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Mont Blanc: Lines Written in the Vale of Chamouni

  The everlasting universe of things
  Flows through the mind, and rolls its rapid waves,
  Now dark--now glittering--now reflecting gloom--
  Now lending splendour, where from secret springs
  The source of human thought its tribute brings
  Of waters--with a sound but half its own,
  Such as a feeble brook will oft assume,
  In the wild woods, among the mountains lone,
  Where waterfalls around it leap for ever,
  Where woods and winds contend, and a vast river
  Over its rocks ceaselessly bursts and raves.

  Thus thou, Ravine of Arve--dark, deep Ravine--
  Thou many-colour'd, many-voiced vale,
  Over whose pines, and crags, and caverns sail
  Fast cloud-shadows and sunbeams: awful scene,
  Where Power in likeness of the Arve comes down
  From the ice-gulfs that gird his secret throne,
  Bursting through these dark mountains like the flame
  Of lightning through the tempest;--thou dost lie,
  Thy giant brood of pines around thee clinging,
  Children of elder time, in whose devotion
  The chainless winds still come and ever came
  To drink their odours, and their mighty swinging
  To hear--an old and solemn harmony;
  Thine earthly rainbows stretch'd across the sweep
  Of the aethereal waterfall, whose veil
  Robes some unsculptur'd image; the strange sleep
  Which when the voices of the desert fail
  Wraps all in its own deep eternity;
  Thy caverns echoing to the Arve's commotion,
  A loud, lone sound no other sound can tame;
  Thou art pervaded with that ceaseless motion,
  Thou art the path of that unresting sound--
  Dizzy Ravine! and when I gaze on thee
  I seem as in a trance sublime and strange
  To muse on my own separate fantasy,
  My own, my human mind, which passively
  Now renders and receives fast influencings,
  Holding an unremitting interchange
  With the clear universe of things around;
  One legion of wild thoughts, whose wandering wings
  Now float above thy darkness, and now rest
  Where that or thou art no unbidden guest,
  In the still cave of the witch Poesy,
  Seeking among the shadows that pass by
  Ghosts of all things that are, some shade of thee,
  Some phantom, some faint image; till the breast
  From which they fled recalls them, thou art there!

  Some say that gleams of a remoter world
  Visit the soul in sleep, that death is slumber,
  And that its shapes the busy thoughts outnumber
  Of those who wake and live.--I look on high;
  Has some unknown omnipotence unfurl'd
  The veil of life and death? or do I lie
  In dream, and does the mightier world of sleep
  Spread far around and inaccessibly
  Its circles? For the very spirit fails,
  Driven like a homeless cloud from steep to steep
  That vanishes among the viewless gales!
  Far, far above, piercing the infinite sky,
  Mont Blanc appears--still, snowy, and serene;
  Its subject mountains their unearthly forms
  Pile around it, ice and rock; broad vales between
  Of frozen floods, unfathomable deeps,
  Blue as the overhanging heaven, that spread
  And wind among the accumulated steeps;
  A desert peopled by the storms alone,
  Save when the eagle brings some hunter's bone,
  And the wolf tracks her there--how hideously
  Its shapes are heap'd around! rude, bare, and high,
  Ghastly, and scarr'd, and riven.--Is this the scene
  Where the old Earthquake-daemon taught her young
  Ruin? Were these their toys? or did a sea
  Of fire envelop once this silent snow?
  None can reply--all seems eternal now.
  The wilderness has a mysterious tongue
  Which teaches awful doubt, or faith so mild,
  So solemn, so serene, that man may be,
  But for such faith, with Nature reconcil'd;
  Thou hast a voice, great Mountain, to repeal
  Large codes of fraud and woe; not understood
  By all, but which the wise, and great, and good
  Interpret, or make felt, or deeply feel.

  The fields, the lakes, the forests, and the streams,
  Ocean, and all the living things that dwell
  Within the daedal earth; lightning, and rain,
  Earthquake, and fiery flood, and hurricane,
  The torpor of the year when feeble dreams
  Visit the hidden buds, or dreamless sleep
  Holds every future leaf and flower; the bound
  With which from that detested trance they leap;
  The works and ways of man, their death and birth,
  And that of him and all that his may be;
  All things that move and breathe with toil and sound
  Are born and die; revolve, subs
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Submitted on May 13, 2011

3:38 min read

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley was one of the major English Romantic poets and is regarded by critics as among the finest lyric poets in the English language. more…

All Percy Bysshe Shelley poems | Percy Bysshe Shelley Books

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