The Death of Shelley

Fit winding-sheet for thee
  Was the upheaving eternal sea,
Fit dirge the tempest’s slave-alarming roll
  For yokeless as the waves alway
  Thy thoughts went sounding forth, as they
Were marshalling to the trumpet of the universal soul.
  Yet tell me, spirit bright,
Did nature sorrow not for thee?
  That day, veiled not the sun his light
  When rolling over Italy?
Paled not the stricken moon, that night,
  When gazing down upon the doomful sea?

Yet tell me, for from under them
Was never reft away before a richer, purer gem
Than was thy being, wherein love did dwell
With joy and natural piety as well,—
  Inraying it with a deep life,
  So sweetly deep, so wildly bright,
Such as no words may tell!
And never in their day and night
Did ruin, with the beautiful at strife,
Compass before so horrible a spite!
Never trod down at once so much of musical delight.

. . . . .
  Whom the gods love die young;
Flowers wither where rank weeds still thrive apace;
Nor is the battle always to the strong,
  Nor to the swift for ever sure the race.
Yet if the odours of the flowers remain,
Are they not, even to regret,
  A sweet consolatory gain?
Nor vainly forth was the lost battle set,
  Nor the race urged in vain,
Whence flow inspiriting examples yet.
Yet, poetry and passion’s darling son!
Though thou didst walk the world as one
Proscribed by stars inimical to mankind,
  While mitred persecution, dread
And deadly, raged in mortal hate behind,
With ignorance, her dull slave abhorred;
  And these, in mercy as they said,
With many a madly mystic word,
And vengeful, hot, God-wounding glance upthrown,
Implored the heavens to thunder down
  Their Christian wrath on thy devoted head;

  And yet, O good and kind!
This was for thee the meet memorial crown
By the great Spirit of all good designed,
That men, to nobler motions born,
And more to a large charity inclined,
Should well reverse their bigot fathers’scorn,
  And, yearning o’er thy story,
Shall learn therefrom how gnomelike are spirits freedom-blind,
  And live glorying in the glory
  Of thy love-illumined mind.

All then was well—yea, very well;
Though brief, too brief, here on the earth thy stay.
Thy name is with us for a strengthening spell
To all who, banding against wrong’s bad brood,
Would do the unwilling world some good,
  Nor idly pass away,
  A vapour, nothing more—a cloudlet grey
By every wind transformed and driven
A dull and wasting stain in the blue dome of heaven!
  And though the heart and brain be food
  For hungry death, where erst the sisterhood
Of thy bright dreams (a seraph choir) did dwell,
What light around us these remaining fling!
  For lovelier splendours never fell
  In star-showers from Urania’s wing,
  And freedom in her golden age
Shall constellate her spheres with glories from thy page.

  But hark! Yet from her ghostly cell
Built on the dubious brink of the Unknown,
  Cowled Superstition’s sullen bell
  Tolls thee to her deepest hell!
  Blind Fury! She alone
  Can darkly dare to think
A soul like thine, though in its earthly shell
  Bedimmed by error,
  Should at her bidding sink
  Lossward-down, in penal terror!
Enough! Wherever love may soar
Beyond that mound which mortals blench to see—
That last low mound on time’s change-beaten shore—
There is thy spirit now, fire-wing’d and free,
And there a shining dweller shall it be
  For evermore

 

Rate this poem:(0.00 / 0 votes)
16 Views

Charles Harpur

Charles Harpur was an Australian poet. more…

All Charles Harpur poems | Charles Harpur Books

FAVORITE (0 fans)

Translation

Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • Chinese - Simplified 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • Chinese - Traditional 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Spanish Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • Japanese 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Portuguese Português (Portuguese)
  • German Deutsch (German)
  • Arabic العربية (Arabic)
  • French Français (French)
  • Russian Русский (Russian)
  • Kannada ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • Korean 한국어 (Korean)
  • Hebrew עברית (Hebrew)
  • Ukrainian Український (Ukrainian)
  • Urdu اردو (Urdu)
  • Hungarian Magyar (Hungarian)
  • Hindi मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesian Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italian Italiano (Italian)
  • Tamil தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Turkish Türkçe (Turkish)
  • Telugu తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • Thai ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Vietnamese Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Czech Čeština (Czech)
  • Polish Polski (Polish)
  • Indonesian Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Romanian Românește (Romanian)
  • Dutch Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Greek Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latin Latinum (Latin)
  • Swedish Svenska (Swedish)
  • Danish Dansk (Danish)
  • Finnish Suomi (Finnish)
  • Persian فارسی (Persian)
  • Yiddish ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • Armenian հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norwegian Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English English (English)

Discuss this Charles Harpur poem with the community:

Citation

Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:

Style:MLAChicagoAPA

"The Death of Shelley" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 21 Nov. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/5183/the-death-of-shelley>.

We need you!

Help us build the largest poetry community and poems collection on the web!

Our favorite collection of

Famous Poets

»

Thanks for your vote! We truly appreciate your support.