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Life, Like a Dome of Many-Coloured Glass May 4, 2011

Posted by sarahsfate in My Own Personal Trials, PostADay2011.
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Adonais - Percy Bysshe Shelley

 …the one remains, the many change…

Two days ago this phrase whispered in my mind, seemingly from nowhere. I’d heard it before, read it even, but there was not a single moment in all the day which would have suggested these words to me. The one remains, the many change. The first time I heard this I was in junior high school…what people now refer to as middle school. (sidenote: it is so strange to me how schools keep changing their tags). At the time, we read several things in class and for many years I confused this passage with something out of the Iliad.

When I read Adonais, I was immediately (in all my teenage angst) enthralled by its sorrow and perhaps that is why it has stuck with me. Here is the entire passage that murmurs in my head at whim:

The one remains, the many change and pass;
heaven’s light forever shines, Earth’s shadows fly;
life, like a dome of many coloured glass,
stains the white radiance of Eternity
if thou wouldst be with that which thou dost seek!
follow where all is fled! —Rome‘s azure sky,
flowers, ruins, statues, music, words, are weak
the glory they transfuse with fitting truth to speak.

You may be thinking this is quite boring for a blog and maybe you would be right. But I love it. I loved it when I was a teenager and I love it even more today when I understand life better. I could not begin to tell you what Shelley meant by each line but to me, its the whispered words of someone who has lost someone they care for and is now left behind to walk the streets once trampled by their friend.

The phrase in my mind  two days ago…well, people change. People are constantly changing, regardless of naysayers who say people don’t change — it happens. What they really mean is people don’t change for the better. You can change every day and still be just as terrible as you were the day before. Even though I admit willingly enough that I also change, the whispered phrase means to me that while I stand still, others move in fast-forward around me…changing, evolving, disappearing.

and life is like a dome of many-coloured glass.

Thou wert the morning star among the living,
Ere thy fair light had fled;
Now, having died, thou art as Hesperus, giving
New splendor to the dead.

I wonder why we always return to Rome. It’s always Rome.
Entire elegy here: (http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/poem/1879.html)

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