The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review
littlereview

Poem for Saturday


To A Skylark
By Percy Bysshe Shelley


Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
Bird thou never wert,
That from heaven, or near it,
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.

Higher still and higher
From the earth thou springest
Like a cloud of fire;
The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest.

In the golden lightning
Of the sunken sun,
O'er which clouds are bright'ning,
Thou dost float and run,
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.

The pale purple even
Melts around thy flight;
Like a star of heaven
In the broad daylight
Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight --

Keen as are the arrows
Of that silver sphere
Whose intense lamp narrows
In the white dawn clear
Until we hardly see -- we feel that it is there.

All the earth and air
With thy voice is loud,
As, when night is bare,
From one lonely cloud
The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflowed.

What thou art we know not;
What is most like thee?
From rainbow clouds there flow not
Drops so bright to see
As from thy presence showers a rain of melody.

Like a poet hidden
In the light of thought,
Singing hymns unbidden,
Till the world is wrought
To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not:

Like a high-born maiden
In a palace tower,
Soothing her love-laden
Soul in secret hour
With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower:

Like a glow-worm golden
In a dell of dew,
Scattering unbeholden
Its aerial hue
Among the flowers and grass, which screen it from the view:

Like a rose embowered
In its own green leaves,
By warm winds deflowered,
Till the scent it gives
Makes faint with too much sweet these heavy-winged thieves:

Sound of vernal showers
On the twinkling grass,
Rain-awakened flowers,
All that ever was
Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass.

Teach us, sprite or bird,
What sweet thoughts are thine:
I have never heard
Praise of love or wine
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.

Chorus hymeneal
Or triumphal chaunt
Matched with thine would be all
But an empty vaunt --
A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.

What objects are the fountains
Of thy happy strain?
What fields, or waves, or mountains?
What shapes of sky or plain?
What love of thine own kind? what ignorance of pain?

With thy clear keen joyance
Languor cannot be:
Shadow of annoyance
Never came near thee:
Thou lovest, but ne'er knew love's sad satiety.

Waking or asleep,
Thou of death must deem
Things more true and deep
Than we mortals dream,
Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?

We look before and after,
And pine for what is not:
Our sincerest laughter
With some pain is fraught;
Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.

Yet if we could scorn
Hate, and pride, and fear;
If we were things born
Not to shed a tear,
I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.

Better than all measures
Of delightful sound,
Better than all treasures
That in books are found,
Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground!

Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow
The world should listen then, as I am listening now!

--------

I slept late today for no good reason, spent the morning doing things that needed to be done and it's now nearly one and we are supposed to be taking the kids out and I haven't even started doing work. Ah well. There's always later.

Went over to the lovely vertigo66's for lunch yesterday to watch the slashy parts of Gangster No. 1 -- had forgotten that the whole movie pretty much counts as "the slashy parts," even the violent stuff I can't watch (we skipped that anyway). She has the double-disc version of Room With a View, and gave me her single-disc version, which remarkably I never owned because we had it on videotape and I hadn't watched it in years. Didn't have time for the whole thing last night because I had to review Enterprise but I watched some of my favorite bits and felt good and was nostalgic for one of my college roommates with whom I first saw it, though of all my roommates she is the one I probably had least in common with and we drifted out of touch several years ago. I should track her down and call her; she's somewhere in the L.A. suburbs.

Speaking of Enterprise: "Cold Station 12" review, mostly positive though a lot of that is because I watch this show with my kids, we make verbal comparisons with other Trek shows throughout, and despite the gore (which I really do not like them watching, and resent on 8 p.m. shows) we were all entertained. My older son even blew off his favorite Nintendo-playing pal on the phone to keep watching and called the friend back later to tell him everything cool that was happening on Enterprise. I am truly raising a geek!

On which note, apaulled is having a bad flare of tendonitis (he jogs 5-6 miles every morning) so even though the weather is perfectly gorgeous for outdoor things here, I think we are taking the kids to the movies (or else we may just get Shrek 2 on DVD, bring that home and watch it), then maybe to walk on the boardwalk and to Target to get gifts for birthday parties the kids have tomorrow. Older son is also demanding a haircut so I think it will be a boring domestic weekend. I have received my O'Brian box set, so I now have 21 in the house and can let myself finish The Hundred Days. After a full year at sea, it will feel very strange on the day I start a novel by someone else...
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