Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Georgian Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Georgian Verse.  1909.
 
Arethusa
By Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)
 
        ARETHUSA arose
        From her couch of snows
In the Acroceraunian mountains,—
        From cloud and from crag,
        With many a jag,        5
Shepherding her bright fountains.
        She leapt down the rocks,
        With her rainbow locks
Streaming among the streams;—
        Her steps paved with green        10
        The downward ravine
Which slopes to the western gleams
        And gliding and springing
        She went, ever singing,
In murmurs as soft as sleep;        15
        The earth seemed to love her,
        And Heaven smiled above her,
As she lingered toward the deep.
 
        Then Alpheus bold,
        On his glacier cold,        20
With his trident the mountains strook
        And opened a chasm
        In the rocks:—with the spasm
All Erymanthus shook.
        And the black south wind        25
        It concealed behind
The urns of the silent snow,
        And earthquake and thunder
        Did rend in sunder
The bars of the springs below.        30
        The beard and the hair
        Of the River-god were
Seen through the torrent’s sweep,
        As he followed the light
        Of the fleet nymph’s flight        35
To the brink of the Dorian deep.
 
        ‘Oh, save me! Oh, guide me!
        And bid the deep hide me,
For he grasps me now by the hair!’
        The loud Ocean heard,        40
        To its blue depth stirred,
And divided at her prayer;
        And under the water
        The Earth’s white daughter
Fled like a sunny beam;        45
        Behind her descended
        Her billows, unblended
With the brackish Dorian stream:—
        Like a gloomy stain,
        On the emerald main        50
Alpheus rushed behind,—
        As an eagle pursuing
        A dove to its ruin
Down the streams of the cloudy wind.
 
        Under the bowers        55
        Where the Ocean Powers
Sit on their pearlèd thrones,
        Through the coral woods
        Of the weltering floods,
Over heaps of unvalued stones;        60
        Through the dim beams
        Which amid the streams
Weave a network of coloured light;
        And under the caves,
        Where the shadowy waves        65
Are as green as the forest’s night;—
        Outspeeding the shark,
        And the sword-fish dark,
Under the ocean foam,
        And up through the rifts        70
        Of the mountain clifts
They passed to their Dorian home.
 
        And now from their fountains
        In Enna’s mountains,
Down one vale where the morning basks,        75
        Like friends once parted
        Grown single-hearted,
They ply their watery tasks.
        At sunrise they leap
        From their cradles steep        80
In the cave of the shelving hill;
        At noontide they flow
        Through the woods below
And the meadows of Asphodel;
        And at night they sleep        85
        In the rocking deep
Beneath the Ortygian shore;
        Like spirits that lie
        In the azure sky
When they love but live no more.        90
 
 
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