Shelley Sunday: ‘When the Lamp is Shattered’

Lines: ‘When the Lamp is Shattered’

Percy Bysshe Shelley

                       I
  When the lamp is shattered
The light in the dust lies dead—
  When the cloud is scattered
The rainbow’s glory is shed.
  When the lute is broken,
Sweet tones are remembered not;
  When the lips have spoken,
Loved accents are soon forgot.

                       II
  As music and splendor
Survive not the lamp and the lute,
  The heart’s echoes render
No song when the spirit is mute:—
  No song but sad dirges,
Like the wind through a ruined cell,
  Or the mournful surges
That ring the dead seaman’s knell.

                       III
  When hearts have once mingled
Love first leaves the well-built nest;
  The weak one is singled
To endure what it once possessed.
  O Love! who bewailest
The frailty of all things here,
  Why choose you the frailest
For your cradle, your home, and your bier?

                       IV
  Its passions will rock thee
As the storms rock the ravens on high;
  Bright reason will mock thee,
Like the sun from a wintry sky.
  From thy nest every rafter
Will rot, and thine eagle home
  Leave thee naked to laughter,
When leaves fall and cold winds come.

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Image Source: Michael Hutchence, Frankenstein Unbound
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