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Poem by Emily Jane Pfeiffer



THERE lies betwixt dead Pisa and the sea
A haunted forest, with a heart so deep,
That none could sit beneath its pines to weep,
But it would throb for them mysteriously.
Here, in this place I dreamed there met with me
The spirit who his part in it doth keep,
Albeit his starry orbit now hath sweep
As vast as Galileo's, if more free.

He drew me on to where the hollow beat
Of waves upon a shore seemed to my mind
The moan of a remorseful soul, to weet
The homicidal Sea, whose passion blind
Had slain him; as it writhed about my feet
Methought his spirit passed me on the wind.


Wild Sea, that drank his life to quench the thirst
Thou had'st of him; and all devouring Fire,
Who made his body thine with love as dire;
Air pregnate with his breath, and thou accurst,
Mother of Sorrows, Earth, whose claim is first
Upon thy children dead, who from the pyre
Received his dust,what did his soul require
Wring from yeere your Protean bonds he burst?

Perchance ye failed to reach him, and he hath
O'er-leapt the rounds of change the earthlier dead
May weary through, nor needing Lethean bath
To speed anew his soul's ethereal tread,
Hath left the elements, spurned from his path,
To challenge grosser spirits in his stead. 

Emily Jane Pfeiffer

Emily Jane Pfeiffer's other poems:
  1. A Ballad of the Thuner-See
  2. Two Sonnets
  3. Deaf
  4. Transfiguration
  5. Beating the Air

Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • James McIntyre Shelley ("England had triplets at a birth")
  • Henry Van Dyke Shelley ("Knight-errant of the Never-ending Quest")

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