Percy Bysshe Shelley

Aug. 4, 1792 - July 8, 1822


A Lament (Swifter far than summer's flight)

by Percy Bysshe Shelley


Swifter far than summer's flight --
Swifter far than youth's delight --
Swifter far than happy night,
Art thou come and gone --
As the earth when leaves are dead,
As the night when sleep is sped,
As the heart when joy is fled,
I am left lone, alone.


The swallow summer comes again --
The owlet night resumes her reign --
But the wild-swan youth is fain
To fly with thee, false as thou. --
My heart each day desires the morrow;
Sleep itself is turned to sorrow;
Vainly would my winter borrow
Sunny leaves from any bough.


Lilies for a bridal bed --
Roses for a matron's head --
Violets for a maiden dead --
Pansies let my flowers be:
On the living grave I bear
Scatter them without a tear --
Let no friend, however dear,
Waste one hope, one fear for me.


The Lyrics and Shorter Poems of Percy Bysshe Shelley
Copyright 1907, reprinted 1913
London: J.M. Dent and Sons, Ltd.
New York: E.P. Dutton and Co.