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An Exhortation

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Written by Percy Bysshe Shelley

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 Chameleons feed on light and air: 
Poets' food is love and fame: 
If in this wide world of care 
Poets could but find the same 
With as little toil as they, 
Would they ever change their hue 
As the light chameleons do, 
Suiting it to every ray 
Twenty times a day? 

Poets are on this cold earth, 
As chameleons might be, 
Hidden from their early birth 
In a cave beneath the sea; 
Where light is, chameleons change: 
Where love is not, poets do: 
Fame is love disguised: if few 
Find either, never think it strange 
That poets range.
Yet dare not stain with wealth or power A poet's free and heavenly mind: If bright chameleons should devour Any food but beams and wind, They would grow as earthly soon As their brother lizards are.
Children of a sunnier star, Spirits from beyond the moon, O, refuse the boon!

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