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The Question


***

[Published by Leigh Hunt (with the signature Sigma) in "The Literary
Pocket-Book", 1822. Reprinted by Mrs. Shelley, "Posthumous Poems",
1824. Copies exist in the Harvard manuscript book, amongst the Boscombe
manuscripts, and amongst Ollier manuscripts.]

1.
I dreamed that, as I wandered by the way,
Bare Winter suddenly was changed to Spring,
And gentle odours led my steps astray,
Mixed with a sound of waters murmuring
Along a shelving bank of turf, which lay _5
Under a copse, and hardly dared to fling
Its green arms round the bosom of the stream,
But kissed it and then fled, as thou mightest in dream.

2.
There grew pied wind-flowers and violets,
Daisies, those pearled Arcturi of the earth, _10
The constellated flower that never sets;
Faint oxslips; tender bluebells, at whose birth
The sod scarce heaved; and that tall flower that wets--
Like a child, half in tenderness and mirth--
Its mother's face with Heaven's collected tears, _15
When the low wind, its playmate's voice, it hears.

3.
And in the warm hedge grew lush eglantine,
Green cowbind and the moonlight-coloured may,
And cherry-blossoms, and white cups, whose wine
Was the bright dew, yet drained not by the day; _20
And wild roses, and ivy serpentine,
With its dark buds and leaves, wandering astray;
And flowers azure, black, and streaked with gold,
Fairer than any wakened eyes behold.

4.
And nearer to the river's trembling edge _25
There grew broad flag-flowers, purple pranked with white.
And starry river buds among the sedge,
And floating water-lilies, broad and bright,
Which lit the oak that overhung the hedge
With moonlight beams of their own watery light; _30
And bulrushes, and reeds of such deep green
As soothed the dazzled eye with sober sheen.

5.
Methought that of these visionary flowers
I made a nosegay, bound in such a way
That the same hues, which in their natural bowers _35
Were mingled or opposed, the like array
Kept these imprisoned children of the Hours
Within my hand,--and then, elate and gay,
I hastened to the spot whence I had come,
That I might there present it!--Oh! to whom? _40

NOTES:
_14 Like...mirth Harvard manuscript, Boscombe manuscript;
wanting in Ollier manuscript, 1822, 1824, 1839.
_15 Heaven's collected Harvard manuscript, Ollier manuscript, 1822;
Heaven-collected 1824, 1839.


Percy Bysshe Shelley

    Volume 1

    Volume 2 - Early Poems 1814-1815

    Poems Written in 1816

    Poems Written in 1817

    Poems Written in 1818

    Poems Written in 1819

    Poems Written in 1820

    Poems Written in 1821

    Poems Written in 1822

    Volume 3

    Volume 3 - Juvenilia

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