The Triumph of Life Questions and Answers
by Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Please explain P.B. Shelley's "The Triumph of Life," specifically lines 206-310. Please explain lines in simple English with regard to Shelley's references to the special character of Rousseau.

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P.B. Shelley's "Triumph of Life," speaks a great deal about Rousseau, the famous philosopher and writer.

Research shows that Rousseau was not a contemporary of Shelley, but Shelley felt the impact of Rousseau's philosophies and their impact on important "leaders" of the time. The sense is that Rousseau tried to attain impossible ideals, but died, not having found that for which he was searching.

...Before thy memory

I feared, loved, hated, suffered, did, and died,      200

And if the spark with which Heaven lit my spirit

Earth had with purer nutriment supplied

Corruption would not now thus much inherit

Of what was once Rousseau—nor this disguise

Stain that within which still disdains to wear it.— 205

If I have been extinguished, yet there rise

A thousand beacons from the spark I bore.

Rousseau's writings had greatly affected many searching for the means and passion to...

(The entire section contains 562 words.)

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