Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
Percy Bysshe Shelley. 1792–1822
  
616. The Question
  
I DREAM'D that, as I wander'd by the way, 
  Bare Winter suddenly was changed to Spring; 
And gentle odours led my steps astray, 
  Mix'd with a sound of waters murmuring 
Along a shelving bank of turf, which lay         5
  Under a copse, and hardly dared to fling 
Its green arms round the bosom of the stream, 
But kiss'd it and then fled, as thou mightest in dream. 
 
There grew pied wind-flowers and violets; 
  Daisies, those pearl'd Arcturi of the earth,  10
The constellated flower that never sets; 
  Faint oxlips; tender bluebells, at whose birth 
The sod scarce heaved; and that tall flower that wets— 
  Like a child, half in tenderness and mirth— 
Its mother's face with heaven-collected tears  15
When the low wind, its playmate's voice, it hears. 
 
And in the warm hedge grew lush eglantine, 
  Green cowbind and the moonlight-colour'd May, 
And cherry-blossoms, and white cups whose wine 
  Was the bright dew yet drain'd not by the day;  20
And wild roses, and ivy serpentine, 
  With its dark buds and leaves wandering astray; 
And flowers, azure, black, and streak'd with gold, 
Fairer than any waken'd eyes behold. 
 
And nearer to the river's trembling edge  25
  There grew broad flag-flowers, purple prank'd with white, 
And starry river-buds among the sedge, 
  And floating water-lilies, broad and bright, 
Which lit the oak that overhung the hedge 
  With moonlight beams of their own watery light;  30
And bulrushes, and reeds of such deep green 
As soothed the dazzled eye with sober sheen. 
 
Methought that of these visionary flowers 
  I made a nosegay, bound in such a way 
That the same hues which in their natural bowers  35
  Were mingled or opposed, the like array 
Kept these imprison'd children of the Hours 
  Within my hand;—and then, elate and gay, 
I hasten'd to the spot whence I had come, 
That I might there present it—O! to whom?  40
 
 
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