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To Shelley by Katharine Lee Bates
Hearing the autumnal wind, I muse on thee,
O Shelley, bird of most aerial note,
Whose songs came pulsing from a kindred throat,
As passionate, impetuous and free,
As sudden-shrill with visionary glee,
And hoarse with human agonies which smote
Thy gentlest heart till it would fain devote
Its music unto man's captivity,
Singing the day when wrath and pride and fear,
With the spectral troop of their unholy kind,
Shall melt in love, as shadows disappear
Before the sun; to evil unresigned,
Urging the nobler discontent I hear
In all these restless voices of the wind.
The summer comes again, by vale and hill
With blossoms fashioning her fragrant way;
But thou, the child of summer, to the day
Art long unknown, and all thy steps are still.
In summer thou wert born, and didst fulfill
Thy scanty urn of years while summer spray
Whitened the shores where thy mute image lay
Robbed of its poet. Hence the summers will
Seek thee in vain. The eye that watched the cloud
Hath locked its sight beneath the fallen lid;
The ear that heard the skylark's note is vowed
To a perpetual quiet. Thou art hid
Beyond the summers, and thy name belongs
But to a ceaseless melody of songs.