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www.poetrysoup.com - Create a card from your words, quote, or poetry
To a Lady with a Guitar
ARIEL to Miranda:¡ªTake
This slave of music for the sake
Of him who is the slave of thee;
And teach it all the harmony
In which thou canst and only thou 5
Make the delighted spirit glow
Till joy denies itself again
And too intense is turn'd to pain.
For by permission and command
Of thine own Prince Ferdinand 10
Poor Ariel sends this silent token
Of more than ever can be spoken;
Your guardian spirit Ariel who
From life to life must still pursue
Your happiness for thus alone 15
Can Ariel ever find his own.
From Prospero's enchanted cell
As the mighty verses tell
To the throne of Naples he
Lit you o'er the trackless sea 20
Flitting on your prow before
Like a living meteor.
When you die the silent Moon
In her interlunar swoon
Is not sadder in her cell 25
Than deserted Ariel:¡ª
When you live again on earth
Like an unseen Star of birth
Ariel guides you o'er the sea
Of life from your nativity:¡ª 30
Many changes have been run
Since Ferdinand and you begun
Your course of love and Ariel still
Has track'd your steps and served your will.
Now in humbler happier lot 35
This is all remember'd not;
And now alas the poor Sprite is
Imprison'd for some fault of his
In a body like a grave¡ª
From you he only dares to crave 40
For his service and his sorrow
A smile to-day a song to-morrow.

The artist who this viol wrought
To echo all harmonious thought
Fell'd a tree while on the steep 45
The woods were in their winter sleep
Rock'd in that repose divine
On the wind-swept Apennine;
And dreaming some of autumn past
And some of spring approaching fast 50
And some of April buds and showers
And some of songs in July bowers
And all of love; and so this tree ¡ª
Oh that such our death may be!¡ª
Died in sleep and felt no pain 55
To live in happier form again:
From which beneath heaven's fairest star
The artist wrought this loved guitar;
And taught it justly to reply
To all who question skilfully 60
In language gentle as thine own;
Whispering in enamour'd tone
Sweet oracles of woods and dells
And summer winds in sylvan cells.
For it had learnt all harmonies 65
Of the plains and of the skies
Of the forests and the mountains
And the many-voic¨¨d fountains;
The clearest echoes of the hills
The softest notes of falling rills 70
The melodies of birds and bees
The murmuring of summer seas
And pattering rain and breathing dew
And airs of evening; and it knew
That seldom-heard mysterious sound 75
Which driven on its diurnal round
As it floats through boundless day
Our world enkindles on its way:¡ª
All this it knows but will not tell
To those who cannot question well 80
The spirit that inhabits it:
It talks according to the wit
Of its companions; and no more
Is heard than has been felt before
By those who tempt it to betray 85
These secrets of an elder day.
But sweetly as its answers will
Flatter hands of perfect skill
It keeps its highest holiest tone
For one beloved Friend alone. 90
Written by: Percy Bysshe Shelley