Stanzas Written in Dejection, near Naples

By Percy Bysshe Shelley 1792–1822 Percy Bysshe Shelley
The sun is warm, the sky is clear,
         The waves are dancing fast and bright,
      Blue isles and snowy mountains wear
      The purple noon's transparent might,
         The breath of the moist earth is light,
      Around its unexpanded buds;
         Like many a voice of one delight,
      The winds, the birds, the ocean floods,
The City's voice itself, is soft like Solitude's.

         I see the Deep's untrampled floor
         With green and purple seaweeds strown;
      I see the waves upon the shore,
      Like light dissolved in star-showers, thrown:
         I sit upon the sands alone,—
      The lightning of the noontide ocean
         Is flashing round me, and a tone
      Arises from its measured motion,
How sweet! did any heart now share in my emotion.

         Alas! I have nor hope nor health,
         Nor peace within nor calm around,
      Nor that content surpassing wealth
      The sage in meditation found,
         And walked with inward glory crowned—
      Nor fame, nor power, nor love, nor leisure.
         Others I see whom these surround—
      Smiling they live, and call life pleasure;
To me that cup has been dealt in another measure.

         Yet now despair itself is mild,
         Even as the winds and waters are;
      I could lie down like a tired child,
      And weep away the life of care
         Which I have borne and yet must bear,
      Till death like sleep might steal on me,
         And I might feel in the warm air
      My cheek grow cold, and hear the sea
Breathe o'er my dying brain its last monotony.

         Some might lament that I were cold,
         As I, when this sweet day is gone,
      Which my lost heart, too soon grown old,
      Insults with this untimely moan;
         They might lament—for I am one
      Whom men love not,—and yet regret,
         Unlike this day, which, when the sun
      Shall on its stainless glory set,
Will linger, though enjoyed, like joy in memory yet.

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Poet Percy Bysshe Shelley 1792–1822

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Romantic

Subjects Living, Landscapes & Pastorals, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Nature, 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, Landscapes & Pastorals, Seas, Rivers, & Streams, Nature, 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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