The Complete Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley — Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 695 pages of information about The Complete Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley — Volume 1.

Another, not himself, he to and fro 115
Questioned and canvassed it with subtlest wit;
And none but those who loved him best could know

That which he knew not, how it galled and bit
His weary mind, this converse vain and cold;
For like an eyeless nightmare grief did sit 120

Upon his being; a snake which fold by fold
Pressed out the life of life, a clinging fiend
Which clenched him if he stirred with deadlier hold;—­
And so his grief remained—­let it remain—­untold. [1]



Prince Athanase had one beloved friend, 125
An old, old man, with hair of silver white,
And lips where heavenly smiles would hang and blend

With his wise words; and eyes whose arrowy light
Shone like the reflex of a thousand minds. 
He was the last whom superstition’s blight 130

Had spared in Greece—­the blight that cramps and blinds,—­
And in his olive bower at Oenoe
Had sate from earliest youth.  Like one who finds

A fertile island in the barren sea,
One mariner who has survived his mates 135
Many a drear month in a great ship—­so he

With soul-sustaining songs, and sweet debates
Of ancient lore, there fed his lonely being:—­
’The mind becomes that which it contemplates,’—­

And thus Zonoras, by for ever seeing 140
Their bright creations, grew like wisest men;
And when he heard the crash of nations fleeing

A bloodier power than ruled thy ruins then,
O sacred Hellas! many weary years
He wandered, till the path of Laian’s glen 145

Was grass-grown—­and the unremembered tears
Were dry in Laian for their honoured chief,
Who fell in Byzant, pierced by Moslem spears:—­

And as the lady looked with faithful grief
From her high lattice o’er the rugged path, 150
Where she once saw that horseman toil, with brief

And blighting hope, who with the news of death
Struck body and soul as with a mortal blight,
She saw between the chestnuts, far beneath,

An old man toiling up, a weary wight; 155
And soon within her hospitable hall
She saw his white hairs glittering in the light

Of the wood fire, and round his shoulders fall;
And his wan visage and his withered mien,
Yet calm and gentle and majestical. 160

And Athanase, her child, who must have been
Then three years old, sate opposite and gazed
In patient silence.


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The Complete Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley — Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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