by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Fragment of a Sonnet

To Harriet

Published, 5-13, by Forman, "Poetical Works of P. B. S.", 1876; 58-69, by Shelley, "Notes to Queen Mab", 1813; and entire (from the Esdaile manuscript book) by Dowden, "Life of Shelley", 1887; dated 1812.

 It is not blasphemy to hope that Heaven More perfectly will give those nameless joys Which throb within the pulses of the blood And sweeten all that bitterness which Earth Infuses in the heaven-born soul. O thou  Whose dear love gleamed upon the gloomy path Which this lone spirit travelled, drear and cold, Yet swiftly leading to those awful limits Which mark the bounds of Time and of the space When Time shall be no more; wilt thou not turn  Those spirit-beaming eyes and look on me, Until I be assured that Earth is Heaven, And Heaven is Earth?-will not thy glowing cheek, Glowing with soft suffusion, rest on mine, And breathe magnetic sweetness through the frame  Of my corporeal nature, through the soul Now knit with these fine fibres? I would give The longest and the happiest day that fate Has marked on my existence but to feel ONE soul-reviving kiss...O thou most dear,  'Tis an assurance that this Earth is Heaven, And Heaven the flower of that untainted seed Which springeth here beneath such love as ours. Harriet! let death all mortal ties dissolve, But ours shall not be mortal! The cold hand  Of Time may chill the love of earthly minds Half frozen now; the frigid intercourse Of common souls lives but a summer's day; It dies, where it arose, upon this earth. But ours! oh, 'tis the stretch of Fancy's hope  To portray its continuance as now, Warm, tranquil, spirit-healing; nor when age Has tempered these wild ecstasies, and given A soberer tinge to the luxurious glow Which blazing on devotion's pinnacle  Makes virtuous passion supersede the power Of reason; nor when life's aestival sun To deeper manhood shall have ripened me; Nor when some years have added judgement's store To all thy woman sweetness, all the fire  Which throbs in thine enthusiast heart; not then Shall holy friendship (for what other name May love like ours assume?), not even then Shall Custom so corrupt, or the cold forms Of this desolate world so harden us,  As when we think of the dear love that binds Our souls in soft communion, while we know Each other's thoughts and feelings, can we say Unblushingly a heartless compliment, Praise, hate, or love with the unthinking world,  Or dare to cut the unrelaxing nerve That knits our love to virtue. Can those eyes, Beaming with mildest radiance on my heart To purify its purity, e'er bend To soothe its vice or consecrate its fears?  Never, thou second Self! Is confidence So vain in virtue that I learn to doubt The mirror even of Truth? Dark flood of Time, Roll as it listeth thee; I measure not By month or moments thy ambiguous course.  Another may stand by me on thy brink,, And watch the bubble whirled beyond his ken, Which pauses at my feet. The sense of love, The thirst for action, and the impassioned thought Prolong my being; if I wake no more,  My life more actual living will contain Than some gray veteran's of the world's cold school, Whose listless hours unprofitably roll By one enthusiast feeling unredeemed, Virtue and Love! unbending Fortitude,  Freedom, Devotedness and Purity! That life my Spirit consecrates to you.