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To a Skylark Analysis

By fatalareme357 Nov 21, 2011 546 Words
British literature II / English 332|
Percy B. Shelley “To a Skylark”|
Brittney Banks|


Ode to a Skylark by Percy B. Shelley is a very intense and moving poem. Shelley takes a simple everyday object in nature, the skylark, and turns it into a mystical beauty and a clear symbol of passion and freedom. This poem is unique and meaningful, the poet found a way to express his thoughts and emotions through the free movement of the bird. It is made clear in the first stanza in this poem that the skylark is not only his inspiration in this poem but also considered as a “blithe spirit”, blithe meaning carefree or showing the lack of concern. The song of this skylark could be seen as mentor teaching others that you too can be set free from the burdens of the world. Shelley compares a sense of happiness to nature. He uses the spirit of the skylark to teach us how to release the misery of the world by becoming immortal. Immortals are in a way disconnected from senses and certain emotions such as pain and unhappiness.

The imagery in this poem is very vivid; it’s as if you can see the escape of the skylark flying into its own personal freedom. In the line “And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever singest”, I feel that the skylark has broken away and is loudly singing the song of guidance to show others the way to joy. Shelley continues to make reference to the significance of the song of this creature “From the rainbow clouds there flow not Drops so bright to see, as from thy presence showers a rain of melody.” This line in the 7th stanza shows the admiration and romantic aspect that Shelley shows toward this free spirit that he longs to be like.

Throughout the majority of the poem it seems that Shelley has a lack of a words to explain this mystical creature. His metaphors compare this creature to several things in nature and the heavens above. The spirit bird is compared to a maiden, dew drops, roses and love. He states that the song of this bird outweighs the choir or “triumphal chant”. It is the song of the creature that exudes the most power and the lesson to be learned. “ Our sweetest songs are those that tell the saddest thought”, The saddest thought in this poem is that we are unable to put aside the things that we should scorn. Perhaps if we could however, how would we ever know the song of the skylark? Without tribulations we would never know joy which is described in the 19th stanza.

In conclusion, Percy B. Shelley is asking for this spirit to teach him at least half of its wisdom. The song of this bird appears to be his muse to teach the lesson of freedom and happiness to mankind through his poetry. He is looking to imitate the flawless talent and art of the skylark through the value of his words. Shelley believes that if he were granted that much, the world would listen to him as he as listened to the skylark. This poem was themed around nature, freewill and the knowledge to motivate others.

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