Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. V. Nature
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume V. Nature.  1904.
II. Light: Day: Night
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)
From “Queen Mab

IF solitude hath ever led thy steps
To the wild ocean’s echoing shore,
  And thou hast lingered there
  Until the sun’s broad orb
Seemed resting on the burnished wave,        5
  Thou must have marked the lines
Of purple gold that motionless
    Hung o’er the sinking sphere:
  Thou must have marked the billowy clouds,
  Edged with intolerable radiancy,        10
    Towering like rocks of jet
    Crowned with a diamond wreath.
    And yet there is a moment,
    When the sun’s highest point
Peeps like a star o’er ocean’s western edge,        15
When those far clouds of feathery gold,
  Shaded with deepest purple, gleam
  Like islands on a dark-blue sea;
Then has thy fancy soared above the earth,
    And furled its wearied wing        20
    Within the Fairy’s fane.
    Yet not the golden islands
    Gleaming in yon flood of light,
      Nor the feathery curtains
    Stretching o’er the sun’s bright couch,        25
    Nor the burnished ocean’s waves
      Paving that gorgeous dome,
    So fair, so wonderful a sight
As Mab’s ethereal palace could afford.
Yet likest evening’s vault, that fairy Hall!        30
  Heaven, low resting on the wave, it spread
      Its floors of flashing light,
      Its vast and azure dome,
      Its fertile golden islands
      Floating on a silver sea;        35
Whilst suns their mingling beamings darted
Through clouds of circumambient darkness,
  And pearly battlements around
  Looked o’er the immense of heaven.

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