Love Poems
Love Poems

Percy Bysshe Shelley (1820)

The fountains mingle with the river
And the rivers with the Ocean,
The winds of Heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
in one spirit meet and mingle.
Why not I with thine?-

See the mountains kiss high Heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What are all these kissings worth
If thou kiss not me?

This poem comes along a bit strange.
It describes some permanent natural phenomena. Water from a fountain runs down to a river, the river flows to an ocean. The winds of heaven are in movement getting mixed that way. This happens because of gravity or because of differences in air pressure. The author calls that a law divine. In 1820 he should have known, that this all happens following physical laws, not divine laws.
But to connect it with his aim, to persuade a lady to love him, it may have seemed more suitable to compare love with a divine law than with a physical law.
In the second stanza, the author goes deeper into detail. He not only wants to be loved, he also wants to get kissed. To persuade his lady to do that he describes some further very common events. Again physical laws are the reason for things happen. And then the genial conclusion, that waves mingling should be a good example for mankind to kiss each other.
Very romantic. That wouldn’t work nowadays but perhaps it worked back in the 19th century?