Percy Bysshe Shelley

(1792-1822 / Horsham / England)

Despair


And canst thou mock mine agony, thus calm
In cloudless radiance, Queen of silver night?
Can you, ye flow'rets, spread your perfumed balm
Mid pearly gems of dew that shine so bright?
And you wild winds, thus can you sleep so still
Whilst throbs the tempest of my breast so high?
Can the fierce night-fiends rest on yonder hill,
And, in the eternal mansions of the sky,
Can the directors of the storm in powerless silence lie?

Hark! I hear music on the zephyr’s wing,
Louder it floats along the unruffled sky;
Some fairy sure has touched the viewless string--
Now faint in distant air the murmurs die.
Awhile it stills the tide of agony.
Now--now it loftier swells--again stern woe
Arises with the awakening melody.
Again fierce torments, such as demons know,
In bitterer, feller tide, on this torn bosom flow.

Arise ye sightless spirits of the storm,
Ye unseen minstrels of the aereal song,
Pour the fierce tide around this lonely form,
And roll the tempest's wildest swell along.
Dart the red lightning, wing the forked flash,
Pour from thy cloud-formed hills the thunder’s roar;
Arouse the whirlwind--and let ocean dash
In fiercest tumult on the rocking shore,--
Destroy this life or let earth's fabric be no more.

Yes! every tie that links me here is dead;
Mysterious Fate, thy mandate I obey,
Since hope and peace, and joy, for aye are fled,
I come, terrific power, I come away.
Then o'er this ruined soul let spirits of Hell,
In triumph, laughing wildly, mock its pain;
And though with direst pangs mine heart-strings swell,
I’ll echo back their deadly yells again,
Cursing the power that ne’er made aught in vain.

Submitted: Thursday, April 01, 2010

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