"To A Skylark"
by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)



1       Hail to thee, blithe Spirit! 
2         Bird thou never wert, 
3      That from Heaven, or near it, 
4         Pourest thy full heart 
5   In profuse strains of unpremeditated art. 

6      Higher still and higher 
7         From the earth thou springest 
8      Like a cloud of fire; 
9         The blue deep thou wingest, 
10   And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest. 

11      In the golden lightning 
12         Of the sunken sun, 
13      O'er which clouds are bright'ning, 
14         Thou dost float and run; 
15   Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun. 

16      The pale purple even 
17         Melts around thy flight; 
18      Like a star of Heaven, 
19         In the broad daylight 
20   Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight, 

21      Keen as are the arrows 
22         Of that silver sphere, 
23      Whose intense lamp narrows 
24         In the white dawn clear 
25   Until we hardly see---we feel that it is there. 

26      All the earth and air 
27         With thy voice is loud, 
28      As, when night is bare, 
29         From one lonely cloud 
30   The moon rains out her beams, and Heaven is overflowed. 

31      What thou art we know not; 
32         What is most like thee? 
33      From rainbow clouds there flow not 
34         Drops so bright to see 
35   As from thy presence showers a rain of melody. 

36      Like a Poet hidden 
37         In the light of thought, 
38      Singing hymns unbidden, 
39         Till the world is wrought 
40   To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not: 

41      Like a high-born maiden 
42         In a palace-tower, 
43      Soothing her love-laden 
44         Soul in secret hour 
45   With music sweet as love, which overflows her bower: 

46      Like a glow-worm golden 
47         In a dell of dew, 
48      Scattering unbeholden 
49         Its aëreal hue 
50   Among the flowers and grass, which screen it from the view! 

51      Like a rose embowered 
52         In its own green leaves, 
53      By warm winds deflowered, 
54         Till the scent it gives 
55   Makes faint with too much sweet those heavy-wingèd thieves: 

56      Sound of vernal showers 
57         On the twinkling grass, 
58      Rain-awakened flowers, 
59         All that ever was 
60   Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass: 

61      Teach us, Sprite or Bird, 
62         What sweet thoughts are thine: 
63      I have never heard 
64         Praise of love or wine 
65   That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine. 

66      Chorus Hymeneal, 
67         Or triumphal chant, 
68      Matched with thine would be all 
69         But an empty vaunt, 
70   A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want. 

71      What objects are the fountains 
72         Of thy happy strain? 
73      What fields, or waves, or mountains? 
74         What shapes of sky or plain? 
75   What love of thine own kind? what ignorance of pain? 

76      With thy clear keen joyance 
77         Languor cannot be: 
78      Shadow of annoyance 
79         Never came near thee: 
80   Thou lovest---but ne'er knew love's sad satiety. 

81      Waking or asleep, 
82         Thou of death must deem 
83      Things more true and deep 
84         Than we mortals dream, 
85   Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream? 

86      We look before and after, 
87         And pine for what is not: 
88      Our sincerest laughter 
89         With some pain is fraught; 
90   Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought. 

91      Yet if we could scorn 
92         Hate, and pride, and fear; 
93      If we were things born 
94         Not to shed a tear, 
95   I know not how thy joy we ever should come near. 

96      Better than all measures 
97         Of delightful sound, 
98      Better than all treasures 
99         That in books are found, 
100   Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground! 

101      Teach me half the gladness 
102         That thy brain must know, 
103      Such harmonious madness 
104         From my lips would flow 
105   The world should listen then---as I am listening now.