The fifth in a series of pieces written to photographs taken by Nicholas James Seaton on our autumn/winter 2013 shoot in Canada. Each focuses on an element, albeit a non-traditional kind.

After staring at the above photograph endlessly, returning to it often, Daisy Garnett's mind was consumed by Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem Mont Blanc. 'It feels just plain wrong and fraudulent to try and write my own lines when he has already written everything I want to say, and in a way I never, ever could.' And so, here Daisy presents the the first two stanzas of Shelley's 'wonderful, consummate' poem Mont Blanc: Lines Written in the Vale of Chamouni.

I

The everlasting universe of things

Flows through the mind, and rolls its rapid waves,

Now darknow glitteringnow reflecting gloom

Now lending splendour, where from secret springs

The source of human thought its tribute brings

Of waterswith a sound but half its own,

Such as a feeble brook will oft assume,

In the wild woods, among the mountains lone,

Where waterfalls around it leap for ever,

Where woods and winds contend, and a vast river

Over its rocks ceaselessly bursts and raves.

II

Thus thou, Ravine of Arvedark, deep Ravine

Thou many-colour'd, many-voiced vale,

Over whose pines, and crags, and caverns sail

Fast cloud-shadows and sunbeams: awful scene,

Where Power in likeness of the Arve comes down

From the ice-gulfs that gird his secret throne,

Bursting through these dark mountains like the flame

Of lightning through the tempest;thou dost lie,

Thy giant brood of pines around thee clinging,

Children of elder time, in whose devotion

The chainless winds still come and ever came

To drink their odours, and their mighty swinging

To hearan old and solemn harmony;

Thine earthly rainbows stretch'd across the sweep

Of the aethereal waterfall, whose veil

Robes some unsculptur'd image; the strange sleep

Which when the voices of the desert fail

Wraps all in its own deep eternity;

Thy caverns echoing to the Arve's commotion,

A loud, lone sound no other sound can tame;

Thou art pervaded with that ceaseless motion,

Thou art the path of that unresting sound

Dizzy Ravine! and when I gaze on thee

I seem as in a trance sublime and strange

To muse on my own separate fantasy,

My own, my human mind, which passively

Now renders and receives fast influencings,

Holding an unremitting interchange

With the clear universe of things around;

One legion of wild thoughts, whose wandering wings

Now float above thy darkness, and now rest

Where that or thou art no unbidden guest,

In the still cave of the witch Poesy,

Seeking among the shadows that pass by

Ghosts of all things that are, some shade of thee,

Some phantom, some faint image; till the breast

From which they fled recalls them, thou art there!

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