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With a Guitar, To Jane

[Published by Medwin, "The Athenaeum", October 20, 1832; "Frazer's
Magazine", January 1833. There is a copy amongst the Trelawny

Ariel to Miranda:--Take
This slave of Music, for the sake
Of him who is the slave of thee,
And teach it all the harmony
In which thou canst, and only thou, _5
Make the delighted spirit glow,
Till joy denies itself again,
And, too intense, is turned to pain;
For by permission and command
Of thine own Prince Ferdinand, _10
Poor Ariel sends this silent token
Of more than ever can be spoken;
Your guardian spirit, Ariel, who,
From life to life, must still pursue
Your happiness;--for thus alone _15
Can Ariel ever find his own.
From Prospero's enchanted cell,
As the mighty verses tell,
To the throne of Naples, he
Lit you o'er the trackless sea, _20
Flitting on, your prow before,
Like a living meteor.
When you die, the silent Moon,
In her interlunar swoon,
Is not sadder in her cell
Than deserted Ariel.
When you live again on earth,
Like an unseen star of birth,
Ariel guides you o'er the sea
Of life from your nativity. _30
Many changes have been run
Since Ferdinand and you begun
Your course of love, and Ariel still
Has tracked your steps, and served your will;
Now, in humbler, happier lot, _35
This is all remembered not;
And now, alas! the poor sprite is
Imprisoned, for some fault of his,
In a body like a grave;--
From you he only dares to crave, _40
For his service and his sorrow,
A smile today, a song tomorrow.

The artist who this idol wrought,
To echo all harmonious thought,
Felled a tree, while on the steep _45
The woods were in their winter sleep,
Rocked in that repose divine
On the wind-swept Apennine;
And dreaming, some of Autumn past,
And some of Spring approaching fast, _50
And some of April buds and showers,
And some of songs in July bowers,
And all of love; and so this tree,--
O that such our death may be!--
Died in sleep, and felt no pain, _55
To live in happier form again:
From which, beneath Heaven's fairest star,
The artist wrought this loved Guitar,
And taught it justly to reply,
To all who question skilfully, _60
In language gentle as thine own;
Whispering in enamoured tone
Sweet oracles of woods and dells,
And summer winds in sylvan cells;
For it had learned all harmonies _65
Of the plains and of the skies,
Of the forests and the mountains,
And the many-voiced fountains;
The clearest echoes of the hills,
The softest notes of falling rills, _70
The melodies of birds and bees,
The murmuring of summer seas,
And pattering rain, and breathing dew,
And airs of evening; and it knew
That seldom-heard mysterious sound, _75
Which, driven on its diurnal round,
As it floats through boundless day,
Our world enkindles on its way.--
All this it knows, but will not tell
To those who cannot question well _80
The Spirit that inhabits it;
It talks according to the wit
Of its companions; and no more
Is heard than has been felt before,
By those who tempt it to betray _85
These secrets of an elder day:
But, sweetly as its answers will
Flatter hands of perfect skill,
It keeps its highest, holiest tone
For our beloved Jane alone. _90

_12 Of more than ever]Of love that never 1833.
_46 woods Trelawny manuscript, 1839, 2nd edition;
winds 1832, 1833, 1839, 1st edition.
_58 this Trelawny manuscript, 1839, 2nd edition;
that 1832, 1833, 1839, 1st edition.
_61 thine own Trelawny manuscript, 1839, 2nd edition;
its own 1832, 1833, 1839, 1st edition.
_76 on Trelawny manuscript, 1839, 2nd edition;
in 1832, 1833, 1839, 1st edition.
_90 Jane Trelawny manuscript; friend 1832, 1833, editions 1839.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

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