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.
 
My Soul Is Like an Enchanted Boat
By Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)
 
  MY 1 soul is like an enchanted boat,
  Which, like a sleeping swan, doth float
Upon the silver waves of thy sweet singing;
  And thine doth like an angel sit
  Beside a helm conducting it,        5
Whilst all the winds with melody are ringing.
  It seems to float ever, for ever,
  Upon that many-winding river,
  Between mountains, woods, abysses,
  A paradise of wildernesses!        10
Till, like one in slumber bound,
Borne to the ocean, I float down, around,
Into a sea profound, of ever-spreading sound:
 
  Meanwhile thy spirit lifts its pinions
  In music’s most serene dominions;        15
Catching the winds that fan that happy heaven.
  And we sail on, away, afar,
  Without a course, without a star,
But, by the instinct of sweet music driven;
  Till through Elysian garden islets        20
  By thee, most beautiful of pilots,
  Where never mortal pinnace glided,
  The boat of my desire is guided:
Realms where the air we breathe is love,
Which in the winds and on the waves doth move,        25
Harmonizing this earth with what we feel above.
 
  We have pass’d Age’s icy caves,
  And Manhood’s dark and tossing waves,
And Youth’s smooth ocean, smiling to betray:
  Beyond the glassy gulfs we flee        30
  Of shadow-peopled Infancy,
Through Death and Birth, to a diviner day;
  A paradise of vaulted bowers,
  Lit by downward-gazing flowers,
  And watery paths that wind between        35
  Wildernesses calm and green,
Peopled by shapes too bright to see,
And rest, having beheld; somewhat like thee:
Which walk upon the sea, and chant melodiously.
 
Note 1. My Soul is like an enchanted boat.  From Prometheus Unbound, Asia’s song, Act II. sc. v. [back]
 
 
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