Verse > Anthologies > Robert Bridges, ed. > The Spirit of Man: An Anthology

Robert Bridges, ed. (1844–1930).  The Spirit of Man: An Anthology.  1916.
From The Woodman and the Nightingale

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)
  .. AND 1 so this man returned with axe and saw
At evening close from killing the tall treen,
The soul of whom by nature’s gentle law
  Was each a wood-nymph, and kept ever green
The pavement and the roof of the wild copse,        5
Chequering the sunlight of the blue serene
  With jaggèd leaves,—and from the forest tops
Singing the winds to sleep—or weeping oft
Fast showers of aëreal water drops
  Into their mother’s bosom, sweet and soft,        10
Nature’s pure tears which have no bitterness;—
Around the cradles of the birds aloft
  They spread themselves into the loveliness
Of fan-like leaves, and over pallid flowers
Hang like moist clouds:—or, where high branches kiss,        15
  Make a green space among the silent bowers,
Like a vast fane in a metropolis,
Surrounded by the columns and the towers
  All overwrought with branch-like traceries
In which there is religion—and the mute        20
Persuasion of unkindled melodies,
  Odours and gleams and murmurs …
  The world is full of Woodmen who expel
Love’s gentle Dryads from the haunts of life,
And vex the nightingales in every dell.        25
Note 1. Shelley. From The Woodman and the Nightingale. Last section of the poem: from the Oxford edition. [back]

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