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When The Lamp Is Shattered

Percy Bysshe Shelley 1792 (Horsham) – 1822 (Lerici)

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.

  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.

  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?

  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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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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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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