Critically analyse the poem "To a Skylark" by Wordsworth.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is important to note the way that the skylark was an important Romantic symbol to poets such as Wordsworth, Shelley and Keats, as they believed that the eerie transcendent beauty of its song captured the beauty of nature and had the ability to allow its hearers to transcend the sufferings and worries of the earthly world. In this poem, the speaker, out walking in the countryside as so often is the case in Wordsworth's poetry, hears the skylark's song and describes how the song has ligthened his mood. Note how he describes his feelings before hearing the skylark:

I have walked through wilderness dreary,

And to-day my heart is weary...

However, the "madness" and "joy divine" in the song of the skylark causes the speaker to want to have "the wings of a Faery" and to fly up to join the skylark in "thy banqueting-place in the sky." In his praise of the skylark and his song, the speaker recognises that even though his journey is "rugged and uneven" and takes him through various inhospitable terrains, allows him to become "contented" with his fate as it gives him joy, and above all, hope:

I, with my fate contented, will plod on,

And hope for higher raptures, when life's day is done.

Thus, metaphorically, in the journey of life which takes us through many challenges, the beauty of the skylark's song gives us joy and helps us to be "contented" with our fate, as it gives us a glimpse of the "higher raptures" we can await when life is done.

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