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For a special Valentine’s Day performance at Keats House Museum in February 2019, my very talented Dad – Neil Mercer – set the words of Mary Shelley’s poem ‘Stanzas’ (‘Oh, come to me in dreams, my love!’) to music. Published in late 1838 in The Keepsake, the lines could be said to be emblematic of Mary Shelley’s work as a poet, as she uses verse to communicate her grief at the loss of Percy Bysshe Shelley and her loneliness as a widow (although I think Mary’s poetry does far more than that, too, and I hope to spend more time with her poetical compositions in my future research). The impassioned lines sound all the more moving when set to music.

Performed by Heidi Carascon and Neil Mercer.

Here is the video – enjoy.

Stanzas [“Oh, come to me in dreams, my love!”]

By Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Oh, come to me in dreams, my love!
I will not ask a dearer bliss;
Come with the starry beams, my love,
And press mine eyelids with thy kiss.
Twas thus, as ancient fables tell,
Love visited a Grecian maid,
Till she disturbed the sacred spell,
And woke to find her hopes betrayed.
But gentle sleep shall veil my sight,
And Psyche’s lamp shall darkling be,
When, in the visions of the night,
Thou dost renew thy vows to me.
Then come to me in dreams, my love,
I will not ask a dearer bliss;
Come with the starry beams, my love,
And press mine eyelids with thy kiss.
icon_24_Fig-55-Mary-Shelley-large_jpg200x200

Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

 

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