a little night shelley

i am not fond of overly sentimental love poems, and i have a vehemently negative view of percy bysshe shelley.

for all that, i do love some of the images in his poem “love’s philosophy.” i only know, remember and like them because of a murder in the brilliant masterpiece mystery series lewis, however. take that, shelley.

The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the ocean,
The winds of heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single,
All things by a law divine
In one another’s being mingle –
Why not I with thine?

See the mountains kiss high heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdain’d its brother:
And the sunlight clasps the earth,
And the moonbeams kiss the sea –
What are all these kissings worth,
If thou kiss not me?


3 thoughts on “a little night shelley

  1. Shelley was, in fact, a consummate poet. I am always staggered by his ‘Ode to the West Wind’ – it strikes the reader as being so wild, anarchic, over-the-top, and yet it is contained with such control in five, linked terza rima sonnets (look for a reading by Michael Sheen on YouTube – it’s superb). There are so many layers to his famous ‘Ozymandias’, and it is a much more subtle and pointed poem than the similarly-themed poem by Horace Smith, to which it was a reply. Shelley is worth persevering with, he repays study.

    Marie Marshall

    • thanks for the comment, marie! there is no question that shelley was a gifted poet who could communicate beautiful, striking thoughts and images through his command of language. my distaste for him is not so much in regard to his poetry, but in how he treated his first wife, harriet, and the debacle with mary wollstonecraft godwin shelley. i do not deny his talent; i simply prefer other poetry to his, usually.

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