Hellas: Chorus

By Percy Bysshe Shelley 1792–1822 Percy Bysshe Shelley
CHORUS
The world's great age begins anew,
         The golden years return,
The earth doth like a snake renew
         Her winter weeds outworn:
Heaven smiles, and faiths and empires gleam
Like wrecks of a dissolving dream.

A brighter Hellas rears its mountains
         From waves serener far;
A new Peneus rolls his fountains
      Against the morning star.
Where fairer Tempes bloom, there sleep
Young Cyclads on a sunnier deep.

A loftier Argo cleaves the main,
         Fraught with a later prize;
Another Orpheus sings again,
         And loves, and weeps, and dies.
A new Ulysses leaves once more
Calypso for his native shore.

Oh, write no more the tale of Troy,
         If earth Death's scroll must be!
Nor mix with Laian rage the joy
         Which dawns upon the free:
Although a subtler Sphinx renew
Riddles of death Thebes never knew.

Another Athens shall arise,
         And to remoter time
Bequeath, like sunset to the skies,
         The splendour of its prime;
And leave, if nought so bright may live,
All earth can take or Heaven can give.

Saturn and Love their long repose
         Shall burst, more bright and good
Than all who fell, than One who rose,
         Than many unsubdu'd:
Not gold, not blood, their altar dowers,
But votive tears and symbol flowers.

Oh cease! must hate and death return?
         Cease! must men kill and die?
Cease! drain not to its dregs the urn
         Of bitter prophecy.
The world is weary of the past,
Oh might it die or rest at last!

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Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley 1792–1822

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Subjects Heroes & Patriotism, War & Conflict, Social Commentaries, Mythology & Folklore

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

 Percy  Bysshe Shelley

Biography

The life and works of Percy Bysshe Shelley exemplify Romanticism in both its extremes of joyous ecstasy and brooding despair. The major themes are there in Shelley’s dramatic if short life and in his works, enigmatic, inspiring, and lasting: the restlessness and brooding, the rebellion against authority, the interchange with nature, the power of the visionary imagination and of poetry, the pursuit of ideal love, and the untamed . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Heroes & Patriotism, War & Conflict, Social Commentaries, Mythology & Folklore

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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