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Their unremaining gods and they
Thou art but the mind's first chamber,
Like weak insects in a cave,
But the portal of the grave,
Will make thy best glories seem
Peace! the abyss is wreathed with scorn
What is heaven ? and what are ye
What are suns and spheres which flee
Of which ye are but a part?
What is heaven? a globe of dew,
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,
CHAMELEONS feed on light and air;
Poets' food is love and fame;
Poets could but find the same
Would they ever change their hue
As the light chameleons do,
Twenty times a day?
Poets are on this cold earth,
As chameleons might be,
In a cave beneath the sea.
Where love is not, poets do;
Fame is love disguised; if few
That poets range.
Yet dare not stain with wealth or power
A poet's free and heavenly mind.
Any food but beams and wind,
ü. 1 on, Shelley, 1820 || in, Harvard MS.
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,
The wingèd seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Her clarion o’er the dreaming earth, and fill
Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
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
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
Of vapors, from whose solid atmosphere
Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
Beside a pumice isle in Baiæ's bay,
All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
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;
The impulse of thy strength, only less free
The comrade of thy wanderings over heaven,
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 :