To Jane: "The Keen Stars Were Twinkling"

Original Text: 
Percy Bysshe Shelley, Poetical Works, ed. Mary Shelley (London: E. Moxon, 1839). PR 5402 1870 ROBA.
2And the fair moon was rising among them,
3           Dear Jane.
4The guitar was tinkling,
5      But the notes were not sweet till you sung them
6           Again.
7      As the moon's soft splendour
8O'er the faint cold starlight of Heaven
9           Is thrown,
10      So your voice most tender
11To the strings without soul had then given
12           Its own.
13      The stars will awaken,
14Though the moon sleep a full hour later
15           To-night;
16      No leaf will be shaken
17Whilst the dews of your melody scatter
18           Delight.
19      Though the sound overpowers,
20Sing again, with your dear voice revealing
21           A tone
22      Of some world far from ours,
23Where music and moonlight and feeling
24           Are one.


1] Published in part in The Athenaeum (1832) and completed by Mary Shelley, the poet's wife, in her second collected edition of 1839. 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 are addressed to her. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
M. T. Wilson
RPO Edition: 
3RP 2.603.