Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BUONA NOTTE, by FRANCIS THOMPSON



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BUONA NOTTE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Ariel to miranda: - hear
Last Line: It is to pluto that I go.
Subject(s): Poetry & Poets; Shelley, Percy Bysshe (1792-1822); Williams, Jane


Jane Williams, in her last letter to Shelley, wrote: 'Why do you talk of never enjoying moments
like the past? Are you going to join your friend Plato, or do you expect I shall do so soon?
Buona Notte.' This letter was dated July 6th, and Shelley was drowned on the 8th. These
verses are supposed to be addressed to Jane by the poet's spirit while his body is tossing on
the waters of Spezzia.

ARIEL to Miranda: -- Hear
This good-night the sea-winds bear;
And let thine unacquainted ear
Take grief for their interpreter.
Good-night! I have risen so high
Into slumber's rarity,
Not a dream can beat its feather
Through the unsustaining ether.
Let the sea-winds make avouch
How thunder summoned me to couch,
Tempest curtained me about
And turned the sun with his own hand out:
And though I toss upon my bed
My dream is not disquieted;
Nay, deep I sleep upon the deep,
And my eyes are wet, but I do not weep;
And I fell to sleep so suddenly
That my lips are moist yet -- could'st thou see --
With the good-night draught I have drunk to thee.
Thou canst not wipe them; for it was Death
Damped my lips that has dried my breath.
A little while -- it is not long --
The salt shall dry on them like the song.
Now know'st thou that voice desolate, --
Mourning ruined joy's estate, --
Reached thee through a closing gate.
'Go'st thou to Plato?' Ah, girl, no!
It is to Pluto that I go.





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