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The Recollection

Written by: Percy Bysshe Shelley | Biography
 | Quotes (77) |
NOW the last day of many days, 
All beautiful and bright as thou, 
The loveliest and the last, is dead: 
Rise, Memory, and write its praise! 
Up¡ªto thy wonted work! come, trace 5 
The epitaph of glory fled, 
For now the earth has changed its face, 
A frown is on the heaven's brow. 

We wander'd to the Pine Forest 
That skirts the ocean's foam. 10 
The lightest wind was in its nest, 
The tempest in its home; 
The whispering waves were half asleep, 
The clouds were gone to play, 
And on the bosom of the deep 15 
The smile of heaven lay: 
It seem'd as if the hour were one 
Sent from beyond the skies 
Which scatter'd from above the sun 
A light of Paradise! 20 

We paused amid the pines that stood 
The giants of the waste, 
Tortured by storms to shapes as rude 
As serpents interlaced,¡ª 
And soothed by every azure breath 25 
That under heaven is blown, 
To harmonies and hues beneath, 
As tender as its own. 
Now all the tree-tops lay asleep 
Like green waves on the sea, 30 
As still as in the silent deep 
The ocean-woods may be. 

How calm it was!¡ªThe silence there 
By such a chain was bound, 
That even the busy woodpecker 35 
Made stiller by her sound 
The inviolable quietness; 
The breath of peace we drew 
With its soft motion made not less 
The calm that round us grew. 40 
There seem'd, from the remotest seat 
Of the wide mountain waste 
To the soft flower beneath our feet, 
A magic circle traced,¡ª 
A spirit interfused around 45 
A thrilling silent life; 
To momentary peace it bound 
Our mortal nature's strife;¡ª 
And still I felt the centre of 
The magic circle there 50 
Was one fair form that fill'd with love 
The lifeless atmosphere. 

We paused beside the pools that lie 
Under the forest bough; 
Each seem'd as 'twere a little sky 55 
Gulf'd in a world below¡ª 
A firmament of purple light 
Which in the dark earth lay, 
More boundless than the depth of night 
And purer than the day¡ª 60 
In which the lovely forests grew 
As in the upper air, 
More perfect both in shape and hue 
Than any spreading there. 
There lay the glade and neighbouring lawn, 65 
And through the dark-green wood 
The white sun twinkling like the dawn 
Out of a speckled cloud. 
Sweet views which in our world above 
Can never well be seen 70 
Were imaged in the water's love 
Of that fair forest green; 
And all was interfused beneath 
With an Elysian glow, 
An atmosphere without a breath, 75 
A softer day below. 
Like one beloved, the scene had lent 
To the dark water's breast 
Its every leaf and lineament 
With more than truth exprest; 80 
Until an envious wind crept by, 
Like an unwelcome thought 
Which from the mind's too faithful eye 
Blots one dear image out. 
¡ªThough thou art ever fair and kind, 85 
The forests ever green, 
Less oft is peace in Shelley's mind 
Than calm in waters seen!