Adonais Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


I weep for Adonais he is deadA
O weep for Adonais though our tearsB
Thaw not the frost which binds so dear a headA
And thou sad Hour selected from all yearsC
To mourn our loss rouse thy obscure compeersC
And teach them thine own sorrow say With meD
Died Adonais till the Future daresC
Forget the Past his fate and fame shall beD
An echo and a light unto eternityD
Where wert thou mighty Mother when he layE
When thy Son lay pierced by the shaft which fliesC
In darkness where was lorn UraniaF
When Adonais died With veiled eyesC
Mid listening Echoes in her ParadiseC
She sate while one with soft enamoured breathG
Rekindled all the fading melodiesC
With which like flowers that mock the corse beneathH
He had adorned and hid the coming bulk of deathG
O weep for Adonais he is deadA
Wake melancholy Mother wake and weepI
Yet wherefore Quench within their burning bedA
Thy fiery tears and let thy loud heart keepI
Like his a mute and uncomplaining sleepI
For he is gone where all things wise and fairJ
Descend oh dream not that the amorous DeepI
Will yet restore him to the vital airJ
Death feeds on his mute voice and laughs at our despairJ
Most musical of mourners weep againF
Lament anew Urania He diedK
Who was the Sire of an immortal strainF
Blind old and lonely when his country's prideK
The priest the slave and the liberticideK
Trampled and mocked with many a loathed riteK
Of lust and blood he went unterrifiedK
Into the gulf of death but his clear SpriteK
Yet reigns o'er earth the third among the sons of lightK
Most musical of mourners weep anewF
Not all to that bright station dared to climbL
And happier they their happiness who knewF
Whose tapers yet burn through that night of timeL
In which suns perished others more sublimeL
Struck by the envious wrath of man or godK
Have sunk extinct in their refulgent primeL
And some yet live treading the thorny roadK
Which leads through toil and hate to Fame's serene abodeK
But now thy youngest dearest one has perishedK
The nursling of thy widowhood who grewF
Like a pale flower by some sad maiden cherishedK
And fed with true love tears instead of dewF
Most musical of mourners weep anewF
Thy extreme hope the loveliest and the lastK
The bloom whose petals nipped before they blewF
Died on the promise of the fruit is wasteK
The broken lily lies the storm is overpastK
To that high Capital where kingly DeathG
Keeps his pale court in beauty and decayE
He came and bought with price of purest breathG
A grave among the eternal Come awayE
Haste while the vault of blue Italian dayE
Is yet his fitting charnel roof while stillM
He lies as if in dewy sleep he layE
Awake him not surely he takes his fillM
Of deep and liquid rest forgetful of all illM
He will awake no more oh never moreN
Within the twilight chamber spreads apaceC
The shadow of white Death and at the doorN
Invisible Corruption waits to traceC
His extreme way to her dim dwelling placeC
The eternal Hunger sits but pity and aweO
Soothe her pale rage nor dares she to defaceC
So fair a prey till darkness and the lawP
Of change shall o'er his sleep the mortal curtain drawP
O weep for Adonais The quick DreamsC
The passion winged Ministers of thoughtK
Who were his flocks whom near the living streamsC
Of his young spirit he fed and whom he taughtK
The love which was its music wander notK
Wander no more from kindling brain to brainF
But droop there whence they sprung and mourn their lotK
Round the cold heart where after their sweet painF
They ne'er will gather strength or find a home againF
And one with trembling hands clasps his cold headK
And fans him with her moonlight wings and criesC
Our love our hope our sorrow is not deadK
See on the silken fringe of his faint eyesC
Like dew upon a sleeping flower there liesC
A tear some Dream has loosened from his brainF
Lost Angel of a ruined ParadiseC
She knew not 'twas her own as with no stainF
She faded like a cloud which had outwept its rainF
One from a lucid urn of starry dewK
Washed his light limbs as if embalming themQ
Another clipped her profuse locks and threwK
The wreath upon him like an anademQ
Which frozen tears instead of pearls begemQ
Another in her wilful grief would breakR
Her bow and winged reeds as if to stemQ
A greater loss with one which was more weakS
And dull the barbed fire against his frozen cheekS
Another Splendour on his mouth alitK
