Subscribe for ad free access & additional features for teachers. Authors: 267, Books: 3,607, Poems & Short Stories: 4,435, Forum Members: 71,154, Forum Posts: 1,238,602, Quizzes: 344

To Edward Williams

[Published in Ascham's edition of the "Poems", 1834.
There is a copy amongst the Trelawny manuscripts.]

1.
The serpent is shut out from Paradise.
The wounded deer must seek the herb no more
In which its heart-cure lies:
The widowed dove must cease to haunt a bower
Like that from which its mate with feigned sighs _5
Fled in the April hour.
I too must seldom seek again
Near happy friends a mitigated pain.

2.
Of hatred I am proud,--with scorn content;
Indifference, that once hurt me, now is grown _10
Itself indifferent;
But, not to speak of love, pity alone
Can break a spirit already more than bent.
The miserable one
Turns the mind's poison into food,-- _15
Its medicine is tears,--its evil good.

3.
Therefore, if now I see you seldomer,
Dear friends, dear FRIEND! know that I only fly
Your looks, because they stir
Griefs that should sleep, and hopes that cannot die: _20
The very comfort that they minister
I scarce can bear, yet I,
So deeply is the arrow gone,
Should quickly perish if it were withdrawn.

4.
When I return to my cold home, you ask _25
Why I am not as I have ever been.
YOU spoil me for the task
Of acting a forced part in life's dull scene,--
Of wearing on my brow the idle mask
Of author, great or mean, _30
In the world's carnival. I sought
Peace thus, and but in you I found it not.

5.
Full half an hour, to-day, I tried my lot
With various flowers, and every one still said,
'She loves me--loves me not.' _35
And if this meant a vision long since fled--
If it meant fortune, fame, or peace of thought--
If it meant,--but I dread
To speak what you may know too well:
Still there was truth in the sad oracle. _40

6.
The crane o'er seas and forests seeks her home;
No bird so wild but has its quiet nest,
When it no more would roam;
The sleepless billows on the ocean's breast
Break like a bursting heart, and die in foam, _45
And thus at length find rest:
Doubtless there is a place of peace
Where MY weak heart and all its throbs will cease.

7.
I asked her, yesterday, if she believed
That I had resolution. One who HAD _50
Would ne'er have thus relieved
His heart with words,--but what his judgement bade
Would do, and leave the scorner unrelieved.
These verses are too sad
To send to you, but that I know, _55
Happy yourself, you feel another's woe.

NOTES:
_10 Indifference, which once hurt me, is now grown Trelawny manuscript.
_18 Dear friends, dear friend Trelawny manuscript, 1839, 2nd edition;
Dear gentle friend 1834, 1839, 1st edition.
_26 ever]lately Trelawny manuscript.
_28 in Trelawny manuscript; on 1834, editions 1839,
_43 When 1839, 2nd edition; Whence 1834, 1839, 1st edition.
_48 will 1839, 2nd edition; shall 1834, 1839, 1st edition.
_53 unrelieved Trelawny manuscript, 1839, 2nd. edition;
unreprieved 1834, 1839, 1st edition.
_54 are]were Trelawny manuscript.


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

    Sorry, no summary available yet.