Wednesday, November 3, 2010

percy bysshe shelley

though i'm not a student of english literature i sometimes fancy that i were. so many publications which have only been lately released are so attractive. while these publications are often quite tempting to read, i find myself within an episode in my life where i still wish to explore (or am simply drawn) towards authors of the past. though i am currently a slave to history and all its mystery, i find myself sneaking a copy of 'british poetry and prose' amongst my history books. i'm utterly infatuated with the romantic poets. keats, byron, shelley... their tragic and untimely ends seem only to add to the weight of their poetry.
i won't provide an overview of his life or an analysis of the following poem. i simply wish to share with fellow dreamers a poem from an old book over which i pondered late one night.

To Night

Swiftly walk o’er the western wave,    
Spirit of Night! Out of the misty eastern cave, 
Where, all the long and lone daylight, 
Thou wovest dreams of joy and fear, 
Which make thee terrible and dear,
  Swift be thy flight!     
 Wrap thy form in a mantle gray,   
Blind with thine hair the eyes of Day; 
Kiss her until she be wearied out, 
Then wander o’er city, and sea, and land, 
Touching all with thine opiate wand—   
Come, long-sought!     
When I arose and saw the dawn,   
I sighed for thee; 
When the light rode high, and the dew was gone, 
And noon lay heavy on flower and tree, 
And the weary Day turned to his rest, 
Lingering like an unloved guest,   
I sighed for thee.      
Thy brother Death came, and cried,   
Wouldst thou me? Thy sweet child Sleep, the filmy-eyed, 
Murmured like a noontide bee, 
hall I nestle near thy side? 
ouldst thou me?—And I replied,   
No, not thee!     
Death will come when thou art dead,   
Soon, too soon— Sleep will come when thou art fled; 
Of neither would I ask the boon I ask of thee, belov├Ęd Night— 
Swift be thine approaching flight,   
Come soon, soon!

percy bysshe shelley would die tragically after keats but before byron under, what some say, mysterious circumstances. he died while at sea along with two others. he was one month shy of thirty.

The Funeral of Shelley
by Louis Edouard Fournier

images 1, 2

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