Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. III. Sorrow and Consolation
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume III. Sorrow and Consolation.  1904.
 
III. Adversity
Stanzas Written in Dejection near Naples
Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)
 
  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 light:
  The breath of the moist air is light        5
  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        10
  With green and purple sea-weeds 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        15
  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,        20
  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;        25
  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,        30
  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        35
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;        40
  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.        45
 
 
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