Percy Bysshe Shelley

(1792-1822 / Horsham / England)

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A Lament


O World! O Life! O Time!
On whose last steps I climb,
Trembling at that where I had stood before;
When will return the glory of your prime?
No more -Oh, never more!

Out of the day and night
A joy has taken flight:
Fresh spring, and summer, and winter hoar
Move my faint heart with grief, but with delight
No more -Oh, never more!

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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Read poems about / on: grief, winter, summer, spring, joy, world, night, time, heart, life

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Comments about this poem (A Lament by Percy Bysshe Shelley )

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  • Savita Tyagi (12/17/2012 8:54:00 AM)

    Love his lamentation. He is not the only one who feels it but he is the one who presents it so beautifully. (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (12/17/2011 2:05:00 AM)

    This is the poem written at the lowest ebb of his life! Can freshness of Spring and Summer be ever regained in Winter? Shelley asks quite contrary to his former poem in his best of mood saying 'If winter comes can spring be far behind? ' This is the perfect nature of a romantic poet one has to make a note! ! ! (Report) Reply

  • Mohammad Muzzammil (2/26/2011 10:46:00 AM)

    Wow! Nice expression along with beautiful language that have tempted my heart. The lament that shelley has presented in verbal means, is quite impressive. It is his spontenedity that we not only remember but miss him alot. (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (12/17/2009 4:49:00 AM)

    A heart that grieves over Spring and Summer might as well be dead, indeed is dead! I know what Shelley means, but there is a bit too much emotional wind under his sails in this poem. At the same time, his prosodic gift is marvellous. This poem looks simple to construct, but it is given to very few people to do so. (Report) Reply

  • Jesse Rudolph (12/17/2008 6:54:00 PM)

    Well I'm glad you have such an intimate personal understanding of a long dead poet. I think assumption of intentionality, other than what is eluded to in the text it self is pretty inane. I would say this poem is definitely about the regret of the passage of time. As you said yourself... theres little to inspect here. Why come back and contradict yourself with apologetics? I don't know about you, but in my observation, intricate rationalizations of uncharacteristic art is what artists and onlookers do after the fact, and it has little to do with the actual motivations of the artist at the time of the art's creation. Its more a way to keep people from thinking the artist insane or stupid. (Report) Reply

  • Michael Pruchnicki (12/17/2008 1:10:00 PM)

    Aside from the inane comments posted here about 'life is always a forward motion' and so on, there is nothing in 'A Lament' to ponder and think about. The poem is pure, unexpurgated Shelley at the height of an hysterical rant as a Romantic poet in tune with his outsize emotions. Shelley was at heart an heir of the Enlightenment, with its support of liberty and justice for all. This poem is not truly representative of Shelley's poetic skills (though it is well wrought!) or his serious side, such as his 'Hymn to Intellectual Beauty, ' a poem that explicates his ideas about Plato's philosophy. I don't think Shelley is regretting the passage of time as demonstrating his skills in versification - 'Look at this, Philistine! ' And we do, don't we, with envy in our hearts? (Report) Reply

  • Jona Polo-Ramirez (7/27/2008 9:41:00 AM)

    Life is always a forward motion. It has no place for regrets; regrets that are just a waste of time for other important things to ponder and think about.
    This is a poem we have to think and ponder about.
    Love this poet. Great one! (Report) Reply

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