Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)
    ARETHUSA arose
    From her couch of snows
In the Acroceraunian mountains:
    From cloud and from crag,
    With many a jag,        5
Shepherding her bright fountains.
    She leapt down the rocks,
    With her rainbow locks
Streaming among the streams;—
    Her steps paved with green        10
    The downward ravine
Which slopes to the western gleams;
    And gliding and springing
    She went, ever singing,
In murmurs as soft as sleep:        15
    The earth seemed to love her,
    And heaven smiled above her,
As she lingered towards the deep.
    Then Alpheus bold,
    On his glacier cold,        20
With his trident the mountains strook,
    And opened a chasm
    In the rocks;—with the spasm
All Erymanthus shook.
    And the black south wind        25
    It concealed behind
The urns of the silent snow,
    And earthquake and thunder
    Did rend in sunder
The bars of the springs below.        30
    The beard and the hair
    Of the River-god were
Seen through the torrent’s sweep,
    As he followed the light
    Of the fleet nymph’s flight        35
To the brink of the Dorian deep.
    “Oh, save me! Oh, guide me!
    And bid the deep hide me,
For he grasps me now by the hair!”
    The loud Ocean heard,        40
    To its blue depth stirred,
And divided at her prayer:
    And under the water
    The Earth’s white daughter
Fled like a sunny beam;        45
    Behind her descended
    Her billows, unblended
With the brackish Dorian stream;—
    Like a gloomy stain
    On the emerald main        50
Alpheus rushed behind,—
    As an eagle pursuing
    A dove to its ruin
Down the streams of the cloudy wind.
    Under the bowers        55
    Where the Ocean Powers
Sit on their pearlèd thrones,
    Through the coral woods
    Of the weltering floods,
Over heaps of unvalued stones;        60
    Through the dim beams
    Which amid the streams
Weave a network of colored light;
    And under the caves,
    Where the shadowy waves        65
Are as green as the forest’s night;—
    Outspeeding the shark,
    And the sword-fish dark,
Under the ocean foam,
    And up through the rifts        70
    Of the mountain clifts,
They past to their Dorian home.
    And now from their fountains
    In Enna’s mountains,
Down one vale where the morning basks,        75
    Like friends once parted
    Grown single-hearted,
They ply their watery tasks.
    At sunrise they leap
    From their cradles steep        80
In the cave of the shelving hill;
    At noontide they flow
    Through the woods below
And the meadows of Asphodel;
    And at night they sleep        85
    In the rocking deep
Beneath the Ortygian shore;—
    Like spirits that lie
    In the azure sky
When they love but live no more.        90

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