Lines, Written at Geneva; July, 1824

The hour is starry, and the airs that stray,
Sad wanderers from their golden home of day,
On night’s black mountain, melt and fade away
In sorrow that is music. Some there be
Make them blue pillows on Geneva’s sea,
And sleep upon their best-loved planet’s shade:
And every herb is sleeping in the glade;—
They have drunk sunshine and the linnet’s song,
Till every leaf’s soft sleep is dark and strong.
Or was there ever sound, or can what was
Now be so dead? Although no flowers or grass
Grow from the corpse of a deceased sound,
Somewhat, methinks, should mark the air around
Its dying place and tomb,
A gentle music, or a pale perfume:
For hath it not a body and a spirit,
A noise and meaning? and, when one doth hear it
Twice born, twice dying, doubly found and lost,
That second self, that echo, is its ghost.
But even the dead are all asleep this time,
And not a grave shakes with the dreams of crime:—
The earth is full of chambers for the dead,
And every soul is quiet in his bed;
Some who have seen their bodies moulder away,
Antediluvian minds,—most happy they,
Who have no body but the beauteous air,
No body but their minds. Some wretches are
Now lying with the last and only bone
Of their old selves, and that one worm alone
That ate their heart: some, buried just, behold
The weary flesh, like an used mansion, sold
Unto a stranger, and see enter it
The earthquake winds and waters of the pit,
Or children’s spirits in its holes to play.

[Kelsall, 1851]