Their unremaining gods and they
Like a river roll away;
Thou remainest such alway.


Thou art but the mind's first chamber,
Round which its young fancies clamber,

Like weak insects in a cave,
Lighted up by stalactites;

But the portal of the grave,
Where a world of new delights

Will make thy best glories seem
But a dim and noonday gleam
From the shadow of a dream!


Peace! the abyss is wreathed with scorn
At your presumption, atom-born!

What is heaven ? and what are ye
Who its brief expanse inherit?

What are suns and spheres which flee
With the instinct of that Spirit

Of which ye are but a part?
Drops which Nature's mighty heart
Drives through thinnest veins. Depart!

What is heaven? a globe of dew,
Filling in the morning new

Some eyed flower whose young leaves waken On an unimagined world ;

Constellated suns unshaken, Orbits measureless, are furled

In that frail and fading sphere,

With ten millions gathered there,
To tremble, gleam, and disappear.


CHAMELEONS feed on light and air;

Poets' food is love and fame;
If in this wide world of care

Poets could but find the same
With as little toil as they,

Would they ever change their hue

As the light chameleons do,
Suiting it to every ray

Twenty times a day?

Poets are on this cold earth,

As chameleons might be,
Hidden from their early birth

In a cave beneath the sea.
Where light is, chameleons change ;

Where love is not, poets do;

Fame is love disguised; if few
Find either, never think it strange

That poets range.

Yet dare not stain with wealth or power

A poet's free and heavenly mind.
If bright chameleons should devour

Any food but beams and wind,
They would grow as earthly soon
An Exhortation. Published with Prometheus Unbound, 1820.
Dated in the Harvard MS., Pisa, April, 1820.

ü. 1 on, Shelley, 1820 || in, Harvard MS.

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O WILD West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being, Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

The wingèd seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow

Her clarion o’er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odors plain and hill:

Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and preserver; hear, oh, hear!


Thou on whose stream, mid the steep sky's com:


Ode to the West Wind. Published with Prometheus Unbound, 1820. Composed in the wood near Florence, in the fall.

Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are

shed, Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and


Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
On the blue surface of thine airy surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head

Of some fierce Mænad, even from the dim

verge Of the horizon to the zenith's height, The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge

Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,
Vaulted with all thy congregated might

Of vapors, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: oh, hear!


Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams,

Beside a pumice isle in Baiæ's bay,
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave's intenser day,

All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
So sweet the sense faints picturing them! thou
For whose path the Atlantic's level powers

Cleave themselves into chasms, while far be

low The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear The sapless foliage of the ocean know

Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear, And tremble and despoil themselves: oh, hear!


If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share

The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O uncontrollable! If even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be

The comrade of thy wanderings over heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skyey speed
Scarce seemed a vision; I would ne'er have striven

As thus with thee in



my sore need. Oh, lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud ! I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed !

A heavy weight of hours has chained and

bowed One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.


Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is :
What if my leaves are falling like its own!
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

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