That mouth whence it was wont to draw the breathG
Which gave it strength to pierce the guarded witK
And pass into the panting heart beneathH
With lightning and with music the damp deathG
Quenched its caress upon his icy lipsC
And as a dying meteor stains a wreathH
Of moonlight vapour which the cold night clipsC
It flushed through his pale limbs and passed to its eclipseC
And others came Desires and AdorationsC
Winged Persuasions and veiled DestiniesC
Splendours and Glooms and glimmering IncarnationsC
Of hopes and fears and twilight PhantasiesC
And Sorrow with her family of SighsC
And Pleasure blind with tears led by the gleamQ
Of her own dying smile instead of eyesC
Came in slow pomp the moving pomp might seemQ
Like pageantry of mist on an autumnal streamQ
All he had loved and moulded into thoughtK
From shape and hue and odour and sweet soundK
Lamented Adonais Morning soughtK
Her eastern watch tower and her hair unboundK
Wet with the tears which should adorn the groundK
Dimmed the aereal eyes that kindle dayK
Afar the melancholy thunder moanedK
Pale Ocean in unquiet slumber layK
And the wild Winds flew round sobbing in their dismayK
Lost Echo sits amid the voiceless mountainsC
And feeds her grief with his remembered layK
And will no more reply to winds or fountainsC
Or amorous birds perched on the young green sprayK
Or herdsman's horn or bell at closing dayK
Since she can mimic not his lips more dearT
Than those for whose disdain she pined awayK
Into a shadow of all sounds a drearT
Murmur between their songs is all the woodmen hearT
Grief made the young Spring wild and she threw downF
Her kindling buds as if she Autumn wereT
Or they dead leaves since her delight is flownF
For whom should she have waked the sullen yearT
To Phoebus was not Hyacinth so dearT
Nor to himself Narcissus as to bothU
Thou Adonais wan they stand and sereT
Amid the faint companions of their youthV
With dew all turned to tears odour to sighing ruthV
Thy spirit's sister the lorn nightingaleW
Mourns not her mate with such melodious painF
Not so the eagle who like thee could scaleW
Heaven and could nourish in the sun's domainF
Her mighty youth with morning doth complainF
Soaring and screaming round her empty nestK
As Albion wails for thee the curse of CainF
Light on his head who pierced thy innocent breastK
And scared the angel soul that was its earthly guestK
Ah woe is me Winter is come and goneF
But grief returns with the revolving yearT
The airs and streams renew their joyous toneF
The ants the bees the swallows reappearT
Fresh leaves and flowers deck the dead Season's bierT
The amorous birds now pair in every brakeR
And build their mossy homes in field and brereT
And the green lizard and the golden snakeR
Like unimprisoned flames out of their trance awakeR
Through wood and stream and field and hill and OceanF
A quickening life from the Earth's heart has burstK
As it has ever done with change and motionF
From the great morning of the world when firstK
God dawned on Chaos in its stream immersedK
The lamps of Heaven flash with a softer lightK
All baser things pant with life's sacred thirstK
Diffuse themselves and spend in love's delightK
The beauty and the joy of their renewed mightK
The leprous corpse touched by this spirit tenderT
Exhales itself in flowers of gentle breathG
Like incarnations of the stars when splendourT
Is changed to fragrance they illumine deathG
And mock the merry worm that wakes beneathH
Nought we know dies Shall that alone which knowsC
Be as a sword consumed before the sheathH
By sightless lightning the intense atom glowsC
A moment then is quenched in a most cold reposeC
Alas that all we loved of him should beD
But for our grief as if it had not beenF
And grief itself be mortal Woe is meD
Whence are we and why are we of what sceneF
The actors or spectators Great and meanF
Meet massed in death who lends what life must borrowT
As long as skies are blue and fields are greenF
Evening must usher night night urge the morrowT
Month follow month with woe and year wake year to sorrowT
He will awake no more oh never moreT
Wake thou cried Misery childless Mother riseC
Out of thy sleep and slake in thy heart's coreT
A wound more fierce than his with tears and sighsC
And all the Dreams that watched Urania's eyesC
And all the Echoes whom their sister's songX
Had held in holy silence cried AriseC
Swift as a Thought by the snake Memory stungY
