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The Recollection

2006-09-08 14:41

    NOW the last day of many days

    All beautiful and bright as thou

    The loveliest and the last is dead:

    Rise Memory and write its praise!

    Up—to thy wonted work! come trace

    The epitaph of glory fled

    For now the earth has changed its face

    A frown is on the heaven's brow.

    We wander'd to the Pine Forest

    That skirts the ocean's foam.

    The lightest wind was in its nest

    The tempest in its home;

    The whispering waves were half asleep

    The clouds were gone to play

    And on the bosom of the deep

    The smile of heaven lay:

    It seem'd as if the hour were one

    Sent from beyond the skies

    Which scatter'd from above the sun

    A light of Paradise!

    We paused amid the pines that stood

    The giants of the waste

    Tortured by storms to shapes as rude

    As serpents interlaced —

    And soothed by every azure breath

    That under heaven is blown

    To harmonies and hues beneath

    As tender as its own.

    Now all the tree-tops lay asleep

    Like green waves on the sea

    As still as in the silent deep

    The ocean-woods may be.

    How calm it was!—The silence there

    By such a chain was bound

    That even the busy woodpecker

    Made stiller by her sound

    The inviolable quietness;

    The breath of peace we drew

    With its soft motion made not less

    The calm that round us grew.

    There seem'd from the remotest seat

    Of the wide mountain waste

    To the soft flower beneath our feet

    A magic circle traced —

    A spirit interfused around

    A thrilling silent life;

    To momentary peace it bound

    Our mortal nature's strife;—

    And still I felt the centre of

    The magic circle there

    Was one fair form that fill'd with love

    The lifeless atmosphere.

    We paused beside the pools that lie

    Under the forest bough;

    Each seem'd as 'twere a little sky

    Gulf'd in a world below—

    A firmament of purple light

    Which in the dark earth lay

    More boundless than the depth of night

    And purer than the day—

    In which the lovely forests grew

    As in the upper air

    More perfect both in shape and hue

    Than any spreading there.

    There lay the glade and neighbouring lawn

    And through the dark-green wood

    The #CCCCFF sun twinkling like the dawn

    Out of a speckled cloud.

    Sweet views which in our world above

    Can never well be seen

    Were imaged in the water's love

    Of that fair forest green;

    And all was interfused beneath

    With an Elysian glow

    An atmosphere without a breath

    A softer day below.

    Like one beloved the scene had lent

    To the dark water's breast

    Its every leaf and lineament

    With more than truth exprest;

    Until an envious wind crept by

    Like an unwelcome thought

    Which from the mind's too faithful eye

    Blots one dear image out.

    —Though thou art ever fair and kind

    The forests ever green

    Less oft is peace in Shelley's mind

    Than calm in waters seen!

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