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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.


Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)

THE WORLD’S great age begins anew,

The golden years return,

The earth doth like a snake renew

Her winter weeds outworn:

Heaven smiles, and faiths and empires gleam,

Like wrecks of a dissolving dream.

A brighter Hellas rears its mountains

From waves serener far;

A new Peneus rolls his fountains

Against the morning star.

Where fairer Tempes bloom, there sleep

Young Cyclads on a summer deep.

A loftier Argo cleaves the main,

Fraught with a later prize;

Another Orpheus sings again,

And loves, and weeps, and dies.

A new Ulysses leaves once more

Calypso for his native shore.

Oh, write no more the tale of Troy,

If earth Death’s scroll must be!

Nor mix with Laian rage the joy

Which dawns upon the free:

Although a subtler Sphinx renew

Riddles of death Thebes never knew.

Another Athens shall arise,

And to remoter time

Bequeath, like sunset to the skies,

The splendour of its prime;

And leave, if nought so bright may live,

All earth can take or Heaven can give.

Saturn and Love their long repose

Shall burst, more bright and good

Than all who fell, than One who rose,

Than many unsubdued:

Not gold, not blood, their altar dowers,

But votive tears and symbol flowers.

Oh, cease! must hate and death return?

Cease! must men kill and die?

Cease! drain not to its dregs the urn

Of bitter prophecy.

The world is weary of the past,

Oh, might it die or rest at last!