The Dirge

     Old winter was gone 
In his weakness back to the mountains hoar, 
     And the spring came down
From the planet that hovers upon the shore
     Where the sea of sunlight encroaches 
On the limits of wintry night;—
 If the land, and the air, and the sea, 
     Rejoice not when spring approaches, 
  We did not rejoice in thee, 

She is still, she is cold
     On the bridal couch, 
One step to the white deathbed, 
   And one to the bier, 
And one to the charnel—and one, oh where? 
    The dark arrow fled
    In the noon. 

Ere the sun through heaven once has rolled, 
The rats in her heart
Will have made their nest, 
And the worms be alive in her golden hair, 
While the Spirit that guides the sun, 
Sits throned in his flaming chair,
   She shall sleep. 

This poem is in the public domain. The Posthumous Poems of Percy Bysshe Shelley (John and Henry L. Hunt, 1824)