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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