adonais, The Hymn to Intellectual Beauty, and nearly all the shorter poems of which I have spoken. The last thing he ever wrote was The Triumph of Time, which was left unfinished, and was published by his wife in as perfect a shape as she could bring it from his scattered papers.

In the spring of 1822 Shelley left Pisa and took a house on the west coast of Italy, near the village of Lerici. He was very fond of the sea, and had ordered a yacht built, in which he and a warm friend, Captain Williams, were going to spend many a day on the blue Italian waters close at hand. On the sixteenth of May the yacht arrived. Shelley was as pleased with it as a boy with a long-wished-for toy. They made several excursions in the boat, which was named "Don Juan," from Byron's poem, and finally came down to Leghorn in her. After a few days' stay here, Shelley and Williams started back in the boat for the town of Spezzia, on the Gulf of Spezzia, not far from their home.

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