Stanzas Written in Dejection, Near Naples

- 1792-1822
                                I
  The sun is warm, the sky is clear,
    The waves are dancing fast and bright,
  Blue isles and snowy mountains wear
    The purple noon's transparent might,
    The breath of the moist earth is light,
  Around its unexpanded buds;
    Like many a voice of one delight,
  The winds, the birds, the ocean floods, 
The City's voice itself, is soft like Solitude's.

                                II
  I see the Deep's untrampled floor
    With green and purple seaweeds strown;
  I see the waves upon the shore,
    Like light dissolved in star-showers, thrown:
    I sit upon the sands alone,—
  The lightning of the noontide ocean
    Is flashing round me, and a tone
  Arises from its measured motion, 
How sweet! did any heart now share in my emotion.

                                III
  Alas! I have nor hope nor health,
    Nor peace within nor calm around, 
  Nor that content surpassing wealth
    The sage in mediation found,
    And walked with inward glory crowned—
  Nor fame, nor power, nor love, nor leisure.
    Others I see whom these surround—
  Smiling they live, and call life pleasure;—
to me that cup has been dealt in another measure.

                                IV
  Yet now despair itself is mild, 
    Even as the winds and waters are;
  I could lie down like a tired child,
    And weep away the life of care
    Which I have borne and yet must bear, 
  Till death like sleep might steal on me, 
    And I might feel in the warm air
  My cheek grow cold, and hear the sea
Breathe o'er my dying brain its last monotony.

                                V
  Some might lament that I were cold,
    As I, when this sweet day is gone, 
  Which my lost heart, too soon grown old, 
    Insults with this untimely moan;
    They might lament—for I am one
  Whom men love not,—and yet regret, 
    Unlike this day, which, when the sun
  Shall on its stainless glory set, 
Will linger, though enjoyed, like joy in memory yet.

More by Percy Bysshe Shelley

To the Moon [fragment]

   Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing Heaven, and gazing on the earth,
   Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth,--
And ever changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?

Adonais, 49-52, [Go thou to Rome]

                  49

    Go thou to Rome,—at once the Paradise,
    The grave, the city, and the wilderness;
    And where its wrecks like shattered mountains rise,
    And flowering weeds, and fragrant copses dress
    The bones of Desolation's nakedness
    Pass, till the spirit of the spot shall lead
    Thy footsteps to a slope of green access
    Where, like an infant's smile, over the dead
A light of laughing flowers along the grass is spread;

                  50
				  
    And gray walls moulder round, on which dull Time
    Feeds, like slow fire upon a hoary brand;
    And one keen pyramid with wedge sublime,
    Pavilioning the dust of him who planned
    This refuge for his memory, doth stand
    Like flame transformed to marble; and beneath,
    A field is spread, on which a newer band
    Have pitched in Heaven's smile their camp of death,
Welcoming him we lose with scarce extinguished breath.

                  51
				  
    Here pause: these graves are all too young as yet
    To have outgrown the sorrow which consigned
    Its charge to each; and if the seal is set,
    Here, on one fountain of a mourning mind,
    Break it not thou! too surely shalt thou find
    Thine own well full, if thou returnest home,
    Of tears and gall. From the world's bitter wind
    Seek shelter in the shadow of the tomb.
What Adonais is, why fear we to become?

                  52
				  
    The One remains, the many change and pass;
    Heaven's light forever shines, Earth's shadows fly;
    Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,
    Stains the white radiance of Eternity,
    Until Death tramples it to fragments.—Die,
    If thou wouldst be with that which thou dost seek!
    Follow where all is fled!—Rome's azure sky,
    Flowers, ruins, statues, music, words, are weak
The glory they transfuse with fitting truth to speak.

On the Medusa of Leonardo Da Vinci in the Florentine Gallery

It lieth, gazing on the midnight sky, 
  Upon the cloudy mountain peak supine;  
Below, far lands are seen tremblingly; 
  Its horror and its beauty are divine. 
Upon its lips and eyelids seems to lie 
  Loveliness like a shadow, from which shrine,  
Fiery and lurid, struggling underneath,  
The agonies of anguish and of death. 
 
Yet it is less the horror than the grace  
  Which turns the gazer's spirit into stone;
Whereon the lineaments of that dead face  
  Are graven, till the characters be grown  
Into itself, and thought no more can trace; 
  'Tis the melodious hue of beauty thrown  
Athwart the darkness and the glare of pain,
Which humanize and harmonize the strain. 
 
And from its head as from one body grow, 
  As [   ] grass out of a watery rock, 
Hairs which are vipers, and they curl and flow  
  And their long tangles in each other lock,
And with unending involutions shew  
  Their mailed radiance, as it were to mock  
The torture and the death within, and saw  
The solid air with many a ragged jaw. 
 
And from a stone beside, a poisonous eft
  Peeps idly into those Gorgonian eyes; 
Whilst in the air a ghastly bat, bereft  
  Of sense, has flitted with a mad surprise  
Out of the cave this hideous light had cleft, 
  And he comes hastening like a moth that hies
After a taper; and the midnight sky  
Flares, a light more dread than obscurity. 
 
'Tis the tempestuous loveliness of terror;  
  For from the serpents gleams a brazen glare  
Kindled by that inextricable error,
  Which makes a thrilling vapour of the air  
Become a [ ] and ever-shifting mirror  
  Of all the beauty and the terror there— 
A woman's countenance, with serpent locks, 
Gazing in death on heaven from those wet rocks.