From her ambrosial rest the fading Splendour sprungY
She rose like an autumnal Night that springsC
Our of the East and follows wild and drearT
The golden Day which on eternal wingsC
Even as a ghost abandoning a bierT
Had left the Earth a corpse Sorrow and fearT
So struck so roused so rapt UraniaF
So saddened round her like an atmosphereT
Of stormy mist so swept her on her wayK
Even to the mournful place where Adonais layK
Our of her secret Paradise she spedK
Through camps and cities rough with stone and steelZ
And human hearts which to her aery treadK
Yielding not wounded the invisibleA2
Palms of her tender feet where'er they fellB2
And barbed tongues and thoughts more sharp than theyK
Rent the soft Form they never could repelB2
Whose sacred blood like the young tears of MayK
Paved with eternal flowers that undeserving wayK
In the death chamber for a moment DeathG
Shamed by the presence of that living MightK
Blushed to annihilation and the breathG
Revisited those lips and Life's pale lightK
Flashed through those limbs so late her dear delightK
Leave me not wild and drear and comfortlessC
As silent lightning leaves the starless nightK
Leave me not cried Urania her distressC
Roused Death Death rose and smiled and met her vain caressC
'Stay yet awhile speak to me once againF
Kiss me so long but as a kiss may liveC2
And in my heartless breast and burning brainF
That word that kiss shall all thoughts else surviveC2
With food of saddest memory kept aliveC2
Now thou art dead as if it were a partK
Of thee my Adonais I would giveD2
All that I am to be as thou now artK
But I am chained to Time and cannot thence departK
O gentle child beautiful as thou wertK
Why didst thou leave the trodden paths of menF
Too soon and with weak hands though mighty heartK
Dare the unpastured dragon in his denF
Defenceless as thou wert oh where was thenF
Wisdom the mirrored shield or scorn the spearT
Or hadst thou waited the full cycle whenF
Thy spirit should have filled its crescent sphereT
The monsters of life's waste had fled from thee like deerT
The herded wolves bold only to pursueC
The obscene ravens clamorous o'er the deadK
The vultures to the conqueror's banner trueC
Who feed where Desolation first has fedK
And whose wings rain contagion how they fledK
When like Apollo from his golden bowE2
The Pythian of the age one arrow spedK
And smiled The spoilers tempt no second blowT
They fawn on the proud feet that spurn them lying lowT
The sun comes forth and many reptiles spawnF
He sets and each ephemeral insect thenF
Is gathered into death without a dawnF
And the immortal stars awake againF
So is it in the world of living menF
A godlike mind soars forth in its delightK
Making earth bare and veiling heaven and whenF
It sinks the swarms that dimmed or shared its lightK
Leave to its kindred lamps the spirit's awful nightK
Thus ceased she and the mountain shepherds cameQ
Their garlands sere their magic mantles rentK
The Pilgrim of Eternity whose fameQ
Over his living head like Heaven is bentK
An early but enduring monumentK
Came veiling all the lightnings of his songX
In sorrow from her wilds Irene sentK
The sweetest lyrist of her saddest wrongX
And Love taught Grief to fall like music from his tongueY
Midst others of less note came one frail FormQ
A phantom among men companionlessC
As the last cloud of an expiring stormQ
Whose thunder is its knell he as I guessC
Had gazed on Nature's naked lovelinessC
Actaeon like and now he fled astrayK
With feeble steps o'er the world's wildernessC
And his own thoughts along that rugged wayK
Pursued like raging hounds their father and their preyK
A pardlike Spirit beautiful and swiftK
A Love in desolation masked a PowerT
Girt round with weakness it can scarce upliftK
The weight of the superincumbent hourT
It is a dying lamp a falling showerT
A breaking billow even whilst we speakS
Is it not broken On the withering flowerT
The killing sun smiles brightly on a cheekS
The life can burn in blood even while the heart may breakR
His head was bound with pansies overblownF
And faded violets white and pied and blueC
And a light spear topped with a cypress coneF
Round whose rude shaft dark ivy tresses grewC
Yet dripping with the forest's noonday dewC
Vibrated as the ever beating heartK
Shook the weak hand that grasped it of that crewC
He came the last neglected and apartK
A herd abandoned deer struck by the hunter's dartK
All stood aloof and at his partial moanF
