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Written among the Euganean Hills North Italy

Written by: Percy Bysshe Shelley | Biography
 | Quotes (77) |
MANY a green isle needs must be 
In the deep wide sea of Misery, 
Or the mariner, worn and wan, 
Never thus could voyage on 
Day and night, and night and day, 5 
Drifting on his dreary way, 
With the solid darkness black 
Closing round his vessel's track; 
Whilst above, the sunless sky 
Big with clouds, hangs heavily, 10 
And behind the tempest fleet 
Hurries on with lightning feet, 
Riving sail, and cord, and plank, 
Till the ship has almost drank 
Death from the o'er-brimming deep, 15 
And sinks down, down, like that sleep 
When the dreamer seems to be 
Weltering through eternity; 
And the dim low line before 
Of a dark and distant shore 20 
Still recedes, as ever still 
Longing with divided will, 
But no power to seek or shun, 
He is ever drifted on 
O'er the unreposing wave, 25 
To the haven of the grave.
Ay, many flowering islands lie In the waters of wide Agony: To such a one this morn was led My bark, by soft winds piloted.
30 ¡ª'Mid the mountains Euganean I stood listening to the p?an With which the legion'd rooks did hail The Sun's uprise majestical: Gathering round with wings all hoar, 35 Through the dewy mist they soar Like gray shades, till the eastern heaven Bursts; and then¡ªas clouds of even Fleck'd with fire and azure, lie In the unfathomable sky¡ª 40 So their plumes of purple grain Starr'd with drops of golden rain Gleam above the sunlight woods, As in silent multitudes On the morning's fitful gale 45 Through the broken mist they sail; And the vapours cloven and gleaming Follow down the dark steep streaming, Till all is bright, and clear, and still Round the solitary hill.
50 Beneath is spread like a green sea The waveless plain of Lombardy, Bounded by the vaporous air, Islanded by cities fair; Underneath day's azure eyes, 55 Ocean's nursling, Venice lies,¡ª A peopled labyrinth of walls, Amphitrite's destined halls, Which her hoary sire now paves With his blue and beaming waves.
60 Lo! the sun upsprings behind, Broad, red, radiant, half-reclined On the level quivering line Of the waters crystalline; And before that chasm of light, 65 As within a furnace bright, Column, tower, and dome, and spire, Shine like obelisks of fire, Pointing with inconstant motion From the altar of dark ocean 70 To the sapphire-tinted skies; As the flames of sacrifice From the marble shrines did rise As to pierce the dome of gold Where Apollo spoke of old.
75 Sun-girt City! thou hast been Ocean's child, and then his queen; Now is come a darker day, And thou soon must be his prey, If the power that raised thee here 80 Hallow so thy watery bier.
A less drear ruin then than now, With thy conquest-branded brow Stooping to the slave of slaves From thy throne among the waves 85 Wilt thou be¡ªwhen the sea-mew Flies, as once before it flew, O'er thine isles depopulate, And all is in its ancient state, Save where many a palace-gate 90 With green sea-flowers overgrown, Like a rock of ocean's own, Topples o'er the abandon'd sea As the tides change sullenly.
The fisher on his watery way, 95 Wandering at the close of day, Will spread his sail and seize his oar Till he pass the gloomy shore, Lest thy dead should, from their sleep, Bursting o'er the starlight deep, 100 Lead a rapid masque of death O'er the waters of his path.
Noon descends around me now: 'Tis the noon of autumn's glow, When a soft and purple mist 105 Like a vaporous amethyst, Or an air-dissolv¨¨d star Mingling light and fragrance, far From the curved horizon's bound To the point of heaven's profound, 110 Fills the overflowing sky, And the plains that silent lie Underneath; the leaves unsodden Where the infant Frost has trodden With his morning-wing¨¨d feet 115 Whose bright print is gleaming yet; And the red and golden vines Piercing with their trellised lines The rough, dark-skirted wilderness; The dun and bladed grass no less, 120 Pointing from this hoary tower In the windless air; the flower Glimmering at my feet; the line Of the olive-sandall'd Apennine In the south dimly islanded; 125 And the Alps, whose snows are spread High between the clouds and sun; And of living things each one; And my spirit, which so long Darken'd this swift stream of song,¡ª 130 Interpenetrated lie By the glory of the sky; Be it love, light, harmony, Odour, or the soul of all Which from heaven like dew doth fall, 135 Or the mind which feeds this verse, Peopling the lone universe.
Noon descends, and after noon Autumn's evening meets me soon, Leading the infantine moon 140 And that one star, which to her Almost seems to minister Half the crimson light she brings From the sunset's radiant springs: And the soft dreams of the morn 145 (Which like wing¨¨d winds had borne To that silent isle, which lies 'Mid remember'd agonies, The frail bark of this lone being), Pass, to other sufferers fleeing, 150 And its ancient pilot, Pain, Sits beside the helm again.
Other flowering isles must be In the sea of Life and Agony: Other spirits float and flee 155 O'er that gulf: ev'n now, perhaps, On some rock the wild wave wraps, With folding wings they waiting sit For my bark, to pilot it To some calm and blooming cove, 160 Where for me, and those I love, May a windless bower be built, Far from passion, pain, and guilt, In a dell 'mid lawny hills Which the wild sea-murmur fills, 165 And soft sunshine, and the sound Of old forests echoing round, And the light and smell divine Of all flowers that breathe and shine.
¡ªWe may live so happy there, 170 That the Spirits of the Air Envying us, may ev'n entice To our healing paradise The polluting multitude: But their rage would be subdued 175 By that clime divine and calm, And the winds whose wings rain balm On the uplifted soul, and leaves Under which the bright sea heaves; While each breathless interval 180 In their whisperings musical The inspir¨¨d soul supplies With its own deep melodies; And the Love which heals all strife Circling, like the breath of life, 185 All things in that sweet abode With its own mild brotherhood:¡ª They, not it, would change; and soon Every sprite beneath the moon Would repent its envy vain, 190 And the Earth grow young again!



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