Verse > Anthologies > Francis T. Palgrave, ed. > The Golden Treasury
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Francis T. Palgrave, ed. (1824–1897). The Golden Treasury.  1875.
 
P. B. Shelley
 
CCLX. The Recollection
 
NOW the last day of many days, 
All beautiful and bright as thou, 
The loveliest and the last, is dead: 
Rise, Memory, and write its praise! 
Up—to thy wonted work! come, trace         5
The epitaph of glory fled, 
For now the earth has changed its face, 
A frown is on the heaven's brow. 
  
We wander'd to the Pine Forest 
  That skirts the ocean's foam.  10
The lightest wind was in its nest, 
  The tempest in its home; 
The whispering waves were half asleep, 
  The clouds were gone to play, 
And on the bosom of the deep  15
  The smile of heaven lay: 
It seem'd as if the hour were one 
  Sent from beyond the skies 
Which scatter'd from above the sun 
  A light of Paradise!  20
  
We paused amid the pines that stood 
  The giants of the waste, 
Tortured by storms to shapes as rude 
  As serpents interlaced,— 
And soothed by every azure breath  25
  That under heaven is blown, 
To harmonies and hues beneath, 
  As tender as its own. 
Now all the tree-tops lay asleep 
  Like green waves on the sea,  30
As still as in the silent deep 
  The ocean-woods may be. 
  
How calm it was!—The silence there 
  By such a chain was bound, 
That even the busy woodpecker  35
  Made stiller by her sound 
The inviolable quietness; 
  The breath of peace we drew 
With its soft motion made not less 
  The calm that round us grew.  40
There seem'd, from the remotest seat 
  Of the wide mountain waste 
To the soft flower beneath our feet, 
  A magic circle traced,— 
A spirit interfused around  45
  A thrilling silent life; 
To momentary peace it bound 
  Our mortal nature's strife;— 
And still I felt the centre of 
  The magic circle there  50
Was one fair form that fill'd with love 
  The lifeless atmosphere. 
  
We paused beside the pools that lie 
  Under the forest bough; 
Each seem'd as 'twere a little sky  55
  Gulf'd in a world below— 
A firmament of purple light 
  Which in the dark earth lay, 
More boundless than the depth of night 
  And purer than the day—  60
In which the lovely forests grew 
  As in the upper air, 
More perfect both in shape and hue 
  Than any spreading there. 
There lay the glade and neighbouring lawn,  65
  And through the dark-green wood 
The white sun twinkling like the dawn 
  Out of a speckled cloud. 
Sweet views which in our world above 
  Can never well be seen  70
Were imaged in the water's love 
  Of that fair forest green; 
And all was interfused beneath 
  With an Elysian glow, 
An atmosphere without a breath,  75
  A softer day below. 
Like one beloved, the scene had lent 
  To the dark water's breast 
Its every leaf and lineament 
  With more than truth exprest;  80
Until an envious wind crept by, 
  Like an unwelcome thought 
Which from the mind's too faithful eye 
  Blots one dear image out. 
—Though thou art ever fair and kind,  85
  The forests ever green, 
Less oft is peace in Shelley's mind 
  Than calm in waters seen! 
 
 
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