What features of the skylark does Wordsworth highlight in his poem "To the Skylark"?

The skylark in William Wordsworth's poem is comfortable soaring through the heavens, spreading the beauty of its music around the world, yet this bird also has a nest, a home, on the ground to return to and be still. The skylark may be a symbol of a person who is both well grounded and able to reach out to new experiences and knowledge.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In his poem “To the Skylark,” William Wordsworth identifies the skylark as a bird of both “Heaven and Home.” The skylark is an “Ethereal minstrel,” a singer who soars to the heights, making a pilgrimage across the sky through the “glorious light.” Further, this skylark fills the sky and the whole world with “a flood / Of harmony.” The bird's instinct is almost divine, for it appears to know just where to soar and just where it is needed most at any given time.

Yet the skylark does not remain always in the heavens. It drops easily to its nest “at will,” and it composes its wings and stills its voice. The skylark is at home in its nest on the “dewy ground,” and it never roams very far away even as it soars through the sky.

The skylark becomes a symbol of the kind of person who is both grounded and able to soar to the heights of their talents. Like the bird, this person has a home and does not care to roam aimlessly. Further, this person has a firm set of knowledge and beliefs that serves as a foundation for exploration. Yet the person, like the skylark, does soar to the heights, up into the light, and as they soar, this person spreads beauty throughout the world, just like the bird spreads its song.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial