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Shelley wrote the "Ode to the West Wind" during his stay in Italy. The poem describes a storm arising in the autumn season in the Mediterranean Sea and being driven towards the land by 'the west wind.' In the second section, Shelley vividly describes the meterological process of the gathering storm in the distant horizon of the Mediterranean Sea.
In the first stanza Shelley compares the storm clouds which are being formed at the horizon ("tangled boughs of Heaven and Ocean") and being driven inland by the west wind to decaying leaves shed by the trees during autumn.
In the next two stanzas, the storm clouds are compared to "angels" which carry the rain inland. They announce their arrival by fiery flashes of dazzling lightning which reach up into the sky from the ocean at the horizon. The flashes of lightning are compared to the bright hair of the maenad (the maenad is a frenzied spirit which attends on the Greek God Dionysus).
The mournful sound of the autumnal west wind compels Shelley to regard it as the funeral song of the dying year.The section concludes with comparing this night in which this funeral song will be heard to a huge funeral vaut which contains within it the compressed might and awesome power of the storm which is about to break out in all its fury.
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