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rains: The spirit of the cloud - the in- spring beneath the level of the Ortygian visible water-vapor
remains, while the shore. form of the cloud, and with it the light This poem and the preceding are the ning, dissolves. (The antecedent of “I” is most sheerly joyous of the selections from apparently the "Spirit" in the preceding Shelley. What is the source of the spirit line.) The idea that clouds “die in rain" of joy that pervades them? occurs also in “The Triumph of Life,” lines 155-157 (200.) 58. these: that is, the stars (line
TO A SKYLARK 52). 67-70. The triumphal arch
(202.) 51. embowered: The rose is hidbow: Cf. “Prometheus Unbound,” Act
den in the foliage of the bush it grows on, First, line 708 ff. (page 194).
but its petals are borne out by the winds 73-76. I am the daughter etc.: See
(line 53). Here, as in the preceding note to line 29, above.
images, the poet illustrates the idea of a 81. cenotaph: a tomb in honor of a
concealed source of influence (lines 18-20). person whose remains are elsewhere. The cloud's cenotaph is “the blue dome of air”
THE QUESTION in the preceding line.
(203.) 10. Arcturi: plural of Arcturus, the
well-known star. ARETHUSA
Mother Earth's. The Fountain of Arethusa is close to the
The Aower referred to may be the tulip. shore of the island Ortygia, which was
18. May: hawthorne. part of the ancient Greek city of Syracuse
25. trembling edge: See line 5. in Sicily. Alpheus is the leading river of
(204.) 37. the Hours: in Greek mytholPeloponnesus in Greece, in certain parts
ogy, the goddesses of the order of nature
and of the seasons. of its course flowing underground. The fountain and the river were connected, mythically, as follows: As the nymph
From ODE TO NAPLES Arethusa was bathing one day in the waters of the Alpheus, she heard the voice of
This stanza is notable for its embodithe river-god Alpheus, who, enamored of
ment of a theme frequent in Shelley's her, bade her not to fee. She ran, how
poetry: quiet beauty together with a sense ever, and he pursued, 'till at length Diana
of desolation. changed her into a fountain. Then Al
(205.) 1. the city disinterred: Pompeii. pheus, sundering the rocks of the Eryman
4-9. The Mountain's slumberous thus mountains, followed the feet nymph voice etc.: For the inarticulate voice of with his waters to the very sea. “Oh
Earth, see “Prometheus Unbound," Act save me!” she cried, and Diana (or Ocean, First, lines 131-136 (page 184). in Shelley's poem) opened a secret passage under sea and earth, through which she passed, Alpheus ever pursuing, from the
TO THE MOON Greek coast all the way to Sicily, until at length their married waters came to the The moon becomes here an image for surface in Syracuse, where the Fountain that restlessness of heart which runs of Arethusa may be seen to this day. Shel throughout Shelley's poetry, appearing ley, in the last stanza of his poem, fol sometimes in joy and aspiration, sometimes lows in imagination the daily flow of in sadness and disillusion. See the next waters from Enna in central Sicily, down poem. the valleys, through woods and through (206.) 6. That finds no object etc.: With meadows gay with asphodel flowers (daf this line compare “Lift Not the Painted fodils), until at night they rest in the Veil,” line 10 and context (page 180).
POLITICAL GREATNESS the same year and doubtless inspired by
the same "mortal image,” Emilja. (207.) 8. that heaven: the glass of art Love, to Shelley, was not a double and (line 6).
ambiguous power, - earthly and spiritual;
but a pure aspiration of the soul, an eager MUTABILITY
pursuit of the supernal principle of
beauty. Yet, among the fragmentary Compare Wordsworth's sonnet on the poems published after his death, there are same subject, written in the same year two that reveal, side by side, his double (page 53).
passion. One describes the insatiable thirst
of sensuous, earthly love: EPIPSYCHIDION
"To thirst and find no fill - to wail and
wander For the meaning of the title, see line 238
With short unsteady steps to pause and (“soul out of my soul"). The motto may ponder – be translated as follows:
The loving To feel the blood run through the veins soul hurls itself beyond the created world, and tingle and creates for itself in the infinite a Where busy thought and blind sensation world all its own, very different from this mingle; dark and fearful abyss.
