“The Indian Serenade”
By Percy Bysshe Shelley The very first question that comes to mind is whether the speaker is male or female. Arguments have been made from time to time on both sides. There is a comparison to a female voice in line 24 “it dies upon her heart”. Taking a view of the gender, there is more of a convenience that the speaker is a female because of the tone of submissiveness and helplessness, even though a male lover would feel the same way about his beloved. The question is open for the reader to decide. Having woken up from her sleep about her lover this young Indian girl feels as if her feet are guided by a mysterious spirit. She begins to walk towards the window of her beloved. She is overcome with love from her mate and collapses outside of his window, begging him to come out and rescue her, to lift her up and hold her close to him, saving her from her loving sickness. Shelley is not known for such kind of poetry. It is a kind of break from his usual themes of revolution, nature, philosophy, and emotions. This poem seems to be inspired by love and desire. This poem presents Shelly in a completely different mood because it seems as if Shelley wanted a kind of retreat from his more complex sphere of thoughts. Shelley enters the poetic world inspired by love and desire. Shelley sets the romantic scene with “Champrak odours” in line 11 meaning the smell of pine and the dreamy night with “winds that are breathing low” in line 3 and “stars that are shining bright” in line 4.
The reader should expect that the whole poem is a metaphor known as “A Defense of Poetry”. It is also possible that nature can be her beloved making the poet lose all inspiration. If Shelley is the lover then who is the beloved? In Shelley’s poets, the beloved is usually nature or nature’s spirit or the spirit of reason. In this case the reader knows...
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