Percy Bysshe Shelley

(1792-1822 / Horsham / England)

Hellas


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 sunnier 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.

O 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 naught 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.

O 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--
O might it die or rest at last!

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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  • Gore Lando (5/24/2010 7:01:00 PM)

    Where's the 'worlds on worlds are rolling over' bit? Can't find it on the site, though with Shelley's complex titling and subtitling schemes I may just be missing it. :) (Report) Reply

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