Smiled through their tears well knew that gentle bandK
Who in another's fate now wept his ownF
As in the accents of an unknown landK
He sung new sorrow sad Urania scannedK
The Stranger's mien and murmured Who art thouE2
He answered not but with a sudden handK
Made bare his branded and ensanguined browE2
Which was like Cain's or Christ's oh that it should be soC
What softer voice is hushed over the deadK
Athwart what brow is that dark mantle thrownF
What form leans sadly o'er the white death bedK
In mockery of monumental stoneF
The heavy heart heaving without a moanF
If it be He who gentlest of the wiseC
Taught soothed loved honoured the departed oneF
Let me not vex with inharmonious sighsC
The silence of that heart's accepted sacrificeC
Our Adonais has drunk poison ohC
What deaf and viperous murderer could crownF
Life's early cup with such a draught of woeC
The nameless worm would now itself disownF
It felt yet could escape the magic toneF
Whose prelude held all envy hate and wrongX
But what was howling in one breast aloneF
Silent with expectation of the songX
Whose master's hand is cold whose silver lyre unstrungX
Live thou whose infamy is not thy fameQ
Live fear no heavier chastisement from meD
Thou noteless blot on a remembered nameQ
But be thyself and know thyself to beD
And ever at thy season be thou freeD
To spill the venom when thy fangs o'erflowC
Remorse and Self contempt shall cling to theeD
Hot Shame shall burn upon thy secret browE2
And like a beaten hound tremble thou shalt as nowE2
Nor let us weep that our delight is fledK
Far from these carrion kites that scream belowC
He wakes or sleeps with the enduring deadK
Thou canst not soar where he is sitting nowE2
Dust to the dust but the pure spirit shall flowC
Back to the burning fountain whence it cameQ
A portion of the Eternal which must glowC
Through time and change unquenchably the sameQ
Whilst thy cold embers choke the sordid hearth of shameQ
Peace peace he is not dead he doth not sleepI
He hath awakened from the dream of lifeF2
'Tis we who lost in stormy visions keepI
With phantoms an unprofitable strifeF2
And in mad trance strike with our spirit's knifeF2
Invulnerable nothings We decayX
Like corpses in a charnel fear and griefG2
Convulse us and consume us day by dayX
And cold hopes swarm like worms within our living clayX
He has outsoared the shadow of our nightK
Envy and calumny and hate and painF
And that unrest which men miscall delightK
Can touch him not and torture not againF
From the contagion of the world's slow stainF
He is secure and now can never mournF
A heart grown cold a head grown grey in vainF
Nor when the spirit's self has ceased to burnF
With sparkless ashes load an unlamented urnF
He lives he wakes 'tis Death is dead not heD
Mourn not for Adonais Thou young DawnF
Turn all thy dew to splendour for from theeD
The spirit thou lamentest is not goneF
Ye caverns and ye forests cease to moanF
Cease ye faint flowers and fountains and thou AirT
Which like a mourning veil thy scarf hadst thrownF
O'er the abandoned Earth now leave it bareT
Even to the joyous stars which smile on its despairT
He is made one with Nature there is heardK
His voice in all her music from the moanF
Of thunder to the song of night's sweet birdK
He is a presence to be felt and knownF
In darkness and in light from herb and stoneF
Spreading itself where'er that Power may moveH2
Which has withdrawn his being to its ownF
Which wields the world with never wearied loveI2
Sustains it from beneath and kindles it aboveI2
He is a portion of the lovelinessC
Which once he made more lovely he doth bearT
His part while the one Spirit's plastic stressC
Sweeps through the dull dense world compelling thereT
All new successions to the forms they wearT
Torturing th' unwilling dross that checks its flightK
To its own likeness as each mass may bearT
And bursting in its beauty and its mightK
From trees and beasts and men into the Heavens' lightK
The splendours of the firmament of timeQ
May be eclipsed but are extinguished notK
Like stars to their appointed height they climbQ
And death is a low mist which cannot blotK
The brightness it may veil When lofty thoughtK
Lifts a young heart above its mortal lairT
And love and life contend in it for whatK
Shall be its earthly doom the dead live thereT
And move like winds of light on dark and stormy airT
The inheritors of unfulfilled renownF
