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Sonnet to Byron

[Published by Medwin, "The Shelley Papers", 1832 (lines 1-7), and "Life
of Shelley", 1847 (lines 1-9, 12-14). Revised and completed from the
Boscombe manuscript by Rossetti, "Complete Poetical Works of P. B. S.",
1870.]

[I am afraid these verses will not please you, but]
If I esteemed you less, Envy would kill
Pleasure, and leave to Wonder and Despair
The ministration of the thoughts that fill
The mind which, like a worm whose life may share
A portion of the unapproachable, _5
Marks your creations rise as fast and fair
As perfect worlds at the Creator's will.

But such is my regard that nor your power
To soar above the heights where others [climb],
Nor fame, that shadow of the unborn hour _10
Cast from the envious future on the time,
Move one regret for his unhonoured name
Who dares these words:--the worm beneath the sod
May lift itself in homage of the God.

NOTES:
_1 you edition 1870; him 1832; thee 1847.
_4 So edition 1870; My soul which as a worm may haply share 1832;
My soul which even as a worm may share 1847.
_6 your edition 1870; his 1832; thy 1847.
_8, _9 So edition 1870 wanting 1832 -
But not the blessings of thy happier lot,
Nor thy well-won prosperity, and fame 1847.
_10, _11 So edition 1870; wanting 1832, 1847.
_12-_14 So 1847, edition 1870; wanting 1832.


Percy Bysshe Shelley

    Volume 1

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