Percy Bysshe Shelley

(1792-1822 / Horsham / England)

Fragments Written For Hellas


I.
Fairest of the Destinies,
Disarray thy dazzling eyes:
Keener far thy lightnings are
Than the winged [bolts] thou bearest,
And the smile thou wearest
Wraps thee as a star
Is wrapped in light.

II.
Could Arethuse to her forsaken urn
From Alpheus and the bitter Doris run,
Or could the morning shafts of purest light
Again into the quivers of the Sun
Be gathered—could one thought from its wild flight
Return into the temple of the brain
Without a change, without a stain,--
Could aught that is, ever again
Be what it once has ceased to be,
Greece might again be free!

III.
A star has fallen upon the earth
Mid the benighted nations,
A quenchless atom of immortal light,
A living spark of Night,
A cresset shaken from the constellations.
Swifter than the thunder fell
To the heart of Earth, the well
Where its pulses flow and beat,
And unextinct in that cold source
Burns, and on ... course
Guides the sphere which is its prison,
Like an angelic spirit pent
In a form of mortal birth,
Till, as a spirit half-arisen
Shatters its charnel, it has rent,
In the rapture of its mirth,
The thin and painted garment of the Earth,
Ruining its chaos—a fierce breath
Consuming all its forms of living death.

Submitted: Thursday, April 01, 2010

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