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                   Romantic Poetry


Welcome to an Excerpt of P. B. Shelley's Poetry

Excerpt from Prometheus Unbound where Asia speaks to herself, just before the end of Second Act. From the old Cambridge edition, edited by Jack Lynch, Professor in the English department of the Newark campus of Rutgers University.

Asia.

My soul is an enchanted boat,
Which, like a sleeping swan,
doth float Upon the silver waves of thy sweet singing;
And thine doth like an angel sit Beside a helm conducting it,
Whilst all the winds with melody are ringing.
It seems to float ever, for ever,
Upon that many-winding river,
Between mountains, woods, abysses,
A paradise of wildernesses!
Till, like one in slumber bound,
Borne to the ocean, I float down, around,
Into a sea profound, of ever-spreading sound:
Meanwhile thy spirit lifts its pinions
In music's most serene dominions;
Catching the winds that fan that happy heaven.
And we sail on, away, afar,
Without a course, without a star,
But, by the instinct of sweet music driven;
Till through Elysian garden islets
By thee, most beautiful of pilots,
Where never mortal pinnace glided,
The boat of my desire is guided:
Realms where the air we breathe is love,
Which in the winds and on the waves doth move,
Harmonizing this earth with what we feel above.
We have passed Age's icy caves,
And Manhood's dark and tossing waves,
And Youth's smooth ocean, smiling to betray:
Beyond the glassy gulfs we flee
Of shadow-peopled Infancy,
Through Death and Birth, to a diviner day;
A paradise of vaulted bowers,
Lit by downward-gazing flowers,
And watery paths that wind between
Wildernesses calm and green,
Peopled by shapes too bright to see,
And rest, having beheld;
somewhat like thee;
Which walk upon the sea, and chant melodiously!

P.B. Shelley

 

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   Ron Lyons