Shelley is a poet who often gives the impression that he is so entranced by the sound of his own words that the meaning of a poem is subordinated to that sound, or, to put it another way, the sound seems to create the meaning, not the other way around as one might expect. In "Mont Blanc," he builds a mountain of words that are a human analogue to the vastness of the scene before him. The words as a whole, and the sheer weight of them, are a symbol of the message that Shelley finally does convey explicitly at the close of the poem. But the thoughts projected by the speaker leading up to that conclusion arguably form a paradox. The scene Shelley describes is so huge, so unfathomable, that it can barely be comprehended by the human mind. It does not (unlike in Wordsworth) represent a positive force, but almost the opposite:
Yet not a city, but a flood of ruin
Is there, that from the boundaries of the sky
Rolls its perpetual stream . . . the race of man
Flies far in dread; his work and dwelling...
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