Describe the second stanza of the poem "Ode to the West Wind" by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Expert Answers
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The second stanza of "Ode to the West Wind" must really be understood and described in context of the first and third stanzas. This is because the punctuation divides stanzas one from two by a comma, indicating a continuing thought, and two from three by enjambment, or the absence of punctuation, indicating a spatially separated thought (one complete thought).

O WILD West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being    
Thou from whose unseen presence the leaves dead    
Are driven like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,    

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,    
Pestilence-stricken multitudes! O thou             5
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed    

The wingèd seeds, where they lie cold and low,    
Each like a corpse within its grave, until    
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow

That which is "Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red," is identified in line 2 and its function is identified in 6-9 of the third stanza. "Yellow..." refers to the dead leaves of autumn. In line 5, Shelly says thy "chariotest," or carry, the seeds of spring to their resting places to await the coming of spring, as is described in stanza three.

Read the study guide:
Ode to the West Wind

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question