Prometheus Unbound

38Thy words are sweeter than aught else but his
39Whose echoes they are: yet all love is sweet,
40Given or returned. Common as light is love,
41And its familiar voice wearies not ever.
42Like the wide heaven, the all-sustaining air,
43It makes the reptile equal to the God:
44They who inspire it most are fortunate,
45As I am now; but those who feel it most
46Are happier still, after long sufferings,
47As I shall soon become.
48List! Spirits speak.
          Voice in the Air, singing.
49Life of Life! thy lips enkindle
50   With their love the breath between them;
51And thy smiles before they dwindle
52   Make the cold air fire; then screen them
53In those looks, where whoso gazes
54Faints, entangled in their mazes.
55Child of Light! thy lips are burning
56   Thro' the vest which seems to hide them;
57As the radiant lines of morning
58   Thro' the clouds ere they divide them;
59And this atmosphere divinest
60Shrouds thee wheresoe'er thou shinest.
61Fair are others; none beholds thee,
62   But thy voice sounds low and tender
63Like the fairest, for it folds thee
64   From the sight, that liquid splendour,
65And all feel, yet see thee never,
66As I feel now, lost for ever!
67Lamp of Earth! where'er thou movest
68   Its dim shapes are clad with brightness
69And the souls of whom thou lovest
70   Walk upon the winds with lightness,
71Till they fail, as I am failing,
72Dizzy, lost, yet unbewailing!
73   My soul is an enchanted boat,
74   Which, like a sleeping swan, doth float
75Upon the silver waves of thy sweet singing;
76   And thine doth like an angel sit
77   Beside the helm conducting it,
78Whilst all the winds with melody are ringing.
79   It seems to float ever, for ever,
80   Upon that many-winding river,
81   Between mountains, woods, abysses,
82   A paradise of wildernesses!
83Till, like one in slumber bound,
84Borne to the ocean, I float down, around,
85Into a sea profound, of ever-spreading sound:
86   Meanwhile thy spirit lifts its pinions
87   In music's most serene dominions;
88Catching the winds that fan that happy heaven.
89   And we sail on, away, afar,
90   Without a course, without a star,
91But, by the instinct of sweet music driven;
92   Till through Elysian garden islets
93   By thee, most beautiful of pilots,
94   Where never mortal pinnace glided,
95   The boat of my desire is guided:
96Realms where the air we breathe is love,
97Which in the winds and on the waves doth move,
98Harmonizing this earth with what we feel above.
99   We have passed Age's icy caves,
100   And Manhood's dark and tossing waves,
101And Youth's smooth ocean, smiling to betray:
102   Beyond the glassy gulfs we flee
103   Of shadow-peopled Infancy,
104Through Death and Birth, to a diviner day;
105   A paradise of vaulted bowers,
106   Lit by downward-gazing flowers,
107   And watery paths that wind between
108   Wildernesses calm and green,
109Peopled by shapes too bright to see,
110And rest, having beheld; somewhat like thee;
111Which walk upon the sea, and chant melodiously!
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
Special Copyright: 

Percy Bysshe Shelley, <i>Prometheus Unbound, a Lyrical Drama in Four Acts with other Poems</i> (London: C. and J. Collier, 1820): 92-95. Act II, scene v, lines 38-110. Internet Archive. Open Library OL7166106M.