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English Poetry II: From Collins to Fitzgerald.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Percy Bysshe Shelley

508. A Dream of the Unknown

I DREAM’D that as I wander’d by the way

Bare Winter suddenly was changed to Spring,

And gentle odours led my steps astray,

Mix’d with a sound of waters murmuring

Along a shelving bank of turf, which lay

Under a copse, and hardly dared to fling

Its green arms round the bosom of the stream,

But kiss’d it and then fled, as Thou mightest in dream.

There grew pied wind-flowers and violets,

Daisies, those pearl’d Arcturi of the earth,

The constellated flower that never sets;

Faint oxlips; tender blue-bells, at whose birth

The sod scarce heaved; and that tall flower that wets

Its mother’s face with heaven-collected tears,

When the low wind, its playmate’s voice, it hears.

And in the warm hedge grew lush eglantine,

Green cowbind and the moonlight-colour’d May,

And cherry-blossoms, and white cups, whose wine

Was the bright dew yet drain’d not by the day;

And wild roses, and ivy serpentine

With its dark buds and leaves, wandering astray;

And flowers azure, black, and streak’d with gold,

Fairer than any waken’d eyes behold.

And nearer to the river’s trembling edge

There grew broad flag-flowers, purple prank’t with white,

And starry river-buds among the sedge,

And floating water-lilies, broad and bright,

Which lit the oak that overhung the hedge

With moonlight beams of their own watery light;

And bulrushes, and reeds of such deep green

As soothed the dazzled eye with sober sheen.

Methought that of these visionary flowers

I made a nosegay, bound in such a way

That the same hues, which in their natural bowers

Were mingled or opposed, the like array

Kept these imprison’d children of the Hours

Within my hand,—and then, elate and gay,

I hasten’d to the spot whence I had come

That I might there present it—O! to whom?