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I have never heard

Praise of love or wine 65 That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.

Chorus Hymeneal,

Or triumphal chaunt,
Matched with thine, would be all

But an empty vaunt,
70 A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.

What objects are the fountains

Of thy happy strain ?
What fields or waves or mountains ?

What shapes of sky or plain? 75 What love of thine own kind? what ignorance of pain?

With thy clear keen joyance

Languor cannot be;
Shadow of annoyance

Never came near thee;
80 Thou lovest-but ne'er knew love's sad satiety.

Waking or asleep

Thou of death must deem
Things more true and deep

Than we mortals dream85 Or how could thy notes flow in such a crystal stream?

We look before and after,

And pine for what is not;
Our sincerest laughter

With some pain is fraught; 90 Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought.

Yet if we could scorn

Hate and pride and fear;
If we were things born

Not to shed a tear,
95 I know not how thy joy we ever should come near.

Better than all measures

Of delightful sound,
Better than all treasures

That in books are found,
100 Thy skill to poet were, thou scorner of the ground !

Teach me half the gladness

That thy brain must know,
Such harmonious madness

From my lips would flow,
105 The world should listen then—as I am listening now.


Biographical and Historical: Percy Bysshe Shelley was born in 1792. He was an English poet who traveled much in Europe, and found Italy especially to his liking. His life was short and full of storm and stress, although he never allowed his personal sufferings to embitter his spirit. While only thirty, on a pleasure cruise off the coast of Italy, he was drowned.

To a Skylark” and “The Cloud” are rare poems because of their wonderful harmony of sound.

The skylark is found in northern Europe. It is noted for its lofty flights and wonderful song. Note that Shelley, Wordsworth, and James Hogg have all written poems about the skylark.

Notes and Questions

What country is the home of these

poets? What does this fact sug

gest to you? Explain the simile in the fifth

stanza. In the sixth. In the seventh stanza what two

words are contrasted? Note the four comparisons-stan

zas eight, nine, ten and eleven.

Which do you like best? Why? In line 86 emphasize the first word

and explain the stanza. In line 95 emphasize the fifth word

and explain the stanza. In line 96 to end, what does Shelley

say would be the result if a poet could feel such joy as the little

bird seems to feel? If we had no dark days do you

think we could appreciate the

bright days? If we had no sadness could we

appreciate the songs of gladness? If Shelley had never experienced

sadness could he have written this beautiful poem of gladness?

Explain the following:

Make a list of all the names he 6.There is no music in the life gives the skylark. That sounds with empty laughter Enumerate the expressions Shelley wholly;

uses in characterizing the song. There's not a string attuned to Which stanza do you like best? mirth

Why? But has its chord in melancholy.' "wert” rhymes with heart. (In What does the skylark mean to England the sound is broad, er = Shelley?

är). If we think only of being happy "even”-a contraction of even

shall we be very helpful to oth ing. ers?

Words and Phrases for Discussion profuse strains”

“panted forth” “heavy-winged thieves"unpremeditated art” “rain of melody" "harmonious madness's "shrill delight”

“flood of rapture” "float and run" "rains out"

triumphant chaunt" “scattering unbeholden's



I BRING fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,

From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid

In their noon-day dreams;
5 From my wings are shaken the dews that waken

The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother's breast,

As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
10. And whiten the green plains under;
And then again I dissolve it in rain,

And laugh as I pass in thunder.

I sift the snow on the mountains below,

And their great pines groan aghast;

15 And all the night 'tis my pillow white,

While I sleep in the arms of the blast.
Sublime on the towers of my skyey bowers,

Lightning, my pilot, sits;
In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,-

It struggles and howls by fits;
Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,

This pilot is guiding me,
Lured by the love of the genii that move

In the depths of the purple sea;
25 Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,

Over the lakes and the plains,
Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,

The spirit he loves remains;
And I, all the while, bask in heaven's blue smile,

Whilst he is dissolving in rains.

The sanguine sunrise, with his meteor eyes,

And his burning plumes outspread,
Leaps on the back of my sailing rack,

When the morning-star shines dead, 35 As on the jag of a mountain-crag,

Which an earthquake rocks and swings,
An eagle, alit, one moment may sit,

In the light of its golden wings. And when sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath, 40

Its ardors of rest and love,
And the crimson pall of eve may fall

From the depth of heaven above,
With wings folded I rest, on mine airy nest,

As still as a brooding dove.

45 That orbed Maiden, with white fire laden,

Whom mortals call the Moon,
Glides glimmering o'er my fleece-like floor,

By the midnight breezes strewn; And wherever the beat of her unseen feet, 50

Which only the angels hear,

May have broken the woof of my tent's thin roof,

The stars peep behind her, and peer!
And I laugh to see them whirl and flee,

Like a swarm of golden bees,
55 When I widen the rent in my wind-built tent,

Till the calm rivers, lakes, and seas,
Like strips of the sky fallen through me on high,

Are each paved with the moon and these.

I bind the sun's throne with a burning zone, 60

And the moon's with a girdle of pearl;
The volcanoes are dim, and the stars reel and swim,

When the whirlwinds my banner unfurl.
From cape to cape, with a bridge-like shape,

Over a torrent of sea,
65 Sun-beam proof, I hang like a roof,

The mountains its columns be.
The triumphal arch through which I march

With hurricane, fire, and snow,
When the powers of the air are chained to my chair,

Is the million-colored bow;
The sphere-fire above its soft colors wove,

While the moist earth was laughing below.

I am the daughter of earth and water,

And the nursling of the sky;
75 I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;

I change, but I can not die.
For after the rain, when, with never a stain,

The pavilion of heaven is bare, And the winds and sunbeams, with their convex gleams, 80

Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,

And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a sprite from the gloom, like a ghost from the tomb,

I rise and unbuild it again.

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