It’s been rather cold across much of the United States recently — even in areas of the South that rarely see below zero on a thermometer. So, how better to honor the cold than to soak in Shelley’s chillingly beautiful Lines.
By Percy Bysshe Shelley:
Lines: The cold earth slept below
The cold earth slept below;
Above the cold sky shone;
And all around,
With a chilling sound,
From caves of ice and fields of snow
The breath of night like death did flow
Beneath the sinking moon.
The wintry hedge was black;
The green grass was not seen;
The birds did rest
On the bare thorn’s breast,
Whose roots, beside the pathway track,
Had bound their folds o’er many a crack
Which the frost had made between.
Thine eyes glow’d in the glare
Of the moon’s dying light;
As a fen-fire’s beam
On a sluggish stream
Gleams dimly—so the moon shone there,
And it yellow’d the strings of thy tangled hair,
That shook in the wind of night.
The moon made thy lips pale, beloved;
The wind made thy bosom chill;
The night did shed
On thy dear head
Its frozen dew, and thou didst lie
Where the bitter breath of the naked sky
Might visit thee at will.
Poem courtesy of Percy Bysshe Shelley.
Image: Percy Bysshe Shelley, portrait by Alfred Clint (1819).