The Triumph of Life, Love, and Being

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Let come what will, there is one thing worth, To have had fair love in the life upon earth: To have held love safe till the day grew night, While skies had colour and lips were red. Would I lose you now? And come what may after death to men, What thing worth this will the dead years breed? Lose life, lose all; but at least I know, O sweet life's love, having loved you so, Had I reached you on earth, I should lose not again, In death nor life, nor in dream or deed. Yea, I know this well: I had grown pure as the dawn and the dew, You had grown strong as the sun or the sea.

But none shall triumph a whole life through: For death is one, and the fates are three. At the door of life, by the gate of breath, There are worse things waiting for men than death; Death could not sever my soul and you, As these have severed your soul from me. You have chosen and clung to the chance they sent you, Life sweet as perfume and pure as prayer.

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But will it not one day in heaven repent you? Will they solace you wholly, the days that were? Will you lift up your eyes between sadness and bliss, Meet mine, and see where the great love is, And tremble and turn and be changed? Content you; The gate is strait; I shall not be there. But you, had you chosen, had you stretched hand, Had you seen good such a thing were done, I too might have stood with the souls that stand In the sun's sight, clothed with the light of the sun; But who now on earth need care how I live?

Have the high gods anything left to give, Save dust and laurels and gold and sand?

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Which gifts are goodly; but I will none. O all fair lovers about the world, There is none of you, none, that shall comfort me. My thoughts are as dead things, wrecked and whirled Round and round in a gulf of the sea; And still, through the sound and the straining stream, Through the coil and chafe, they gleam in a dream, The bright fine lips so cruelly curled, And strange swift eyes where the soul sits free.

Free, without pity, withheld from woe, Ignorant; fair as the eyes are fair.

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Moreover, in both sections of the poem key questions are asked: Shew whence I came, and where I am, and why—. Thou hast taken, and shalt not render again; Thou art full of thy dead, and cold as they. The Sun as he the stars. Swift years of liking and sweet long laughter, That wist not well of the years thereafter Till love woke, smitten at heart by a kiss, With lips that trembled and trailing wings?

Would I have you change now, change at a blow, Startled and stricken, awake and aware? Yea, if I could, would I have you see My very love of you filling me, And know my soul to the quick, as I know The likeness and look of your throat and hair? I shall not change you. Nay, though I might, Would I change my sweet one love with a word?

I had rather your hair should change in a night, Clear now as the plume of a black bright bird; Your face fail suddenly, cease, turn grey, Die as a leaf that dies in a day.

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I will keep my soul in a place out of sight, Far off, where the pulse of it is not heard. Far off it walks, in a bleak blown space, Full of the sound of the sorrow of years. I have woven a veil for the weeping face, Whose lips have drunken the wine of tears; I have found a way for the failing feet, A place for slumber and sorrow to meet; There is no rumour about the place, Nor light, nor any that sees or hears.

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I have hidden my soul out of sight, and said "Let none take pity upon thee, none Comfort thy crying: Have I not built thee a grave, and wrought Thy grave-clothes on thee of grievous thought, With soft spun verses and tears unshed, And sweet light visions of things undone? But thou, be at peace now, make no stir; Is not thy grave as a royal king's?

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Fret not thyself though the end were sore; Sleep, be patient, vex me no more. Sleep; what hast thou to do with her? The eyes that weep, with the mouth that sings? Your lithe hands draw me, your face burns through me, I am swift to follow you, keen to see; But love lacks might to redeem or undo me; As I have been, I know I shall surely be; "What should such fellows as I do?

And I play not for pity of these; but you, If you saw with your soul what man am I, You would praise me at least that my soul all through Clove to you, loathing the lives that lie; The souls and lips that are bought and sold, The smiles of silver and kisses of gold, The lapdog loves that whine as they chew, The little lovers that curse and cry.

There are fairer women, I hear; that may be; But I, that I love you and find you fair, Who are more than fair in my eyes if they be, Do the high gods know or the great gods care? Though the swords in my heart for one were seven, Should the iron hollow of doubtful heaven, That knows not itself whether night-time or day be, Reverberate words and a foolish prayer?

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The Triumph of Life was the last major work by Percy Bysshe Shelley before his death in The theme of the poem is an exploration of the nature of being and reality. For Shelley, life itself, the "painted veil" which . "The Fathers and the Power of Love: Allen Tate's Modern Triumph of Life." Border States: Journal of the . The Triumph of Life. By Percy Bysshe . Of all that is, has been, or will be done. —. So ill was . Conquered the heart by love which gold or pain. Or age or sloth .

I will go back to the great sweet mother, Mother and lover of men, the sea. I will go down to her, I and none other, Close with her, kiss her and mix her with me; Cling to her, strive with her, hold her fast: O fair white mother, in days long past Born without sister, born without brother, Set free my soul as thy soul is free.

O fair green-girdled mother of mine, Sea, that art clothed with the sun and the rain, Thy sweet hard kisses are strong like wine, Thy large embraces are keen like pain. Save me and hide me with all thy waves, Find me one grave of thy thousand graves, Those pure cold populous graves of thine Wrought without hand in a world without stain.

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The rule is clear enough: What choice do you have? These are false questions. Fear is your absolute, yet in each feature. But where is it? Where has it got us?

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