When the lamp is shattered

The light in the dust lies dead;

When the cloud is scattered,

The rainbow’s glory is shed.

When the lute is broken,

Sweet tones are remembered not;

When the lips have spoken,

Loved accents are soon forgot.


As music and splendor

Survive not the lamp and the lute

The heart’s echoes render

No song when the spirit is mute –

No song but sad dirges,

Like the wind through a ruined cell,

Or mournful surges

That ring the dead seamen’s knell.


When hearts have mingled

Love first leave the well-built nest;

The weak one is singled

To endure what it once possessed.

O Love! who bewailest

The frailty of all things here,

Why choose you the frailest

For your cradle, your home, and the bier?


Its passion will rock thee

As storms rock the ravens on high;

Bright reason will mock thee

Like the sun from a wintry sky.

From thy nest every rafter

Will rot, and thine eagle home

Leave thee naked to laughter,

When leaves fall and cold winds come.


Percy Bysshe Shelley