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History of Vegetarianism - Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)


[Composed March, 1814. Published in Hogg's "Life of Shelley", 1858.]

Thy dewy looks sink in my breast;
Thy gentle words stir poison there;
Thou hast disturbed the only rest
That was the portion of despair!
Subdued to Duty's hard control, _5
I could have borne my wayward lot:
The chains that bind this ruined soul
Had cankered then--but crushed it not.



[Composed at Bracknell, April, 1814. Published with "Alastor", 1816.]

Away! the moor is dark beneath the moon,
Rapid clouds have drank the last pale beam of even:
Away! the gathering winds will call the darkness soon,
And profoundest midnight shroud the serene lights of heaven.

Pause not! The time is past! Every voice cries, Away! _5
Tempt not with one last tear thy friend's ungentle mood:
Thy lover's eye, so glazed and cold, dares not entreat thy stay:
Duty and dereliction guide thee back to solitude.

Away, away! to thy sad and silent home;
Pour bitter tears on its desolated hearth; _10
Watch the dim shades as like ghosts they go and come,
And complicate strange webs of melancholy mirth.

The leaves of wasted autumn woods shall float around thine head:
The blooms of dewy spring shall gleam beneath thy feet:
But thy soul or this world must fade in the frost that binds the dead, _15
Ere midnight's frown and morning's smile, ere thou and peace may meet.

The cloud shadows of midnight possess their own repose,
For the weary winds are silent, or the moon is in the deep:
Some respite to its turbulence unresting ocean knows;
Whatever moves, or toils, or grieves, hath its appointed sleep. _20

Thou in the grave shalt rest--yet till the phantoms flee
Which that house and heath and garden made dear to thee erewhile,
Thy remembrance, and repentance, and deep musings are not free
From the music of two voices and the light of one sweet smile.

_6 tear 1816; glance 1839.



[Composed May, 1814. Published (from the Esdaile manuscript) by Dowden,
"Life of Shelley", 1887.]

Thy look of love has power to calm
The stormiest passion of my soul;
Thy gentle words are drops of balm
In life's too bitter bowl;
No grief is mine, but that alone _5
These choicest blessings I have known.

Harriet! if all who long to live
In the warm sunshine of thine eye,
That price beyond all pain must give,--
Beneath thy scorn to die; _10
Then hear thy chosen own too late
His heart most worthy of thy hate.

Be thou, then, one among mankind
Whose heart is harder not for state,
Thou only virtuous, gentle, kind, _15
Amid a world of hate;
And by a slight endurance seal
A fellow-being's lasting weal.

For pale with anguish is his cheek,
His breath comes fast, his eyes are dim, _20
Thy name is struggling ere he speak,
Weak is each trembling limb;
In mercy let him not endure
The misery of a fatal cure.

Oh, trust for once no erring guide! _25
Bid the remorseless feeling flee;
'Tis malice, 'tis revenge, 'tis pride,
'Tis anything but thee;
Oh, deign a nobler pride to prove,
And pity if thou canst not love. _30



[Composed June, 1814. Published in "Posthumous Poems", 1824.]

Mine eyes were dim with tears unshed;
Yes, I was firm--thus wert not thou;--
My baffled looks did fear yet dread
To meet thy looks--I could not know
How anxiously they sought to shine _5
With soothing pity upon mine.

To sit and curb the soul's mute rage
Which preys upon itself alone;
To curse the life which is the cage
Of fettered grief that dares not groan, _10
Hiding from many a careless eye
The scorned load of agony.

Whilst thou alone, then not regarded,
The ... thou alone should be,
To spend years thus, and be rewarded, _15
As thou, sweet love, requited me
When none were near--Oh! I did wake
From torture for that moment's sake.

Upon my heart thy accents sweet
Of peace and pity fell like dew _20
On flowers half dead;--thy lips did meet
Mine tremblingly; thy dark eyes threw
Their soft persuasion on my brain,
Charming away its dream of pain.

We are not happy, sweet! our state _25
Is strange and full of doubt and fear;
More need of words that ills abate;--
Reserve or censure come not near
Our sacred friendship, lest there be
No solace left for thee and me. _30

Gentle and good and mild thou art,
Nor can I live if thou appear
Aught but thyself, or turn thine heart
Away from me, or stoop to wear
The mask of scorn, although it be _35
To hide the love thou feel'st for me.

_2 wert 1839; did 1824.
_3 fear 1824, 1839; yearn cj. Rossetti.
_23 Their 1839; thy 1824.
_30 thee]thou 1824, 1839.
_32 can I 1839; I can 1824.
_36 feel'st 1839; feel 1824.