A Summer Evening Churchyard, Lechlade, Gloucestershire by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Percy Bysshe Shelley

The wind has swept from the wide atmosphere
Each vapour that obscured the sunset’s ray,
And pallid Evening twines its beaming hair
In duskier braids around the languid eyes of Day:
Silence and Twilight, unbeloved of men,
Creep hand in hand from yon obscurest glen.

They breathe their spells towards the departing day,
Encompassing the earth, air, stars, and sea;
Light, sound, and motion, own the potent sway,
Responding to the charm with its own mystery.
The winds are still, or the dry church-tower grass
Knows not their gentle motions as they pass.

Thou too, aerial pile, whose pinnacles
Point from one shrine like pyramids of fire,
Obey’st I in silence their sweet solemn spells,
Clothing in hues of heaven thy dim and distant spire,
Around whose lessening and invisible height
Gather among the stars the clouds of night.

The dead are sleeping in their sepulchres:
And, mouldering as they sleep, a thrilling sound,
Half sense half thought, among the darkness stirs,
Breathed from their wormy beds all living things around,
And, mingling with the still night and mute sky,
Its awful hush is felt inaudibly.

Thus solemnized and softened, death is mild
And terrorless as this serenest night.
Here could I hope, like some enquiring child
Sporting on graves, that death did hide from human sight
Sweet secrets, or beside its breathless sleep
That loveliest dreams perpetual watch did keep

 

Date: 1816
Poet: Percy Bysshe Shelley
Romantic Movement

English
1792 – 1822

Percy Bysshe Shelley was an English poet and a major voice of English Romantic poetry. He is regarded as one of the finest lyric poets in the English language. He was as radical in his poetry as he was in his political and social views. As a poet, Shelley did not see fame in his lifetime as recognition of his work only grew after his death from a sailing accident in 1822.

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