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

Robert Bridges, ed. (1844–1930).  The Spirit of Man: An Anthology.  1916.
From Adonais

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)
  .. PEACE, 1 peace! he is not dead, he doth not sleep—
  He hath awakened from the dream of life—
  ’Tis we, who lost in stormy visions, keep
  With phantoms an unprofitable strife,
  And in mad trance, strike with our spirit’s knife        5
  Invulnerable nothings.—We decay
  Like corpses in a charnel; fear and grief
  Convulse us and consume us day by day,
And cold hopes swarm like worms within our living clay.
  He has outsoared the shadow of our night;        10
  Envy and calumny and hate and pain,
  And that unrest which men miscall delight,
  Can touch him not and torture not again;
  From the contagion of the world’s slow stain
  He is secure, and now can never mourn        15
  A heart grown cold, a head grown gray in vain;
  Nor, when the spirit’s self has ceased to burn,
With sparkless ashes load an unlamented urn …
  He is made one with Nature: there is heard
  His voice in all her music, from the moan        20
  Of thunder to the song of night’s sweet bird;
  He is a presence to be felt and known
  In darkness and in light, from herb and stone,
  Spreading itself where’er that Power may move
  Which has withdrawn his being to its own;        25
  Which wields the world with never-wearied love,
Sustains it from beneath, and kindles it above.
  He is a portion of the loveliness
  Which once he made more lovely: he doth bear
  His part, while the one Spirit’s plastic stress        30
  Sweeps through the dull dense world, compelling there
  All new successions to the forms they wear;
  Torturing th’ unwilling dross that checks its flight
  To its own likeness, as each mass may bear;
  And bursting in its beauty and its might        35
From trees and beasts and men into the Heaven’s light.
  The splendours of the firmament of time
  May be eclipsed, but are extinguished not;
  Like stars to their appointed height they climb,
  And death is a low mist which cannot blot        40
  The brightness it may veil. When lofty thought
  Lifts a young heart above its mortal lair,
  And love and life contend in it, for what
  Shall be its earthly doom, the dead live there
And move like winds of light on dark and stormy air …        45
  The One remains, the many change and pass;
  Heaven’s light forever shines, Earth’s shadows fly;
  Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass,
  Stains the white radiance of Eternity,
  Until Death tramples it to fragments.—Die,        50
  If thou wouldst be with that which thou dost seek!
  Follow where all is fled!—…
Note 1. Shelley. From Adonais, stanzas 39, 40, 42, 43, 44, 52. [back]

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