Percy Bysshe Shelley

(1792-1822 / Horsham / England)

Song. Cold, Cold Is The Blast When December Is Howling


Cold, cold is the blast when December is howling,
Cold are the damps on a dying man's brow,--
Stern are the seas when the wild waves are rolling,
And sad is the grave where a loved one lies low;
But colder is scorn from the being who loved thee,
More stern is the sneer from the friend who has proved thee,
More sad are the tears when their sorrows have moved thee,
Which mixed with groans anguish and wild madness flow--

And ah! poor — has felt all this horror,
Full long the fallen victim contended with fate:
‘Till a destitute outcast abandoned to sorrow,
She sought her babe's food at her ruiner's gate--
Another had charmed the remorseless betrayer,
He turned laughing aside from her moans and her prayer,
She said nothing, but wringing the wet from her hair,
Crossed the dark mountain side, though the hour it was late.
'Twas on the wild height of the dark Penmanmawr,
That the form of the wasted -- reclined;
She shrieked to the ravens that croaked from afar,
And she sighed to the gusts of the wild sweeping wind.--
I call not yon rocks where the thunder peals rattle,
I call not yon clouds where the elements battle,
But thee, cruel -- I call thee unkind!'--

Then she wreathed in her hair the wild flowers of the mountain,
And deliriously laughing, a garland entwined,
She bedewed it with tears, then she hung o'er the fountain,
And leaving it, cast it a prey to the wind.
'Ah! go,' she exclaimed, 'when the tempest is yelling,
'Tis unkind to be cast on the sea that is swelling,
But I left, a pitiless outcast, my dwelling,
My garments are torn, so they say is my mind--'

Not long lived --, but over her grave
Waved the desolate form of a storm-blasted yew,
Around it no demons or ghosts dare to rave,
But spirits of peace steep her slumbers in dew.
Then stay thy swift steps mid the dark mountain heather,
Though chill blow the wind and severe is the weather,
For perfidy, traveller! cannot bereave her,
Of the tears, to the tombs of the innocent due.--

JULY, 1810.

Submitted: Thursday, April 01, 2010

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