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Shelley is at all events cosmopolitan : his fame may in the long run be rather promoted than impeded by its association with literatures and mythologies which have become imperishable constituents of human culture, and with regions of the earth so renowned as to be in a manner familiar to those who have never beheld them. This much may be affirmed, that Shelley's hopes of ultimate enrolment among the select band of the supreme poets of the world rest upon the same foundation as the hopes of the world itself. Enlightenment and the enthusiasm of humanity will always insure him readers: prevalent barbarism or materialism would extinguish him more speedily and effectually than any other writer.

November 12, 1879.






EARTH, ocean, air, beloved brotherhood!
If our great Mother has imbued my
With aught of natural piety to feel
Your love, and recompense the boon with mine;
If dewy morn, and odorous noon, and even,
With sunset and its gorgeous ministers,
And solemn midnight's tingling silentness;
If autumn's hollow sighs in the sere wood,
And winter robing with pure snow and crowns
Of starry ice the gray grass and bare boughs;
If spring's voluptuous pantings when she breathes
Her first sweet kisses, have been dear to me;
If no bright bird, insect, or gentle beast

I consciously have injured, but still loved
And cherished these my kindred; then forgive
This boast, beloved brethren, and withdraw

No portion of your wonted favour now!

Mother of this unfathomable world!
Favour my solemn song, for I have loved
Thee ever, and thee only; I have watched
Thy shadow, and the darkness of thy steps,
And my heart ever gazes on the depth
Of thy deep mysteries. I have made my bed
In charnels and on coffins, where black death
Keeps record of the trophies won from thee,
Hoping to still these obstinate questionings
Of thee and thine, by forcing some lone ghost
Thy messenger, to render up the tale

Of what we are. In lone and silent hours,

When night makes a weird sound of its own stillness, Like an inspired and desperate alchymist

Staking his very life on some dark hope,

Have I mixed awful talk and asking looks
With my most innocent love, until strange tears
Uniting with those breathless kisses, made

Such magic as compels the charmèd night

To render up thy charge: . . . and, though ne'er yet Thou hast unveiled thy inmost sanctuary,

Enough from incommunicable dream,

And twilight phantasms, and deep noonday thought,
Has shone within me, that serenely now

And moveless, as a long-forgotten lyre
Suspended in the solitary dome

Of some mysterious and deserted fane,
I wait thy breath, Great Parent, that my strain
May modulate with murmurs of the air,

And motions of the forests and the sea,
And voice of living beings, and woven hymns
Of night and day, and the deep heart of man.

There was a Poet whose untimely tomb No human hands with pious reverence reared, But the charmed eddies of autumnal winds Built o'er his mouldering bones a pyramid Of mouldering leaves in the waste wilderness :A lovely youth, no mourning maiden decked With weeping flowers, or votive cypress wreath, The lone couch of his everlasting sleep:Gentle, and brave, and generous, no lorn bard Breathed o'er his dark fate one melodious sigh: He lived, he died, he sung, in solitude.

Strangers have wept to hear his passionate notes,
And virgins, as unknown he past, have pined
And wasted for fond love of his wild eyes.
The fire of those soft orbs has ceased to burn,
And Silence, too enamoured of that voice,
Locks its mute music in her rugged cell.

Stupendous columns, and wild images

Of more than man, where marble dæmons watch
The Zodiac's brazen mystery, and dead men

Hang their mute thoughts on the mute walls around,

He lingered, poring on memorials

Of the world's youth, through the long burning day
Gazed on those speechless shapes, nor, when the moon
Filled the mysterious halls with floating shades
Suspended he that task, but ever gazed
And gazed, till meaning on his vacant mind
Flashed like strong inspiration, and he saw
The thrilling secrets of the birth of time.

Meanwhile an Arab maiden brought his food,
Her daily portion, from her father's tent,
And spread her matting for his couch, and stole
From duties and repose to tend his steps:
Enamoured, yet not daring for deep awe

To speak her love :—and watched his nightly sleep,
Sleepless herself, to gaze upon his lips

Parted in slumber, whence the regular breath

Of innocent dreams arose: then, when red morn
Made paler the pale moon, to her cold home
Wildered, and wan, and panting, she returned.

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