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    Ode to the West Wind

    by Percy Bysshe Shelley
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    O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,
    Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
    Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,
    Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
    Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou,
    Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed
    The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
    Each like a corpse within its grave, until
    Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow
    Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill
    (Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
    With living hues and odours plain and hill:
    Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
    Destroyer and preserver; hear, O hear!

    Thou on whose stream, 'mid the steep sky's commotion,
    Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are shed,
    Shook from the tangled boughs of heaven and ocean,
    Angels of rain and lightning; there are spread
    On the blue surface of thine airy surge,
    Like the bright hair uplifted from the head
    Of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge
    Of the horizon to the zenith's height -
    The locks of the approaching storm. Thou dirge
    Of the dying year, to which this closing night
    Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,
    Vaulted with all thy congregated might
    Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
    Black rain, and fire, and hail, will burst: O hear!

    Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams,
    The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
    Lulled by the coil of his crystalline streams,
    Beside a pumice isle in Baiae's bay,
    And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
    Quivering within the wave's intenser day,
    All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
    So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
    For whose path the Atlantic's level powers
    Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
    The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
    The sapless foliage of the ocean, know
    Thy voice, and suddenly grow grey with fear,
    And tremble and despoil themselves: O hear!

    If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
    If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
    A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share
    The impulse of thy strength, only less free
    Than thou, O uncontrollable! If even
    I were as in my boyhood, and could be
    The comrade of thy wanderings over heaven,
    As then, when to outstrip the skiey speed
    Scarce seemed a vision, I would ne'er have striven
    As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
    O, lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
    I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!
    A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed
    One too like thee: tameless, and swift, and proud.

    Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
    What if my leaves are falling like its own!
    The tumult of thy mighty harmonies
    Will take from both a deep autumnal tone,
    Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
    My spirit! be thou me, impetuous one!
    Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
    Like withered leaves, to quicken a new birth;
    And, by the incantation of this verse,
    Scatter, as from an unextinguished hearth
    Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
    Be through my lips to unawakened earth
    The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
    If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?
    If you're writing a Ode to the West Wind essay and need some advice, post your Percy Bysshe Shelley essay question on our Facebook page where fellow bookworms are always glad to help!

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