Thy voice to us is wind among still woods.
Man, who wert once a despot and a slave;
A dupe and a deceiver; a decay; 550
A traveller from the cradle to the grave
Through the dim night of this immortal day:
Speak: thy strong words may never pass away.
This is the day, which down the void abysm
At the Earth-born’s spell yawns for Heaven’s despotism, 555
And Conquest is dragged captive through the deep:
Love, from its awful throne of patient power
In the wise heart, from the last giddy hour
Of dread endurance, from the slippery, steep,
And narrow verge of crag-like agony, springs 560
And folds over the world its healing wings.
Gentleness, Virtue, Wisdom, and Endurance,
These are the seals of that most firm assurance
Which bars the pit over Destruction’s strength;
And if, with infirm hand, Eternity, 565
Mother of many acts and hours, should free
The serpent that would clasp her with his length;
These are the spells by which to reassume
An empire o’er the disentangled doom.
To suffer woes which Hope thinks infinite;
To forgive wrongs darker than death or night;
To defy Power, which seems omnipotent;
To love, and bear; to hope till Hope creates
From its own wreck the thing it contemplates;
Neither to change, nor falter, nor repent; 575
This, like thy glory, Titan, is to be
Good, great and joyous, beautiful and free;
This is alone Life, Joy, Empire, and Victory!
NOTES: 559 dread B, edition 1839; dead 1820. 575 falter B, edition 1839; flatter 1820.
[First printed by Mr. C.D. Locock, “Examination of the Shelley Manuscripts at the Bodleian Library”, 1903, pages 33-7.]
When thou descendst each night with open eyes
In torture, for a tyrant seldom sleeps,
Thou never; ...
(following 1._195.) Which thou henceforth art doomed to interweave ...
(following the first two words of 1._342.)
[Of Hell:] I placed it in his choice to be
The crown, or trampled refuse of the world
With but one law itself a glorious boon—
I leaped on the wings of the Earth-star damp
As it rose on the steam of a slaughtered camp—
The sleeping newt heard not our tramp
As swift as the wings of fire may pass—
We threaded the points of long thick grass
Which hide the green pools of the morass
But shook a water-serpent’s couch
In a cleft skull, of many such
The widest; at the meteor’s touch
The snake did seem to see in dream
Thrones and dungeons overthrown
Visions how unlike his own...
’Twas the hope the prophecy
Which begins and ends in thee