To nurse the image of unfelt caresses “The noble and unfortunate lady" to
Till dim imagination just posseses whom Shelley addressed this poem was
The half-created shadow, then all the Emilia Viviani, daughter of an Italian no night man, who had been placed by her fam
Sick ..." the convent of St. Anna near Pisa. bulia, beautiful, spiritual, sorrowing, be The other expresses his faith in a type of came for him a type and symbol of what love that is spiritual, "immortal": Goethe names 'the eternal feminine, a type and symbol of all that is most radiant "Wealth and dominion fade into the mass and divine in nature, all that is most re Of the great sea of human right and mote and unattainable, yet ever to be pur
wrong, sued — the ideal of beauty, truth, and
When once from our possession they must love” (Dowden, The Life of Percy Bysshe
pass; Shelley, II, 378). Rapt away by his feel But love, though misdirected, is among ings, Shelley wrote this long and ardent The things what are immortal, and surpoem. Presently, however, disillusionment
pass set in, and he remarked bitterly that "the All that frail stuff which will be person whom it celebrates was a cloud in
which was.” stead of a Juno. ... It is an idealized history of my life and feelings. I think In “Epipsychidion," the two types of love one is always in love with something or are not differentiated or reconciled, any other; the error and I confess it is not more than they were in Shelley's experieasy for spirits cased in flesh and blood to ence, but mingled, sometimes confusedly. avoid it — consists in seeking in a mortal Natural love and ideal love become one, image the likeness of what is, perhaps, the former disappearing as such, for, as eternal.” This yearning for the eternal Shelley said in regard to the poem, "You conceived as perfect beauty,
might as well go to a gin-shop for a leg
of mutton, as expect anything human or "The devotion to something afar earthly from me.” Earthly associations he From the sphere of our sorrow," reduced further by publishing the poem
anonymously and by prefixing the followis also the theme of the brief preceding ing remarks: “The Writer of the follow
(page 208), written in ing lines died at Florence, as he was
preparing for a voyage to one of the wild glow around her cheeks and out to her est of the Sporades, which he had bought, very finger-tips, flowing continuously with and where he had fitted up the ruins of her blood. They suggest, and pass inan old building, and where it was his hope sensibly into, a vision of the Supreme to have realised a scheme of life suited Beauty. perhaps to that happier and better world (210.) 117. third sphere: Venus, the third of which he is 'now an inhabitant, but sphere from the earth in the old astronhardly practicable in this. His life was omy. The goddess, he conceives, has assingular; less on account of the romantic sumed "mortal shape" and left her sphere vicissitudes which diversified it, than the "pilotless.” ideal tinge which it received from his own (211.) 169-173. Narrow The heart etc.: character and feelings. The present Poem, See note on “To the Moon” (page 688, like the Vita Nuova of Dante, is suffi above). ciently intelligible to a certain class of
190 ff. There was a Being etc.: A readers without a matter-of-fact history vision of her is given in “Alastor," writof the circumstances to which it relates; ten six years earlier. See also “Hymn to and to a certain other class it must ever Intellectual Beauty,” stanzas y-vi (pages remain incomprehensible, from a defect of 175-176).
common organ of perception for the (212.) 220-224. like a dizzy moth etc.: ideas of which it treats.'
Cf. line 53, above; and the preceding poem, (208.) 1-2. that orphan weepest on: line 13 (page 208). Shortly after Mary Shelley's birth, her 240. sightless: invisible. mother died. “The name" is Shelley. (213.) 277. One stood: alluding to his
9-12. This song etc.: alluding to wife, Mary. the old fable of the nightingale who loved
321. obscure forest: See line a rose and remained faithful to its thorny (214.) 345. Twin Spheres: Cf. lini bush in autumn when the flower had faded. 48, 279-280. 21-24. Seraph of Heaven! etc.:
368. Comet: This wild star of The particular woman is here, and often love (whomever it may represent) is now in the poem, symbolic of a love and beauty to become the quiet evening star (line more than earthly. Shelley has more or 374). The "heart” (line 369) is Shelley's. less in mind the idealism of Platonic phil
374. folding-star: the evening star osophers and poets. - For a satirical that appears at the time for folding the treatment of “Platonic love," see Byron's sheep. “Don Juan,” Canto Second, stanza ccxii ff. (215.) 404. he or they: Death, air, or (text, page 165; notes, page 681), written lightning. a year or so before the present poem.
