Verse > Anthologies > The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse > 72. From ‘Adonais’
Nicholson & Lee, eds.  The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse. 1917.
72. From ‘Adonais’
By Percy Bysshe Shelley  (1792–1822)
  HE is made one with Nature: there is heard
  His voice in all her music, from the moan
  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,        5
  Spreading itself where’er that Power may move
  Which has withdrawn his being to its own;
  Which wields the world with never-wearied love,
Sustains it from beneath, and kindles it above.
    He is a portion of the loveliness       10
  Which once he made more lovely: he doth bear
  His part, while the one Spirit’s plastic stress
  Sweeps through the dull dense world, compelling there,
  All new successions to the forms they wear;
  Torturing th’ unwilling dross that checks its flight       15
  To its own likeness, as each mass may bear;
  And bursting in its beauty and its might
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;       20
  Like stars to their appointed height they climb
  And death is a low mist which cannot blot
  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       25
  Shall be its earthly doom, the dead live there
And move like winds of light on dark and stormy air.
    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,       30
  Stains the white radiance of Eternity,
  Until Death tramples it to fragments.—Die,
  If thou wouldst be with that which thou dost seek!
  Follow where all is fled!—Rome’s azure sky,
  Flowers, ruins, statues, music, words, are weak       35
The glory they transfuse with fitting truth to speak.
    Why linger, why turn back, why shrink, my Heart?
  Thy hopes are gone before: from all things here
  They have departed; thou shouldst now depart!
  A light is passed from the revolving year,       40
  And man, and woman; and what still is dear
  Attracts to crush, repels to make thee wither.
  The soft sky smiles,—the low wind whispers near:
  ’Tis Adonais calls! oh, hasten thither,
No more let Life divide what Death can join together.       45
    That Light whose smile kindles the Universe,
  That Beauty in which all things work and move,
  That Benediction which the eclipsing Curse
  Of birth can quench not, that sustaining Love
  Which through the web of being blindly wove       50
  By man and beast and earth and air and sea,
  Burns bright or dim, as each are mirrors of
  The fire for which all thirst; now beams on me,
Consuming the last clouds of cold mortality.
    The breath whose might I have invoked in song       55
  Descends on me; my spirit’s bark is driven,
  Far from the shore, far from the trembling throng
  Whose sails were never to the tempest given;
  The massy earth and spherèd skies are riven!
  I am borne darkly, fearfully, afar;       60
  Whilst, burning through the inmost veil of Heaven,
  The soul of Adonais, like a star,
Beacons from the abode where the Eternal are.



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