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James and Mary Ford, eds. Every Day in the Year. 1902.

February 23

An Elegy on the Death of John Keats

By Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792–1822)

(Died Feb. 23, 1821)
From “Adonais

I WEEP for ADONAIS—he is dead!

Oh, weep for Adonais! though our tears

Thaw not the frost which binds so dear a head!

And thou, sad, hour, selected from all years

To mourn our loss, rouse thy obscure compeers,

And teach them thine own sorrow; say: with me

Died Adonais; till the Future dares

Forget the Past, his fate and fame shall be

An echo and a light unto eternity!


He has outsoared the shadow of our night;

Envy and calumny, and hate and pain,

And that unrest which men miscall delight,

Can touch him not and torture not again;

From the contagion of the world’s slow stain

He is secure, and now can never mourn

A heart grown cold, a head grown gray in vain;

Nor, when the spirit’s self has ceased to burn,

With sparkless ashes load an unlamented urn.


The breath whose might I have invoked in song

Descends on me; my spirit’s bark is driven

Far from the shore, far from the trembling throng

Whose sails were never to the tempest given;

The massy earth and sphered skies are riven!

I am borne darkly, fearfully afar;

Whilst burning through the inmost veil of Heaven,

The soul of Adonais, like a star,

Beacons from the abode where the Eternal are.