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

To Jane: the Invitation

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)

BEST and brightest, come away!

Fairer far than this fair Day,

Which, like thee to those in sorrow,

Comes to bid a sweet good-morrow

To the rough Year just awake

In its cradle on the brake.

The brightest hour of unborn Spring,

Thro’ the winter wandering,

Found, it seems, the halycon Morn

To hoar February born;

Bending from Heaven, in azure mirth,

It kissed the forehead of the Earth,

And smiled upon the silent sea,

And bade the frozen streams be free,

And waked to music all their fountains,

And breathed upon the frozen mountains,

And like a prophetess of May

Strewed flowers upon the barren way,

Making the wintry world appear

Like one on whom thou smilest, dear.

Away, away, from men and towns,

To the wild woods and the downs—

To the silent wilderness

Where the soul need not repress

Its music lest it should not find

An echo in another’s mind,

While the touch of Nature’s art

Harmonizes heart to heart.

I leave this notice on my door

For each accustomed visitor:—

‘I am gone into the fields

To take what this sweet hour yields;—

Reflection, you may come to-morrow,

Sit by the fireside with Sorrow.—

You with the unpaid bill, Despair,—

You, tiresome verse-reciter, Care,—

I will pay you in the grave,—

Death will listen to your stave.

Expectation too, be off!

To-day is for itself enough;

Hope, in pity mock not Woe

With smiles, nor follow where I go;

Long having lived on thy sweet food,

At length I find one moment’s good

After long pain—with all your love,

This you never told me of.’

Radiant Sister of the Day,

Awake! arise! and come away!

To the wild woods and the plains,

And the pools where Winter rains

Image all their roof of leaves,

Where the pine its garland weaves

Of sapless green and ivy dun

Round stems that never kiss the sun;

Where the lawns and pastures be,

And the sandhills of the sea;—

Where the melting hoar-frost wets

The daisy-star that never sets,

And wind-flowers, and violets,

Which yet join not scent to hue,

Crown the pale year weak and new;

When the night is left behind

In the deep east, dun and blind,

And the blue noon is over us,

And the multitudinous

Billows murmur at our feet,

Where the earth and ocean meet,

And all things seem only one

In the universal sun.