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Stanzas from “Don Juan" But let me to my story: I must own,

If I have any fault, it is digression
Leaving my people to proceed alone,

While I soliloquize beyond expression;
But these are my addresses from the throne,

Which put off business to the ensuing session,
Forgetting each omission is a loss to
The world, not quite so great as Ariosto.

5

10

Nothing so difficult as a beginning

In poesy, unless perhaps the end;
For oftentimes, when Pegasus seems winning

The race, he sprains a wing, and down we tend,
Like Lucifer, when hurled from heaven for sinning;

Our sin the same, and hard as his to mend, Being pride, which leads the mind to soar too far, Till our own weakness shows us what we are.

15

20

Some have accused me of a strange design

Against the creed and morals of the land, And trace it in this poem every line:

I don't pretend that I quite understand
My own meaning when I would be very fine;

But the fact is, that I have nothing planned
Unless it were to be a moment merry,
A novel word in my vocabulary.

PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY

Ode to the West Wind

I

O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

5

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes : thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the spring shall blow

10

Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odors plain and hill :
Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and preserver; hear, oh hear!

II

15

Thou on whose stream, ʼmid the steep sky's commotion,
Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are shed,
Shook from the tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean,

Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
On the blue surface of thine airy surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head

20

Of some fierce Mænad, even from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith's height
The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge

25

Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,
Vaulted with all thy congregated might

Of vapors, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: oh hear!

III

30

Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams

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All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
For whose path the Atlantic's level powers

Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know

40

Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves: oh hear!

IV

If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share

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The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O uncontrollable! If even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be

50

a

The comrade of thy wanderings over heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skyey speed
Scarce seemed a vision; I would ne'er have striven
As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
Oh! lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud !
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed !

55

A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed
One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.

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60

Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like withered leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,

65

Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind !
Be through my lips to unawakened earth

The trumpet of a prophecy! O wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind ?

70

The Cloud

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5

I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,

From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid

In their noon-day dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken

The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother's breast,

As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,

And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,

And laugh as I pass in thunder.

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15

I sift the snow on the mountains below,

And their great pines groan aghast;
And all the night 'tis my pillow white,

While I sleep in the arms of the blast.
Sublime on the towers of my skyey bowers,

Lightning my pilot sits;
In a cavern under is fettered the thunder, –

It struggles and howls at fits;

20

Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,

This pilot is guiding me,
Lured by the love of the genii that move

In the depths of the purple sea;
Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills;

25 Over the lakes and the plains, Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,

The Spirit he loves remains;
And I all the while bask in heaven's blue smile,
Whilst he is dissolving in rains.

30 The sanguine sunrise, with his meteor eyes,

And his burning plumes outspread, Leaps on the back of my sailing rack,

When the morning star shines dead, As on the jag of a mountain crag,

35 Which an earthquake rocks and swings, An eagle alit one moment may sit

In the light of its golden wings. And when sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath, It ardors of rest and of love,

40 And the crimson pall of eve may fall

From the depth of heaven above,
With wings folded I rest, on mine airy nest,

As still as a brooding dove.
That orbèd maiden with white fire laden,

Whom mortals call the moon,
Glides glimmering o'er my fleece-like floor,

By the midnight breezes strewn;
And wherever the beat of her unseen feet,
Which only the angels hear,

50 May have broken the woof of my tent's thin roof,

The stars peep behind her and peer;
And I laugh to see them whirl and flee,

Like a swarm of golden bees,
When I widen the rent in my wind-built tent,

55 Till the calm rivers, lakes, and seas,

45

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