Hymn to Intellectual Beauty

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In "Hymn to Intelletc
ual Beauty", Shelley describes his realisation of the power of human intelletc . In seven carefully-constructed stanzas, he outlines the qualities of this power and the e etc it has had on him, using the essential themes of Romantic poetry with references to nature and the self.

In the first stanza, the concept of the "unseen Power" – the mind – is put forward, and Shelley states his position on the subjetc . Throughout the stanza, extensive use is made of profluent similes. "As summer winds… | Like moonbeams… | Like hues… | Like clouds… | Like memory…"; these intangible elements of nature and, significantly, memory (which here is a human quality) is aiming to create the air of this Power as something beautiful that is at one with nature and yet is transient and somehow beyond human reach and grasp. Similes such as "Like hues and harmonies of evening" are used to state that this Power has an equilibrium, an intrinsic, inevitable concordance. The five similes in this stanza are all intangible; the first four are all an intrinsic part of the Romantic's love of, and preoccupation with, nature. Through these similes Shelley constructs an image of the Power's awesome and intense status.

The second stanza is a question Shelley asks of the Power. Lines 2 and 3 are particularly important, as it is where he says the Beauty (another form of the Power) "shine[s] upon | …human thought". On line three, the question is posed to Beauty: "where art thou gone?" However, he recognises the futility of such a question with lines 4–8, which are a series of even more rhetorical questions. At the same time, he asks why it is that humanity remains disinterested in worshipping or deifying the human intelletc , which he believes is the reason for our "scope | For love and hate, despondency and hope". Of course, the impact of nature is intense, as is shown by the ongoing figurative...
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