Shelley Sunday: ‘Lines (The Cold Earth Slept Below)’

LINES
by Percy Bysshe Shelley
[Published in Hunt's "Literary Pocket-Book", 1823, where it is headed
"November, 1815". Reprinted in the "Posthumous Poems", 1824. See
Editor's Note.]

1.
The cold earth slept below,
Above the cold sky shone;
And all around, with a chilling sound,
From caves of ice and fields of snow,
The breath of night like death did flow                              _5
Beneath the sinking moon.

2.
The wintry hedge was black,
The green grass was not seen,
The birds did rest on the bare thorn's breast,
Whose roots, beside the pathway track,                               _10
Had bound their folds o'er many a crack
Which the frost had made between.

3.
Thine eyes glowed in the glare
Of the moon's dying light;
As a fen-fire's beam on a sluggish stream                            _15
Gleams dimly, so the moon shone there,
And it yellowed the strings of thy raven hair,
That shook in the wind of night.

4.
The moon made thy lips pale, beloved--
The wind made thy bosom chill--                                      _20
The night did shed on thy dear head
Its frozen dew, and thou didst lie
Where the bitter breath of the naked sky
Might visit thee at will.

NOTE:
_17 raven 1823; tangled 1824.

***

Image Source: Glacier Cave. lilburnes.com
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