Comment on Shelley's view of the skylark's song in "To A Skylark."

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Shelley is struck by the beauty of the skylark's song, and attributes it to the fact that the bird soars high above the earth (so high, indeed, that he remains "unseen"), presumably with none of the cares that humans have to deal with. Shelley imagines that the bird's life must be idyllic, soaring through clouds and sunlight, and muses that if he could experience the same joy in his life, his poems might be filled with the same beauty that he hears in the skylark's song:

Teach me half the gladness/That thy brain must know; Such harmonious madness/From my lips would flow,/The world should listen then, as I am listening now.

Ultimately, then, Shelley uses the skylark's song to suggest that true poetic beauty is attained when the poet looks to nature, and frees himself from worldly concerns. It is thus both a wistful poem and one which articulates one of the core principles of the English Romantic poets. 


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