Dr. Susan Shelangoskie
24 February 2013
During the romantic period, many writers looked to nature for inspiration when creating new literary works; Shelley and Keats were no exception. In fact, Shelley’s “To a Skylark” and Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale” are relative to one another because of their overall theme of nature, and their relation to the conventions of Romanticism. Both Shelley and Keats, in these works being examined, were inspired by nature and it’s human attributes, thus both poems embody the ideas of Romanticism.
In “To a Skylark”, Shelley illustrates his idea of a skylark, and what it can symbolize to us as humans. He refers to the skylark in many different ways such as, “blithe Spirit”, “like a cloud of fire”, “an unbodied joy, “joyous and clear and fresh”, and “like a star of heaven”. Shelley even states at one point that no one truly knows what the skylark is because it is that unique. He describes the song of the skylark as being a, “rain of melody”. He wants the skylark to teach him about it’s pure happiness that it exudes because he hasn’t heard anything speak “a flood of rapture so divine”. It almost seems as though Shelley feels complete connected to Heaven through the song of the skylark. He views the bird not as a bird but rather as a spirit of some sort. He refers to the bird as a form of poetic inspiration to him when he asks the bird to teach him “half the gladness” that it knows so that others will listen to him in the same way that he is listening to it’s song. The skylark’s song is unchanged and unhindered, it is pure and harmonious.
In “Ode to a Nightingale”, Keats tells us of the song of the nightingale, which he yearns to follow in death. He hears the song coming from a forest where “shadows are numberless”. He expresses his wish to escape human life and go into the dim forest with the nightingale. He is full of sorrow, and feels as though he can find happiness with the...