Percy Bysshe Shelley: Charles I Scene 4

Updated May 6, 2020 | Infoplease Staff
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
Scene 3: The Star Chamber
Scene 5:

Scene 4:

Hampden, Pym, Cromwell, his daughter, and young Sir Harry Vane.

England, farewell! thou, who hast been my cradle,
Shalt never be my dungeon or my grave!
I held what I inherited in thee
As pawn for that inheritance of freedom
Which thou hast sold for thy despoiler's smile:
How can I call thee England, or my country?—
Does the wind hold?
The vanes sit steady
Upon the Abbey towers. The silver lightnings
Of the evening star, spite of the city's smoke,
Tell that the north wind reigns in the upper air.
Mark too that flock[1] of fleecy-winged clouds
Sailing athwart St. Margaret's.
Hail, fleet herald
Of tempest! that rude[2] pilot who shall guide
Hearts free as his, to realms as pure as thee,
Beyond the shot of tyranny,
Beyond the webs of that swoln spider...
Beyond the curses, calumnies, and [lies?]
Of atheist priests![3] ... And thou
Fair star, whose beam lies on the wide Atlantic,
Athwart its zones of tempest and of calm,
Bright as the path to a beloved home
Oh, light us to the isles of the evening land!
Like floating Edens cradled in the glimmer
Of sunset, through the distant mist of years
Touched[4] by departing hope, they gleam! lone regions,
Where Power's poor dupes and victims yet have never
Propitiated the savage fear of kings
With purest blood of noblest hearts; whose dew
Is yet unstained with tears of those who wake
To weep each day the wrongs on which it dawns;
Whose sacred silent air owns yet no echo
Of formal blasphemies; nor impious rites
Wrest man's free worship, from the God who loves,
To the poor[5] worm who envies us His love!
Receive, thou young ... of Paradise.
These exiles from the old and sinful world!
This glorious clime, this firmament, whose lights
Dart mitigated influence through their[6] veil
Of pale blue atmosphere; whose tears keep green
The pavement of this moist all-feeding earth;
This vaporous horizon, whose dim round
Is bastioned by the circumfluous sea,
Repelling invasion from the sacred towers,
Presses upon me like a dungeon's grate,
A low dark roof, a damp and narrow wall.
The boundless[7] universe
Becomes a cell too narrow for the soul
That owns no[8] master; while the loathliest ward
Of this wide prison, England, is a nest
Of cradling[9] peace built on the mountain tops,—
To which the eagle spirits of the free,
Which range through heaven and earth, and scorn the storm
Of time, and gaze upon the light of truth,
Return to brood on thoughts that cannot die
And cannot be repelled.[10]
Like eaglets floating in the heaven of time,
They soar above their quarry, and shall stoop
Through palaces and temples thunderproof.[11]

flock 1824; fleet 1870.


rude 1870; wild 1824.


Beyond...priests 1870; omitted 1824.


Touched 1870; Tinged 1824.


To the poor 1870; Towards the 1824.


their 1870; the 1824.


boundless 1870; mighty 1824.


owns no 1824; owns a 1870. ward 1870; spot 1824.


cradling 1870; cradled 1824.


Return...repelled 1870; Return to brood over the [ ] thoughts That cannot die, and may not he repelled 1824.


Like...thunderproof 1870; omitted 1824.

Sources +