Percy Shelley wrote Epipsychidion between Dec. 1820 and Feb 1821. He described the poem as “an idealised history of my life and feelings”.

Epipsych chaos

Lines 394-407:

The hour is come: – the destined Star has risen

Which shall descend upon a vacant prison.

The walls are high, the gates are strong, thick set

The sentinels – but true love never yet

Was thus constrained: it overleaps all fence:

Like lightning, with invisible violence

Piercing its continents; like Heaven’s free breath,

Which he who grasps can hold not; liker Death,

Who rides upon a thought, and makes his way

Through temple, tower, and palace, and the array

Of arms: more strength has Love than he or they;

For it can burst his charnel, and make free

The limbs in chains, the heart in agony,

The soul in dust and chaos.


Image: a page from the MS draft of the poem, Bodleian Library.


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