Saturday, January 28, 2012

The cold earth slept below / Percy Bysshe Shelley


Lines (The cold earth slept below)

The cold earth slept below;
         Above the cold sky shone;
                 And all around,
                 With a chilling sound,
From caves of ice and fields of snow
The breath of night like death did flow
                 Beneath the sinking moon.

The wintry hedge was black;
          The green grass was not seen;
                 The birds did rest
                 On the bare thorn’s breast,
Whose roots, beside the pathway track,
Had bound their folds o’er many a crack
                 Which the frost had made between.

Thine eyes glow’d in the glare
          Of the moon’s dying light;
                 As a fen-fire’s beam
                 On a sluggish stream
Gleams dimly — so the moon shone there,
And it yellow’d the strings of thy tangled hair,
                 That shook in the wind of night.

The moon made thy lips pale, beloved;
          The wind made thy bosom chill;
                 The night did shed
                 On thy dear head
Its frozen dew, and thou didst lie
Where the bitter breath of the naked sky
                 Might visit thee at will.

 ~~~
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
from The Literary Pocket-Book, 1818.

[Poem is in the public domain]

Percy Bysshe Shelley biography

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