Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822) was a major English poet whose life and work exemplified English Romanticism. Forever linked with Lord Byron and John Keats, Shelley was an untamed free spirit always rebelling against authority in his search for justice, freedom, and ideal love. American literary critic Harold Bloom described him as “a superb craftsman, a lyric poet without rival, and surely one of the most advanced skeptical intellects ever to write a poem.”
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix forever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by law divine
In one another’s being mingle;
Why not I with thine?
See the mountains kiss high heaven
And the waves clasp one another
No sister flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea;
What are all these kissings worth
If thou kiss not me?
The Indian Serenade
In the first sweet sleep or night,
When the winds are breathing low,
And the stars are shining bright.
I arise from dreams of thee,
And a spirit in my feet
Has led me-who knows how?
To thy chamber-window, sweet!
The wandering airs they faint
On the dark, the silent stream,
The champak odors fail
Like sweet thoughts in a dream;
The nightingale’s complaint,
It dies upon her heart,
As I must die on thine,
O, beloved as thou art!
O, lift me from the grass!
I die, I faint, I fail!
Let thy love in kisses rain
On my lips and eyelids pale.
My cheek is cold and white, alas!
My heart beats loud and fast:
Oh! press it close to thine again,
Where it will break at last!
WHEN passion’s trance is overpast,
If tenderness and truth could last,
Or live, whilst all wild feelings keep
Some mortal slumber, dark and deep,
I should not weep, I should not weep!
It were enough to feel, to see,
Thy soft eyes gazing tenderly.
And dream the rest and burn and be
The secret food of fires unseen,
Couldst thou but be as thou hast been.
After the slumber of the year
The woodland violets reappear;
All things revive in field or grove,
And sky and sea, but two, which move
And form all others, life and love.