Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
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CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
Percy Bysshe Shelley. 1792–1822
  
606. The Invitation
  
BEST and brightest, come away! 
Fairer far than this fair Day, 
Which, like thee to those in sorrow, 
Comes to bid a sweet good-morrow 
To the rough Year just awake         5
In its cradle on the brake. 
The brightest hour of unborn Spring, 
Through the winter wandering, 
Found, it seems, the halcyon Morn 
To hoar February born.  10
Bending from heaven, in azure mirth, 
It kiss'd the forehead of the Earth; 
And smiled upon the silent sea; 
And bade the frozen streams be free; 
And waked to music all their fountains;  15
And breathed upon the frozen mountains; 
And like a prophetess of May 
Strew'd flowers upon the barren way, 
Making the wintry world appear 
Like one on whom thou smilest, dear.  20
 
Away, away, from men and towns, 
To the wild wood and the downs— 
To the silent wilderness 
Where the soul need not repress 
Its music lest it should not find  25
An echo in another's mind, 
While the touch of Nature's art 
Harmonizes heart to heart. 
I leave this notice on my door 
For each accustom'd visitor:—  30
'I am gone into the fields 
To take what this sweet hour yields. 
Reflection, you may come to-morrow; 
Sit by the fireside with Sorrow. 
You with the unpaid bill, Despair,—  35
You, tiresome verse-reciter, Care,— 
I will pay you in the grave,— 
Death will listen to your stave. 
Expectation too, be off! 
To-day is for itself enough.  40
Hope, in pity mock not Woe 
With smiles, nor follow where I go; 
Long having lived on your sweet food, 
At length I find one moment's good 
After long pain: with all your love,  45
This you never told me of.' 
 
Radiant Sister of the Day, 
Awake! arise! and come away! 
To the wild woods and the plains; 
And the pools where winter rains  50
Image all their roof of leaves; 
Where the pine its garland weaves 
Of sapless green and ivy dun 
Round stems that never kiss the sun; 
Where the lawns and pastures be,  55
And the sandhills of the sea; 
Where the melting hoar-frost wets 
The daisy-star that never sets, 
And wind-flowers, and violets 
Which yet join not scent to hue,  60
Crown the pale year weak and new; 
When the night is left behind 
In the deep east, dun and blind, 
And the blue noon is over us, 
And the multitudinous  65
Billows murmur at our feet 
Where the earth and ocean meet, 
And all things seem only one 
In the universal sun. 
 
 
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