412. halcyons: kingfishers, which, (209.) 42. Youth's vision etc.: See, for according to ancient fable, nested upon the instance, “To Mary,” stanzas Vi, xi (pages sea in the winter season, tranquillizing the 177, 178).
waters while they brooded.
unvalued (216.) 477-482. Yet, like a buried lamp shame: To the world's view of his love
This is an expansion of lines 453Shelley is indifferent. Cf. the posthumous 456. Compare lines 77-79, 102-104. “Lines connected with Epipsychidion.".
507. Parian floors: floors of beau49. one: the name "spouse” (lines tiful marble, such as the ancients quarried 46-47). — the other: the name “sister” on the island of Paros. (line 45). Both names are applied ex (217.) 538-540. Let us inseparable, plicitly in line 130.
Cf. lines 477-482, and the note, 91-102. The glory of her being above. — For the whole idea of union with etc.: an expansion of the idea of lines 77 nature, in life and in death, compare 79. Her divine radiance, issuing as light Byron's "Childe Harold,” Canto Third, and motion from her eyes, and diffusing stanzas LXXII-Xc (pages 112-115). itself through and about her figure, takes
546-572. Or linger where etc.: form as a higher Presence. Its outlines This Arcadian love-scene on the shore re
calls that in “Don Juan," Canto Second the restless gloom which one may feel (page 160), which was composed two when wakened by thunder at dawn, before years earlier. What is the difference in the rain begins to fall. purport between the two episodes?
(221.) 133-134. Than those
all (218.) 601. Marina, Vanna, Primus: his sounds: For love of the youth Narcissus, wife Mary and two friends.
the nymph Echo pined away till nothing remained of her but her voice.
140. Hyacinth: a beautiful youth ADONAIS
beloved by Apollo. Upon his death, the
god changed him to a flower. The untimely death of Keats serving as
141. Narcissus: When Echo had the occasion, and the pastoral elegy as the pined away, Nemesis punished Narcissus form, Shelley in this poem has given im by making him fall in love with his own passioned expression to the grief of mor reflection in the water. — The whole tality and the sense of immortality. The stanza is concerned with Spring and its development of his theme may be suggested flowers. as follows (numerals refer to stanzas):
145. Thy spirit's
nightin1-XVII. THE IMMEDIATE GRIEF: the invo gale: This alludes to Keats's "Ode to a cation to Urania; the dead Adonais; the Nightingale" (page 252). lament of his Dreams, and of the things
152. his head: the author (actually he loved in nature.
J. W. Croker) of an unsigned criticism X-XXXVII.
The SUBLIMER SORROW: of "Endymion” in the Quarterly Review, eturning Spring, the transitory per April, 1818, which Shelley and others behe mourning of Urania and the poets. lieved to be the cause of the death of LI-LV. THE SENSE
Keats. apelling Loveliness; the living dead;
160. brere: briar. and decay; the call of the Eternal.
167-168. in the stream 12. Urania: See note to page 18, softer light: In the life-giving vapors of line 776 (page 659, above). But in the the spring air (cf. line 164), the lights of present poem Urania becomes a thoroughly the sky have lost their hard, wintry glitter. Shelleyan figure, an embodiment of the (222.) 186. who lends what life must borspirit of poetry as conceived by him. row: i.e., a little time for living. (219.) 29. He: Milton.
191-196. Wake thou etc.: See 55. Capital: Rome, whither Keats lines 12-16, above. had come from England seeking health. (223.) 250 The Pythian of the age: Byron (220.) 93. anadem: fillet or garland for is compared with Apollo, named Pythian the head.
because he slew the Python, a serpent that 99. dull: i.e., "would dull,” like delivered oracles. Byron's "arrow” was "would break” in line 96. The "barbed his English Bards and Scotch Reviewers. fire” is her burning pain.
262. shepherds: the poet friends of 104. damp death: the dampness of Keats. The image is familiar in pastoral death on his mouth.
verse, e.g., Milton's "Lycidas.” 107. clips: embraces.
