To William Shelley
Published by Mrs. Shelley (1, 5, 6), "Poetical Works", 1839, 1st edition; in full, "Poetical Works", 1839, 2nd edition. A transcript is extant in Mrs. Shelley's hand.
1. The billows on the beach are leaping around it, The bark is weak and frail, The sea looks black, and the clouds that bound it Darkly strew the gale. Come with me, thou delightful child, Come with me, though the wave is wild, And the winds are loose, we must not stay, Or the slaves of the law may rend thee away.
2. They have taken thy brother and sister dear, They have made them unfit for thee; They have withered the smile and dried the tear Which should have been sacred to me. To a blighting faith and a cause of crime They have bound them slaves in youthly prime, And they will curse my name and thee Because we fearless are and free.
3. Come thou, beloved as thou art; Another sleepeth still Near thy sweet mother's anxious heart, Which thou with joy shalt fill, With fairest smiles of wonder thrown On that which is indeed our own, And which in distant lands will be The dearest playmate unto thee.
4. Fear not the tyrants will rule for ever, Or the priests of the evil faith; They stand on the brink of that raging river, Whose waves they have tainted with death. It is fed from the depth of a thousand dells, Around them it foams and rages and swells; And their swords and their sceptres I floating see, Like wrecks on the surge of eternity.
5. Rest, rest, and shriek not, thou gentle child! The rocking of the boat thou fearest, And the cold spray and the clamour wild?— There, sit between us two, thou dearest— Me and thy mother—well we know The storm at which thou tremblest so, With all its dark and hungry graves, Less cruel than the savage slaves Who hunt us o'er these sheltering waves.
6. This hour will in thy memory Be a dream of days forgotten long. We soon shall dwell by the azure sea Of serene and golden Italy, Or Greece, the Mother of the free; And I will teach thine infant tongue To call upon those heroes old In their own language, and will mould Thy growing spirit in the flame Of Grecian lore, that by such name A patriot's birthright thou mayst claim!
NOTES: _1 on the beach omitted 1839, 1st edition. _8 of the law 1839, 1st edition; of law 1839, 2nd edition. _14 prime transcript; time editions 1839. _16 fearless are editions 1839; are fearless transcript. _20 shalt transcript; wilt editions 1839. _25-_32 Fear...eternity omitted, transcript. See "Rosalind and Helen", lines 894-901. _33 and transcript; omitted editions 1839. _41 us transcript, 1839, 1st edition; thee 1839, 2nd edition. _42 will in transcript, 1839, 2nd edition; will sometime in 1839, 1st edition. _43 long transcript; omitted editions 1839. _48 those transcript, 1839, 1st edition; their 1839, 2nd edition.