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Shelley


Percy Bysshe Shelley
Song of Apollo (1824)


The sleepless Hours who watch me as I lie
Curtained with star-enwoven tapestries
From the broad moonlight of the open sky;
Fanning the busy dreams from my dim eyes,
Waken me when their mother, the greay Dawn,
Tells them that Dreams and that the moon is gone.

Then I arise; and climbing Heaven’s blue dome,
I walk over the mountains and the waves,
Leaving my robe upon the Ocean foam.
My footsteps pave the clouds with fire; the caves
Are filled with my bright presence, and the air
Leaves the green Earth to my embraces bare.

The sunbeams are my shafts with which I kill
Deceit, that loves the night and fears the day.
All men who do, or even imagine ill
Fly me; and from the glory of my ray
Good minds, and open actions take new might
Until diminished, by the reign of night.

I feed the clouds, the rainbows and the flowers
With their aetherial colours; the moon’s globe
And the pure stars in their eternal bowers
Are cinctured with my power as with a robe;
Whatever lamps on Earth or Heaven may shine
Are portions of one spirit; which is mine.

I stand at noon upon the peak of Heaven;
Then with unwilling steps, I linger down
Into the clouds of the Atlantic even.
For grief that I depart they weep and frown—
What look is more delightful, than the smile
With which I soothe them from the Western isle?

I am the eye with which the Universe
Beholds itself, and knows it is divine.
All harmony of instrument and verse,
All prophecy and medicine are mine;
All light of art or nature—to my song
Victory and praise, in its own right, belong.

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