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I have never heard
Praise of love or wine 65 That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine.
Or triumphal chaunt,
But an empty vaunt,
What objects are the fountains
Of thy happy strain ?
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;
Never came near thee;
Waking or asleep
Thou of death must deem
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;
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;
Not to shed a tear,
Better than all measures
Of delightful sound,
That in books are found,
Teach me half the gladness
That thy brain must know,
From my lips would flow,
HELPS TO STUDY
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
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY
I BRING fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams;
In their noon-day dreams;
The sweet buds every one,
As she dances about the sun.
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.
Lightning, my pilot, sits;
It struggles and howls by fits;
This pilot is guiding me,
In the depths of the purple sea;
Over the lakes and the plains,
The spirit he loves remains;
Whilst he is dissolving in rains.
The sanguine sunrise, with his meteor eyes,
And his burning plumes outspread,
When the morning-star shines dead, 35 As on the jag of a mountain-crag,
Which an earthquake rocks and swings,
In the light of its golden wings. And when sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath, 40
Its ardors of rest and love,
From the depth of heaven above,
As still as a brooding dove.
45 That orbed Maiden, with white fire laden,
Whom mortals call the Moon,
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!
Like a swarm of golden bees,
Till the calm rivers, lakes, and seas,
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;
When the whirlwinds my banner unfurl.
Over a torrent of sea,
The mountains its columns be.
With hurricane, fire, and snow,
Is the million-colored bow;
While the moist earth was laughing below.
I am the daughter of earth and water,
And the nursling of the sky;
I change, but I can not die.
The pavilion of heaven is bare, And the winds and sunbeams, with their convex gleams, 80
Build up the blue dome of air,
And out of the caverns of rain,
I rise and unbuild it again.