The Cloud

Original Text: 
Percy Bysshe Shelley, Prometheus Unbound (1820).
1  I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
2      From the seas and the streams;
3I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
4      In their noonday dreams.
5From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
6      The sweet buds every one,
7When rocked to rest on their mother's breast,
8      As she dances about the sun.
9I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
10      And whiten the green plains under,
11And then again I dissolve it in rain,
12      And laugh as I pass in thunder.
13  I sift the snow on the mountains below,
14      And their great pines groan aghast;
15And all the night 'tis my pillow white,
16      While I sleep in the arms of the blast.
17Sublime on the towers of my skiey bowers,
18      Lightning my pilot sits;
19In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,
20      It struggles and howls at fits;
21Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,
22      This pilot is guiding me,
23Lured by the love of the genii that move
24      In the depths of the purple sea;
25Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,
26      Over the lakes and the plains,
27Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,
28      The Spirit he loves remains;
29And I all the while bask in Heaven's blue smile,
30      Whilst he is dissolving in rains.
31  The sanguine Sunrise, with his meteor eyes,
32      And his burning plumes outspread,
33Leaps on the back of my sailing rack,
34      When the morning star shines dead;
35As on the jag of a mountain crag,
36      Which an earthquake rocks and swings,
37An eagle alit one moment may sit
38      In the light of its golden wings.
39And when Sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath,
40      Its ardours of rest and of love,
41And the crimson pall of eve may fall
42      From the depth of Heaven above,
43With wings folded I rest, on mine aëry nest,
44      As still as a brooding dove.
45  That orbèd maiden with white fire laden,
46      Whom mortals call the Moon,
47Glides glimmering o'er my fleece-like floor,
48      By the midnight breezes strewn;
49And wherever the beat of her unseen feet,
50      Which only the angels hear,
51May have broken the woof of my tent's thin roof,
52      The stars peep behind her and peer;
53And I laugh to see them whirl and flee,
54      Like a swarm of golden bees,
55When I widen the rent in my wind-built tent,
56      Till calm the rivers, lakes, and seas,
57Like strips of the sky fallen through me on high,
58      Are each paved with the moon and these.
59  I bind the Sun's throne with a burning zone,
60      And the Moon's with a girdle of pearl;
61The volcanoes are dim, and the stars reel and swim,
62      When the whirlwinds my banner unfurl.
63From cape to cape, with a bridge-like shape,
64      Over a torrent sea,
65Sunbeam-proof, I hang like a roof,
66      The mountains its columns be.
67The triumphal arch through which I march
68      With hurricane, fire, and snow,
69When the Powers of the air are chained to my chair,
70      Is the million-coloured bow;
71The sphere-fire above its soft colours wove,
72      While the moist Earth was laughing below.
73  I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
74      And the nursling of the Sky;
75I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
76      I change, but I cannot die.
77For after the rain when with never a stain
78      The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
79And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
80      Build up the blue dome of air,
81I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
82      And out of the caverns of rain,
83Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
84      I arise and unbuild it again.
Publication Start Year: 
1820
RPO poem Editors: 
J. D. Robins
RPO Edition: 
2RP 2.255.