Percy Bysshe Shelley: To the Nile

by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Passage of the Apennines

To the Nile

'Found by Mr. Townshend Meyer among the papers of Leigh Hunt, [and] published in the "St. James's Magazine" for March, 1876.' (Mr. H. Buxton Forman, C.B.; "Poetical Works of P. B. S.", Library Edition, 1876, volume 3 page 410.) First included among Shelley's poetical works in Mr. Forman's Library Edition, where a facsimile of the manuscript is given. Composed February 4, 1818. See "Complete Works of John Keats", edition H. Buxton Forman, Glasgow, 1901, volume 4 page 76.

Month after month the gathered rains descend
Drenching yon secret Aethiopian dells,
And from the desert's ice-girt pinnacles
Where Frost and Heat in strange embraces blend
On Atlas, fields of moist snow half depend.
Girt there with blasts and meteors Tempest dwells
By Nile's aereal urn, with rapid spells
Urging those waters to their mighty end.
O'er Egypt's land of Memory floods are level
And they are thine, O Nile—and well thou knowest
That soul-sustaining airs and blasts of evil
And fruits and poisons spring where'er thou flowest.
Beware, O Man—for knowledge must to thee,
Like the great flood to Egypt, ever be.