Lines Written in the Bay of Lerici

Original Text: 
Richard Garnett,Macmillan's Magazine (1862). AP 4 M2 ROBA AP M337 MICR mfm.
2When the moon had ceas'd to climb
3The azure path of Heaven's steep,
4And like an albatross asleep,
5Balanc'd on her wings of light,
6Hover'd in the purple night,
7Ere she sought her ocean nest
8In the chambers of the West.
9She left me, and I stay'd alone
10Thinking over every tone
11Which, though silent to the ear,
12The enchanted heart could hear,
13Like notes which die when born, but still
14Haunt the echoes of the hill;
15And feeling ever--oh, too much!--
16The soft vibration of her touch,
17As if her gentle hand, even now,
18Lightly trembled on my brow;
19And thus, although she absent were,
20Memory gave me all of her
21That even Fancy dares to claim:
22Her presence had made weak and tame
23All passions, and I lived alone
24In the time which is our own;
25The past and future were forgot,
26As they had been, and would be, not.
27But soon, the guardian angel gone,
28The daemon reassum'd his throne
29In my faint heart. I dare not speak
30My thoughts, but thus disturb'd and weak
31I sat and saw the vessels glide
32Over the ocean bright and wide,
33Like spirit-winged chariots sent
34O'er some serenest element
35For ministrations strange and far,
36As if to some Elysian star
37Sailed for drink to medicine
38Such sweet and bitter pain as mine.
39And the wind that wing'd their flight
40From the land came fresh and light,
41And the scent of winged flowers,
42And the coolness of the hours
43Of dew, and sweet warmth left by day,
44Were scatter'd o'er the twinkling bay.
45And the fisher with his lamp
46And spear about the low rocks damp
47Crept, and struck the fish which came
48To worship the delusive flame.
49Too happy they, whose pleasure sought
50Extinguishes all sense and thought
51Of the regret that pleasure leaves,
52Destroying life alone, not peace!

Notes

1] Written in 1822 and probably addressed to Jane Williams. Edward and Jane Williams became friends of the Shelleys at Pisa and lived with them in Lerici in 1822. Shelley liked to hear Jane sing and presented her with a guitar. A number of his last lyrics (e.g., "To Jane") are addressed to her. First published by Richard Garnett in Macmillan's Magazine (1862). Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
1862
RPO poem Editors: 
M. T. Wilson
RPO Edition: 
3RP 2.602.
Form: