We are as clouds that veil the midnight moon;
How restlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver,
Streaking the darkness radiantly! ― yet soon
Night closes round, and they are lost for ever:
Or like forgotten lyres, whose dissonant strings
Give various response to each varying blast,
To whose frail frame no second motion brings
One mood or modulation like the last.
We rest. ― A dream has power to poison sleep;
We rise. ― One wandering thought pollutes the day;
We feel, conceive or reason, laugh or weep;
Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away:
It is the same! ― For, be it joy or sorrow,
The path of its departure stili is free:
Man’s yesterday may ne’er be like his morrow;
Nought may endure but Mutability.
Percy Bysshe Shelley, Alastor, or The Spirit of Solitude, London, 1816.