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THE TURF SHALL BE MY FRAGRANT SHRINE.
The turf shall be my fragrant shrine ;
I'll seek, by day, some glade unknown,
Thy heaven, on which 'tis bliss to look,
I'll read thy anger in the rack
There's nothing bright, above, below,
There's nothing dark, below, above,
IS IT NOT SWEET TO THINK, HEREAFTER.
Is it not sweet to think, hereafter,
When the spirit leaves this sphere,
To those she long hath mourn'd for here?
Hearts, from which 'twas death to sever,
Eyes, this world can ne'er restore,
Shall meet us, and be lost no more.
When wearily we wander, asking
Of earth and heaven, where are they
Blest, and thinking bliss would stay?
Pointing to the eternal home,
Looking back for us to come.
Alas-alas-doth hope deceive us !
Shall friendship-love-shall all those ties
Be found again where nothing dies ?
To keep our hearts from wrong and stain,
Where all we love shall live again ?
Sound the loud timbrel o'er Egypt's dark sea,
Sound the loud timbrel, &c.
Praise to the conqueror, praise to the Lord,
Sound the loud timbrel, &c.
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY.
THE POET AND HIS POETRY.
[PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY, was descended from an ancient family. His father was Sir Timothy Shelley. He was born at Field Place, in the County of Sussex, in the year 1792. He was expelled from the university for some injudicious speculations on religious subjects, and this had a considerable effect upon his future writings, which are by no means such as can be generaily recommended. After publishing many poems, he travelled on the continent, and was unfortunately drowned in a storm, near the bay of Spezia, on the coast of Italy, in 1822. His body was afterwards picked up by his friend Lord Byron, and burned after the custom of the ancients on the sea shore.
The private character of Shelley was by no means such as his principles would seem to indicate; he was affectionate, honourable, and tender-hearted, and died beloved and lamented.
The poetry of Shelley, has been overrated by his admirers, and his despisers have not had the charity to give him his due. That he was a poet, in all that constitutes the poet, there can be no doubt; but possessing a mind highly metaphysical, his writings are fantastical and obscure, and in wading through them, the reader seems as if lost in some entangled wood, where amid the ruggedness and distraction, many flowers of great beauty appear, although to pluck them he is liable to injury from the thorns that surround them.
Shelley has perhaps, as great a command of language as any modern Poet, and a most refined ear for all the touching music of versification; but still his ideas run into the most impenetrable obscurities of expression, and the metre of his verses is very often most unhappily chosen. Thus he will never be a general favourite with the public, although the genuine lover of poetry, will ever recur to his writings with pleasure, for he will find running throughout them, genuine sublimity of idea, a rich vein of deep thought, and powerful feeling, though alas ! what was Shelley's glory as a poet, was his shame as a man.
Shelley was peculiarly unhappy as regards his religious notions, and fell into many morbid fits of atheism and infidelity. Thus his writings are calculated to do serious injury to the viciously inclined, who generally form to themselves a creed from their own evil propensities; he who reads them and feels influenced by them, to acts, which religion, morality, and common sense, alike denounce, may be quite sure that his reasoning powers are exceedingly weak and imbecile, for no man of the commonest claim to intellectuality, can be for a moment beguiled by the false logic, and miserable sophistry of poor Shelley. We introduce his name among other of Britain's Poets, because he was a poet in the truest sense of the word; and to have left him out of this collection, because his opinions were at issue with our own, would have betrayed a want of that common charity, which is as much the Christian's ornament as the most exalted faith.
EXTRACTS FROM SHELLEY'S WORKS.
INVOCATION TO ALASTOR,
OR THE SPIRIT OF SOLITUDE.
Earth, ocean, air, beloved brotherhood !
Mother of this unfathomable world ! Favour my solemn song, for I have loved Thee ever, and thee only: I have watched Thy shadow, and the darkness of thy steps, And my heart ever gazes on the depth Of thy deep mysteries. I have made my bed In charnels and on coffins, where black death Keeps records of the trophies won from thee, Hoping to still these obstinate questionings Of thee and thine, by forcing some lone ghost, Thy messenger, to render up the tale Of what we are. In lone and silent hours, When night makes a weird sound of its own stillness, Like an inspired and desperate alchymist Staking his very life on some dark hope, Have I mixed awful talk and asking looks With my most innocent love, until strange tears Uniting with those breathless kisses, made