Monday, 13 January 2020

Poetry Revisited: Dirge for the Year by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Dirge for the Year

(from Posthumous Poems: 1824)

Orphan hours, the year is dead;
          Come and sigh, come and weep;
Merry hours smile instead,
          For the year is but asleep:
See, it smiles as it is sleeping,
Mocking your untimely weeping.

As an earthquake rocks a corse
          In its coffin in the clay,
So white Winter, that rough nurse,
          Rocks the dead-cold year to-day.
Solemn hours ! wail aloud
For your mother in her shroud.

As the wild air stirs and sways
          The tree-swung cradle of a child,
So the breath of these rude days
          Rocks the year: be calm and mild,
Trembling hours; she will arise
With new love within her eyes.

January grey is here,
          Like a sexton by her grave;
February bears the bier,
          March with grief doth howl and rave;
And April weeps but, O ye hours!
Follow with May's fairest flowers.

January 1, 1821

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792-1822)
English Romantic poet

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