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One Sung of Thee who Left the Tale Untold -- Percy Bysshe Shelley

Rounding out Parker's "Trio of Lyrical Treats"
(Poem #1604) One Sung of Thee who Left the Tale Untold
 One sung of thee who left the tale untold,
    Like the false dawns which perish in the bursting;
 Like empty cups of wrought and daedal gold,
    Which mock the lips with air, when they are thirsting.
-- Percy Bysshe Shelley
       from "Percy Bysshe Shelley, Posthumous Poems", ed. Mary Shelley (1824)

Note:
  daedal:
   1. Ingenious and complex in design or function; intricate.
   2. Finely or skillfully made or employed; artistic.
         (after Daedalus, who "gave his name eponymously to any Greek artificer
   and to many Greek contraptions that represented dextrous skill."
(Wikipedia))

This is one of the "many short fragments from Shelley's MSS. published by
Mary Shelley, his wife, in her editions of 1824 and 1839", says
Representative Poetry Online, going on to note that she entitles this poem "A
Tale Untold". To my mind, these short fragments are some of the best, or at
least the most enjoyable stuff that Shelley produced, little gems that
reveal his genius for imagery without being dragged down to earth by his
rather uncertain ear for euphony.[1]

Too, I enjoy the "fragment" as a poetic form in its own right - a little
snatch of verse that is patently not a complete poem, but which nevertheless
stands very well on its own - often so well that an attempt to "complete" it
or work it into a larger poem would only dilute its impact. (See Tennyson's
"The Eagle" [Poem #15] for the best example I can think of). All in all, I
am distinctly grateful to Mary Shelley for preserving these gems of
Shelley's - Shelley is so widely acclaimed a poet that I always feel that I
am missing out on something in my dislike for the majority of his work.

martin

[1] to see what I mean, try reading "The Cloud"
[http://eir.library.utoronto.ca/rpo/display/poem1884.html] - there were
several wonderful bits in there, but the poem as a whole I had to force
myself to finish

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Shelley appears as himself in Peter Ackroyd's novel The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein. In this, Mary Shelley's Victor Frankenstein is portrayed as one of Shelley's close friends during his early life and marriage to Harriet, in an entertaining fictional nod to the doppelganger rumour.

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