264. The Pilgrim of Eternity: 117. Like pageantry stream: Byron (alluding to “Childe Harold's PilCf. "Prometheus Unbound,” Act First, grimage”). lines 664-668 (page 193). — Shelley, from
268. Ierne: Ireland; the reference his character, is the special poet of water is to Thomas Moore. vapor, in all its forms; as notably in “The
271. one frail form: In this and Cloud" (page 199).
the three following stanzas, Shelley pre121-123. and her hair
kin sents the spirit of his own poetry, - the dle day: Aurora's bright eyes were dimmed poetry of one ardently thirsting for beauty, with gathering clouds (“hair unbound”), yet “Girt round with weakness," a phanwhose rain would presently sparkle on the tom in his solitude and unrelation with earth. In lines 120-126, the poet catches actual life.
(223.) 276. Acta on-like: As Actæon, hav Realize the comprehensiveness of the spirit ing seen the goddess Diana in her bath, that lives in you and nature (cf. lines 380 was turned into a stag and torn by his ff.), in contrast with the smallness of your own dogs, so Shelley had seen the “awful everyday personality. Loveliness” and had spent his life in a 424-495. Or go to Rome etc.: If self-consuming pursuit of it.
you cannot live in hopeful thought (see the 280. pard-like: leopard-like.
preceding stanza), seek death with Adonais (224.) 298. partial moan: affectionate sor (lines 457-459). For death means a comrow for one in whose fate he wept his own plete union with the Spirit (lines 460-465) (line 300).
of which Adonais is now a part (lines 476, 312. he: Leigh Hunt, who early
494). befriended Keats. In some respects the
425. 'Tis naught: It is no added passage fits better Joseph Severn, whose glory to him. self-sacrificing attendance upon the stricken (227.) 444. one keen pyramid: the tomb poet was, however, unknown to Shelley of Cestius, under which, as Shelley says in when he wrote this poem.
the preface, Keats was buried, "in the ro319. nameless worm:
See note to mantic and lonely cemetery of the Proline 152, above.
testants” of Rome. - The grave of Shel(225.) 345-351. 'Tis we etc.: We sleep, ley's child, William, was also there, and because we fight madly, as in nightmare, perhaps is alluded to in lines 453-455. with ills that are spiritually unreal; we
460-464. The One - to fragdecay, because we are ever consumed by ments: For “the One” and “the many' strong passions or numberless yearnings. stanzas XLII-XLIII and LIV. But
362-387. Thou young Dawn etc.: the poet emphasizes, exceptionally, This passage gives the antithesis for lines
peace and elevation of the One, inste 120-180, and repeats a number of details, its “plastic stress” (line 381). with change of form and purport.
(228.) 488-490. my spirit's bark 366. Cease, ye faint flowers: Cf. the tempest given: Shelley means that buch lines 140-144.
his aspirations and his troubles have been 375-387. where'er that Power may beyond the experience of the conventional move etc.: For previous passages con crowd; cf. Byron's "Childe Harold," cerning this all-embracing power or spirit, Canto Third, lines 710-715 (page 113). see note to page 217, line 538, above. (226.) 392-396. When lofty thought etc.: Cf. “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty,” lines
Choruses from HELLAS 49-52, page 175, above.
399. Chatterton: See note to page Somewhat as the earlier poets-Words30, lines 43-44, above.
worth, Coleridge, Southey — had heralded 401. Sidney: Sir Philip Sidney, the French Revolution as the beginning of who, fatally wounded on the field of battle, a new era in civilization, Shelley regarded died at the age of thirty-two.
the Greek war of independence from the 404. Lucan: the Roman poet, who, Turks as prophetic of a Golden Age of condemned to death, ended his own life freedom and love. — Byron's enthusiasm at the age of twenty-six.
for the cause of freedom (without empha406-409. And тапу
sis on love) and his connection with the dazzling immortality: Though the world Greek war, have already been made clear scarcely remembers them, the good that (biography, page 675; and his poems was in them lives on, — in the depths of "The Prisoner of Chillon," "Isles of the Spirit beyond the reach of thought Greece," etc.). (line 398), — and thence exerts a continual
38, 40, 41. were: would be. effect upon the world: "transmitted ef 41-45. If Liberty etc.: Supply "to" fluence" recalls and epitomizes the thought before "life," "hope," "truth," "love." of lines 380-396.
The idea is similar to that of "Political 418-421. As from a centre etc.: Greatness," lines 1-6 (page 207).