How does the West Wind awaken the blue Mediterranean?

The West Wind awakens the blue Mediterranean by the loud "voice" of its coming gales. The calm summery sea has been lulled into a beautiful, dreamy sleep but now turns "gray" with fear and trembles at the churning upheaval the fierce autumn winds are about to bring.

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As canto 3 begins, the speaker personifies the blue Mediterranean as a person sleeping and dreaming of "old palaces and towers," symbols of an aristocratic past, amid the peaceful, lapping waters of the sea.

This is a vision of summertime, where warmth and quiet lull a person into a dreamy fantasyland. But now fall has come, and the long quietude of summer is ending. Now the gentle breezes and calmly coiling waves are soon to be superseded by the fierce coming of the West Wind, whose "voice" or sound makes the blue seawater go "gray with fear" and "tremble." Summer is over and now the wilder wind of fall, with its storms and gales, has arrived to disturb the peace of the Mediterranean.

The dreamy blue summertime Mediterranean Sea is a metaphor for the unawakened drowsiness of the European people, who are drifting along in a dreamy haze, unaware of the prophetic message of change that the speaker longs to blow through them. The blowing, blustery West Wind brings change and upheaval to what was seemingly calm. In the same way, the speaker is warning, his words, if they could only spread as does the West Wind when it blows hard and wildly swirls the clouds, sea, and dead leaves, would bring upheaval.

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