In Shelley's poem "To a Skylark," how does the author contrast the life of the bird and the man?

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The skylark isn't just presented by Shelley as a beautiful bird that sings sweetly. Its closeness to nature means that it can teach man how to recover that intimate connection to the natural world which he lost when he first entered into civilization.

As it is, however, the speaker compares man to the skylark and finds him wanting. Not even the most beautiful chorus of human voices—"Chorus Hymeneal"—can compare with the bird's sweet melody. This is because there's an innocence about the skylark that arises from his closeness to nature.

And that innocence can never be tainted by laziness, heartbreak, the contemplation of death, or any of the other afflictions that regularly torment humankind. Even our most sincere laughter is fraught with pain, as we constantly pine for what we do not have. This is why man's sweetest songs are tinged with sadness. The same cannot be said of the song of the skylark.

The poem ends with a passionate plea by the speaker for the skylark to transmit to him the...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 693 words.)

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