Tuesday, April 07, 2009

To ————

ONE word is often profaned!
For me to profane it,
One feeling too falsely disdained
For thee to disdain it.
One hope is too like despair
For prudence to smother,
And Pity from thee more dear
Than that from another.

I can give not what men call love
But wilt thou accept not
The worship the heart lifts above
And the heaven rejects not:
The desire of the moth for the star
Of the night for the morrow,
The devotion for something afar
From the sphere of our sorrow?


  1. I read two other beautiful poems from Shelley titled: "To -----". I'm sure that there are still some literary analysts hoping to put a name in the space offered. My personal belief is that Shelley, all his life, was looking for the perfect woman (whom he never met!) The poems are addressed to his idealistic dream. If he had known better, he might never have left Harriet.

  2. ..... or man. As Shelley was bisexual.


  3. Dear Bertus,
    As Voltaire wrote, "I don't agree with what you say, but I'll fight to the death for your right to say it."
    All the best, always.

  4. BTW, it wouldn't bother me if Shelley had been bisexual. But this poem was written for a woman. I know...

  5. I was commenting on you remark Shelley was looking for the perfect woman.


  6. Bertus - Now I understand. It's true that Shelley had been very disappointed also by some of his male friends. (Byron was a bit hard to tolerate at times!) As for his sexual inclinations, only literary psychologists (who read his poems with a microscope) pretend to know it all. I'm talking about Dr. Moore and Albert Mordell. I dismiss them with a shrug!

  7. I don't dismiss you, Bertus. You might have a good source of informations on Shelley's life.

    Best wishes!

  8. Claudia, Bertus,
    interesting thoughts. Thanks for sharing.

    Who would not at least once and for a while be dreaming of, longing for and be full of desire to find the ideal, the perfect love?
    Maybe, Shelley was on this very 'quest' throughout his short life.
    One could also say: He was never content with what he 'had'.
    Just a thought. :)

  9. Sorry for commenting late. I was off for a few days.

    Right, well said Sean!

    Claudia, never mind. Your reaction sounded so positive and sure, that i felt the urge to react in just a positive and sure way. Especially about aspects of Shelley's life we can never be sure about.

    However, it's good to see you taking such great interest in one of the great poets of that great early romantic period in Western Europe. (Three times great in one sentence, probably since i've run out of rimes during last sessions)


    PS. And we agree about Moore and Mordell

  10. Bertus - Sean is a diplomat. Although you and I held slightly different positions, he managed to agree with both of us.

    Fame has eluded me. In a way, I'm grateful. Nobody will ever want to know whom I truly loved, and whether I've been cruel to the people who loved me.

  11. Ha ha, Claudia, that was a good one!

    What made you think I'd agree with you? :))))))

    Joking aside, I think Bertus is right: We can speculate, which is / can be fascinating, but not more.
    Not more? Well, it's enough for a fine discussion, hm? :) Thanks to both of you.

  12. Total waste of my time, Sean. Never again!

  13. The effectiveness of "Never" always depends of the seriousness of the renounced subjects. In my lifetime, a few of my "Never" have been deeply felt emotionaly and have been faithfully followed.

    Here, it meant a waste of time on unimportant matters. Alas! you're right. I have been caught again discussing on blogs things which are really futile, or have been totally misunderstood. Still learning...Total silence might be the answer. Or just a rare appreciative word now and again. The gods will inspire me.:)