To Jane: The Recollection
Published by Mrs. Shelley, "Poetical Works", 1839, 2nd edition. See the Editor's prefatory note to the preceding.
1. Now the last day of many days, All beautiful and bright as thou, The loveliest and the last, is dead, Rise, Memory, and write its praise! Up,—to thy wonted work! come, trace The epitaph of glory fled,— For now the Earth has changed its face, A frown is on the Heaven's brow.
2. We wandered to the Pine Forest That skirts the Ocean's foam, The lightest wind was in its nest, The tempest in its home. The whispering waves were half asleep, The clouds were gone to play, And on the bosom of the deep The smile of Heaven lay; It seemed as if the hour were one Sent from beyond the skies, Which scattered from above the sun A light of Paradise.
3. We paused amid the pines that stood The giants of the waste, Tortured by storms to shapes as rude As serpents interlaced; And, soothed by every azure breath, That under Heaven is blown, To harmonies and hues beneath, As tender as its own, Now all the tree-tops lay asleep, Like green waves on the sea, As still as in the silent deep The ocean woods may be.
4. How calm it was!—the silence there By such a chain was bound That even the busy woodpecker Made stiller by her sound The inviolable quietness; The breath of peace we drew With its soft motion made not less The calm that round us grew. There seemed from the remotest seat Of the white mountain waste, To the soft flower beneath our feet, A magic circle traced,— A spirit interfused around A thrilling, silent life,— To momentary peace it bound Our mortal nature's strife; And still I felt the centre of The magic circle there Was one fair form that filled with love The lifeless atmosphere.
5. We paused beside the pools that lie Under the forest bough,— Each seemed as 'twere a little sky Gulfed in a world below; A firmament of purple light Which in the dark earth lay, More boundless than the depth of night, And purer than the day— In which the lovely forests grew, As in the upper air, More perfect both in shape and hue Than any spreading there. There lay the glade and neighbouring lawn, And through the dark green wood The white sun twinkling like the dawn Out of a speckled cloud. Sweet views which in our world above Can never well be seen, Were imaged by the water's love Of that fair forest green. And all was interfused beneath With an Elysian glow, An atmosphere without a breath, A softer day below. Like one beloved the scene had lent To the dark water's breast, Its every leaf and lineament With more than truth expressed; Until an envious wind crept by, Like an unwelcome thought, Which from the mind's too faithful eye Blots one dear image out. Though thou art ever fair and kind, The forests ever green, Less oft is peace in Shelley's mind, Than calm in waters, seen.
NOTES: _6 fled edition. 1824; dead Trelawny manuscript, 1839, 2nd edition. _10 Ocean's]Ocean 1839, 2nd edition. _24 Interlaced, 1839; interlaced; cj. A.C. Bradley. _28 own; 1839 own, cj. A.C. Bradley. _42 white Trelawny manuscript; wide 1839, 2nd edition _87 Shelley's Trelawny manuscript; S—'s 1839, 2nd edition.