The poem was without a title when Shelley passed it along to his contemporary and friend, Thomas Love Peacock. The poem is lines long. It is considered to be one of the first of Shelley's major poems. Peacock suggested the name Alastor, which comes from Roman mythology.
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Nondum amabam, et amare amabam, quaerebam quid amarem, amans amare. The life and works of Percy Bysshe Shelley exemplify English Romanticism in both its extremes of joyous ecstasy and brooding despair. Prose Home Harriet Blog. Visit Home Events Exhibitions Library. Newsletter Subscribe Give.
Poetry Foundation. Back to Previous. Alastor; or, The Spirit of Solitude. By Percy Bysshe Shelley. Your love, and recompense the boon with mine;. Of starry ice the grey grass and bare boughs;.
If spring's voluptuous pantings when she breathes. Her first sweet kisses, have been dear to me;. And cherished these my kindred; then forgive. In charnels and on coffins, where black death. Hoping to still these obstinate questionings. Of thee and thine, by forcing some lone ghost.
When night makes a weird sound of its own stillness,. With my most innocent love, until strange tears. To render up thy charge And twilight phantasms, and deep noon-day thought,. I wait thy breath, Great Parent, that my strain. Of night and day, and the deep heart of man. There was a Poet whose untimely tomb. Of mouldering leaves in the waste wilderness:—. With weeping flowers, or votive cypress wreath,. Gentle, and brave, and generous,—no lorn bard. Breathed o'er his dark fate one melodious sigh:.
Strangers have wept to hear his passionate notes,. And virgins, as unknown he passed, have pined. The fire of those soft orbs has ceased to burn,. By solemn vision, and bright silver dream,. And sound from the vast earth and ambient air,. Fled not his thirsting lips, and all of great,. And knew.
When early youth had past, he left. To seek strange truths in undiscovered lands. Has lured his fearless steps; and he has bought. With his sweet voice and eyes, from savage men,. His rest and food. Nature's most secret steps. With sluggish surge, or where the secret caves. Frequent with crystal column, and clear shrines.
Of pearl, and thrones radiant with chrysolite. Than gems or gold, the varying roof of heaven. And the green earth lost in his heart its claims. In lonesome vales, making the wild his home,. His wandering step. Memphis and Thebes, and whatsoe'er of strange. Of more than man, where marble daemons watch. Hang their mute thoughts on the mute walls around,. Of the world's youth, through the long burning day. Gazed on those speechless shapes, nor, when the moon. Filled the mysterious halls with floating shades.
Meanwhile an Arab maiden brought his food,. And spread her matting for his couch, and stole. To speak her love:—and watched his nightly sleep,. Parted in slumber, whence the regular breath.
Of innocent dreams arose: then, when red morn. Wildered, and wan, and panting, she returned. The Poet wandering on, through Arabie. Its loneliest dell, where odorous plants entwine. Had flushed his cheek.
Her voice was like the voice of his own soul. Heard in the calm of thought; its music long,. Like woven sounds of streams and breezes, held. Knowledge and truth and virtue were her theme,.
Of her pure mind kindled through all her frame. She raised, with voice stifled in tremulous sobs. Were bare alone, sweeping from some strange harp. Strange symphony, and in their branching veins. Its bursting burthen: at the sound he turned,.
Her dark locks floating in the breath of night,. Outstretched, and pale, and quivering eagerly. His strong heart sunk and sickened with excess. Of love. He reared his shuddering limbs and quelled.
His gasping breath, and spread his arms to meet. With frantic gesture and short breathless cry. Now blackness veiled his dizzy eyes, and night. Involved and swallowed up the vision; sleep,. Rolled back its impulse on his vacant brain. Roused by the shock he started from his trance—. The cold white light of morning, the blue moon. Low in the west, the clear and garish hills,. Spread round him where he stood. Whither have fled.
Of yesternight? The sounds that soothed his sleep,. As ocean's moon looks on the moon in heaven. Beyond the realms of dream that fleeting shade;. Thus treacherously? Lost, lost, for ever lost,. That beautiful shape! Does the dark gate of death. O Sleep? Does the bright arch of rainbow clouds,. And pendent mountains seen in the calm lake,.
While death's blue vault, with loathliest vapours hung,.
Alastor; or The Spirit of Solitude
PUBLICATION: Alastor, or The Spirit of Solitude and Other Poems
Alastor; or, The Spirit of Solitude