Shelley Sunday: ‘The Question’

THE QUESTION.
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

[Published by Leigh Hunt (with the signature Sigma) in "The Literary
Pocket-Book", 1822. Reprinted by Mrs. Shelley, "Posthumous Poems",
1824. Copies exist in the Harvard manuscript book, amongst the Boscombe
manuscripts, and amongst Ollier manuscripts.]

1.
I dreamed that, as I wandered by the way,
Bare Winter suddenly was changed to Spring,
And gentle odours led my steps astray,
Mixed 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 kissed it and then fled, as thou mightest in dream.

2.
There grew pied wind-flowers and violets,
Daisies, those pearled Arcturi of the earth,                         _10
The constellated flower that never sets;
Faint oxslips; tender bluebells, at whose birth
The sod scarce heaved; and that tall flower that wets--
Like a child, half in tenderness and mirth--
Its mother's face with Heaven's collected tears,                     _15
When the low wind, its playmate's voice, it hears.

3.
And in the warm hedge grew lush eglantine,
Green cowbind and the moonlight-coloured may,
And cherry-blossoms, and white cups, whose wine
Was the bright dew, yet drained not by the day;                      _20
And wild roses, and ivy serpentine,
With its dark buds and leaves, wandering astray;
And flowers azure, black, and streaked with gold,
Fairer than any wakened eyes behold.

4.
And nearer to the river's trembling edge                             _25
There grew broad flag-flowers, purple pranked 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;                      _30
And bulrushes, and reeds of such deep green
As soothed the dazzled eye with sober sheen.

5.
Methought that of these visionary flowers
I made a nosegay, bound in such a way
That the same hues, which in their natural bowers                    _35
Were mingled or opposed, the like array
Kept these imprisoned children of the Hours
Within my hand,--and then, elate and gay,
I hastened to the spot whence I had come,
That I might there present it!--Oh! to whom?                         _40
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s