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Ode to the West Wind

Written by: Percy Bysshe Shelley | Biography
 | Quotes (77) |
O WILD West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being¡ª 
Thou from whose unseen presence the leaves dead 
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing, 
Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red, 
Pestilence-stricken multitudes!¡ªO thou 5 
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed 
The wing¨¨d seeds, where they lie cold and low, 
Each like a corpse within its grave, until 
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow 
Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill 10 
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air) 
With living hues and odours plain and hill¡ª 
Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere¡ª 
Destroyer and Preserver¡ªhear, O hear! 

Thou on whose stream, 'mid the steep sky's commotion, 15 
Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are shed, 
Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean, 
Angels of rain and lightning! they are spread 
On the blue surface of thine airy surge, 
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head 20 
Of some fierce M?nad, ev'n from the dim verge 
Of the horizon to the zenith's height¡ª 
The locks of the approaching storm.
Thou dirge Of the dying year, to which this closing night Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre, 25 Vaulted with all thy congregated might Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst:¡ªO hear! Thou who didst waken from his summer-dreams The blue Mediterranean, where he lay, 30 Lull'd by the coil of his crystalline streams, Beside a pumice isle in Bai?'s bay, And saw in sleep old palaces and towers Quivering within the wave's intenser day, All overgrown with azure moss, and flowers 35 So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou For whose path the Atlantic's level powers Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear The sapless foliage of the ocean, know 40 Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear And tremble and despoil themselves:¡ªO hear! If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear; If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee; A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share 45 The impulse of thy strength, only less free Than thou, O uncontrollable!¡ªif even I were as in my boyhood, and could be The comrade of thy wanderings over heaven, As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed 50 Scarce seem'd a vision,¡ªI would ne'er have striven As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
O lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud! I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed! A heavy weight of hours has chain'd and bow'd 55 One too like thee¡ªtameless, and swift, and proud.
Make me thy lyre, ev'n as the forest is: What if my leaves are falling like its own! The tumult of thy mighty harmonies Will take from both a deep autumnal tone, 60 Sweet though in sadness.
Be thou, Spirit fierce, My spirit! be thou me, impetuous one! Drive my dead thoughts over the universe, Like wither'd leaves, to quicken a new birth; And, by the incantation of this verse, 65 Scatter, as from an unextinguish'd hearth Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind! Be through my lips to unawaken'd earth The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind, If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind? 70



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