Shelley Sunday: A Dream of the Unknown

A Dream of the Unknown

by Percy Bysshe Shelley

I DREAM’D that as I wander’d by the way
Bare Winter suddenly was changed to Spring,
And gentle odours led my steps astray,
Mix’d with a sound of waters murmuring
Along a shelving bank of turf, which lay 5
Under a copse, and hardly dared to fling
Its green arms round the bosom of the stream,
But kiss’d it and then fled, as Thou mightest in dream.

There grew pied wind-flowers and violets,
Daisies, those pearl’d Arcturi of the earth,
The constellated flower that never sets;
Faint oxlips; tender blue-bells, at whose birth
The sod scarce heaved; and that tall flower that wets
Its mother’s face with heaven-collected tears,
When the low wind, its playmate’s voice, it hears.

And in the warm hedge grew lush eglantine,
Green cowbind and the moonlight-colour’d May,
And cherry-blossoms, and white cups, whose wine
Was the bright dew yet drain’d not by the day;
And wild roses, and ivy serpentine 20
With its dark buds and leaves, wandering astray;
And flowers azure, black, and streak’d with gold,
Fairer than any waken’d eyes behold.

And nearer to the river’s trembling edge
There grew broad flag-flowers, purple prank’t with white,
And starry river-buds among the sedge,
And floating water-lilies, broad and bright,
Which lit the oak that overhung the hedge
With moonlight beams of their own watery light;
And bulrushes, and reeds of such deep green
As soothed the dazzled eye with sober sheen.

Methought that of these visionary flowers
I made a nosegay, bound in such a way
That the same hues, which in their natural bowers
Were mingled or opposed, the like array 35
Kept these imprison’d children of the Hours
Within my hand,—and then, elate and gay,
I hasten’d to the spot whence I had come
That I might there present it—O! to whom?

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Image Source: Theatreworks.typepad.com

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