Song: Rarely, rarely, comest thou

By Percy Bysshe Shelley 1792–1822 Percy Bysshe Shelley
Rarely, rarely, comest thou,
         Spirit of Delight!
Wherefore hast thou left me now
         Many a day and night?
Many a weary night and day
'Tis since thou are fled away.

How shall ever one like me
         Win thee back again?
With the joyous and the free
         Thou wilt scoff at pain.
Spirit false! thou hast forgot
All but those who need thee not.

As a lizard with the shade
         Of a trembling leaf,
Thou with sorrow art dismay'd;
         Even the sighs of grief
Reproach thee, that thou art not near,
And reproach thou wilt not hear.

Let me set my mournful ditty
         To a merry measure;
Thou wilt never come for pity,
         Thou wilt come for pleasure;
Pity then will cut away
Those cruel wings, and thou wilt stay.

I love all that thou lovest,
         Spirit of Delight!
The fresh Earth in new leaves dress'd,
         And the starry night;
Autumn evening, and the morn
When the golden mists are born.

I love snow, and all the forms
         Of the radiant frost;
I love waves, and winds, and storms,
         Everything almost
Which is Nature's, and may be
Untainted by man's misery.

I love tranquil solitude,
         And such society
As is quiet, wise, and good;
         Between thee and me
What difference? but thou dost possess
The things I seek, not love them less.

I love Love—though he has wings,
         And like light can flee,
But above all other things,
         Spirit, I love thee—
Thou art love and life! Oh come,
Make once more my heart thy home.

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Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley 1792–1822

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Subjects Living, Sorrow & Grieving

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 Living, Sorrow & Grieving

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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