The Shock Thinking of these, of beautiful brief things,
Of things that are of sense and spirit made,
Of meadow flowers, dense hedges and dark bushes
With roses trailing over nests of thrushes;

Of dews so pure and bright and flush'd and cool,
And like the flowers as brief as beautiful;
Thinking of the tall grass and daisies tall
And whispered music of the waving bents;

Of these that like a simple child I love
Since they are life and life is flowers and grass;
Thinking of trees, and water at their feet
Answering the trees with murmur childlike sweet;

Thinking of those high thoughts that passed like the wind
Yet left their brightness lying on the mind,
As the white blossoms the raw airs shake down
That lie awhile yet lovely on the chill grass;

Thinking of the dark, where all these end like cloud,
And the stars watch like Knights to Honour vowed,
Of those too lovely colours of the East,
And the too tender loveliness of grey:

Thinking of all, I was as one that stands
'Neath the bewildering shock of breaking seas;
Mortal-immortal things had lost their power,
I knew no more than sweetness in the flower;

No more than colour in the changing light,
No more than order in the stars of night;
A breathing tree was but gaunt wood and leaves;
All these had lost their old power over me.

I had forgotten that ever such things were:
Immortal-mortal, I had been but blind ...
O the wild sweetness of the renewing sense
That swept me and drove all but sweetness hence!

... As beautiful as brief--ah! lovelier,
Being but mortal. Yet I had great fear--
That I should die ere these sweet things were dead,
Or live on knowing the wild sweetness fled.

The Shock by John Frederick Freeman