Rose from their thrones built beyond mortal thoughtK
Far in the Unapparent ChattertonF
Rose pale his solemn agony had notK
Yet faded from him Sidney as he foughtK
And as he fell and as he lived and lovedK
Sublimely mild a Spirit without spotK
Arose and Lucan by his death approvedK
Oblivion as they rose shrank like a thing reprovedK
And many more whose names on Earth are darkX
But whose transmitted effluence cannot dieK
So long as fire outlives the parent sparkX
Rose robed in dazzling immortalityK
Thou art become as one of us they cryK
It was for thee yon kingless sphere has longX
Swung blind in unascended majestyK
Silent alone amid an Heaven of SongX
Assume thy winged throne thou Vesper of our throngX
Who mourns for Adonais Oh come forthJ2
Fond wretch and know thyself and him arightK
Clasp with thy panting soul the pendulous EarthK2
As from a centre dart thy spirit's lightK
Beyond all worlds until its spacious mightK
Satiate the void circumference then shrinkX
Even to a point within our day and nightK
And keep thy heart light lest it make thee sinkX
When hope has kindled hope and lured thee to the brinkX
Or go to Rome which is the sepulchreK
Oh not of him but of our joy 'tis noughtK
That ages empires and religions thereK
Lie buried in the ravage they have wroughtK
For such as he can lend they borrow notK
Glory from those who made the world their preyK
And he is gathered to the kings of thoughtK
Who waged contention with their time's decayK
And of the past are all that cannot pass awayK
Go thou to Rome at once the ParadiseC
The grave the city and the wildernessC
And where its wrecks like shattered mountains riseC
And flowering weeds and fragrant copses dressC
The bones of Desolation's nakednessC
Pass till the spirit of the spot shall leadK
Thy footsteps to a slope of green accessC
Where like an infant's smile over the deadK
A light of laughing flowers along the grass is spreadK
And grey walls moulder round on which dull TimeQ
Feeds like slow fire upon a hoary brandK
And one keen pyramid with wedge sublimeQ
Pavilioning the dust of him who plannedK
This refuge for his memory doth standK
Like flame transformed to marble and beneathH
A field is spread on which a newer bandK
Have pitched in Heaven's smile their camp of deathG
Welcoming him we lose with scarce extinguished breathG
Here pause these graves are all too young as yetK
To have outgrown the sorrow which consignedK
Its charge to each and if the seal is setK
Here on one fountain of a mourning mindK
Break it not thou too surely shalt thou findK
Thine own well full if thou returnest homeQ
Of tears and gall From the world's bitter windK
Seek shelter in the shadow of the tombQ
What Adonais is why fear we to becomeQ
The One remains the many change and passC
Heaven's light forever shines Earth's shadows flyK
Life like a dome of many coloured glassC
Stains the white radiance of EternityK
Until Death tramples it to fragments DieK
If thou wouldst be with that which thou dost seekX
Follow where all is fled Rome's azure skyK
Flowers ruins statues music words are weakX
The glory they transfuse with fitting truth to speakX
Why linger why turn back why shrink my HeartK
Thy hopes are gone before from all things hereK
They have departed thou shouldst now departK
A light is passed from the revolving yearK
And man and woman and what still is dearK
Attracts to crush repels to make thee witherK
The soft sky smiles the low wind whispers nearK
'Tis Adonais calls oh hasten thitherK
No more let Life divide what Death can join togetherK
That Light whose smile kindles the UniverseC
That Beauty in which all things work and moveH2
That Benediction which the eclipsing CurseC
Of birth can quench not that sustaining LoveI2
Which through the web of being blindly woveL2
By man and beast and earth and air and seaK
Burns bright or dim as each are mirrors ofI2
The fire for which all thirst now beams on meK
Consuming the last clouds of cold mortalityK
The breath whose might I have invoked in songX
Descends on me my spirit's bark is drivenF
Far from the shore far from the trembling throngX
Whose sails were never to the tempest givenF
The massy earth and sphered skies are rivenF
I am borne darkly fearfully afarK
Whilst burning through the inmost veil of HeavenF
The soul of Adonais like a starK
Beacons from the abode where the Eternal areK

Percy Bysshe Shelley


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