Front Page Titles (by Subject) THE SUNSET. - Posthumous Poems
THE SUNSET. - Percy Bysshe Shelley, Posthumous Poems 
Posthumous Poems (London: John and Henry L. Hunt, 1824).
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- There late was One within whose subtle being,
- As light and wind within some delicate cloud
- That fades amid the blue noon’s burning sky,
- Genius and youth contended. None may know
- The sweetness of the joy which made his breath
- Fail, like the trances of the summer air,
- When, with the Lady of his love, who then
- First knew the unreserve of mingled being,
- He walked along the pathway of a field
- Which to the east a hoar wood shadowed o’er,
- But to the west was open to the sky.
- There now the sun had sunk, but lines of gold
- Hung on the ashen clouds, and on the points
- Of the far level grass and nodding flowers
- And the old dandelion’s hoary beard,
- And, mingled with the shades of twilight, lay
- On the brown massy woods—and in the east
- The broad and burning moon lingeringly rose
- Between the black trunks of the crowded trees,
- While the faint stars were gathering overhead.—
- “Is it not strange, Isabel,” said the youth,
- “I never saw the sun? We will walk here
- To-morrow; thou shalt look on it with me.”
- That night the youth and lady mingled lay
- In love and sleep—but when the morning came
- The lady found her lover dead and cold.
- Let none believe that God in mercy gave
- That stroke. The lady died not, nor grew wild,
- But year by year lived on—in truth I think
- Her gentleness and patience and sad smiles,
- And that she did not die, but lived to tend
- Her aged father, were a kind of madness,
- If madness ’tis to be unlike the world.
- For but to see her were to read the tale
- Woven by some subtlest bard, to make hard hearts
- Dissolve away in wisdom-working grief;—
- Her eyelashes were worn away with tears,
- Her lips and cheeks were like things dead—so pale;
- Her hands were thin, and through their wandering veins
- And weak articulations might be seen
- Day’s ruddy light. The tomb of thy dead self
- Which one vexed ghost inhabits, night and day,
- Is all, lost child, that now remains of thee!
- “Inheritor of more than earth can give,
- Passionless, calm and silence unreproved,
- Whether the dead find, oh, not sleep! but rest,
- And are the uncomplaining things they seem,
- Or live, or drop in the deep sea of Love;
- Oh, that like thine, mine epitaph were—Peace!”
- This was the only moan she ever made.