What is the relation between Shelley's "Love's Philosophy" and the idea of romanticism?

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Throughout "Love's Philosophy" Shelley personifies certain aspects of the natural world. The mountains "kiss high heaven" and the waves "clasp each other." And "no sister-flower would be forgiven if it disdained its brother."

These are all classic examples of the Romantic attitude towards nature. For Shelley, as for the other...

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Throughout "Love's Philosophy" Shelley personifies certain aspects of the natural world. The mountains "kiss high heaven" and the waves "clasp each other." And "no sister-flower would be forgiven if it disdained its brother."

These are all classic examples of the Romantic attitude towards nature. For Shelley, as for the other Romantics, nature was truly alive, deeply infused as it was with an animating spirit that meant that it was more than just dead matter, an object of investigation and exploitation. To Shelley, there was no real separation between man and nature; both were joined together as part of an organic whole. This makes it easier for him to personify nature. He sees human qualities in various features of the natural world just as he sees the qualities one normally associates with nature in human beings themselves.

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1. "Love's Philosophy" demonstrates one of the key elements of Romanticism--lessons from nature. Many Romantic poets use elements of nature (seashells, the wind, the ocean, etc.) to discuss truths about the human condition.  Shelley certainly does so in his poem. Every line except the last line of the two stanza discusses how natural elements blend and interrelate. Thus, the speaker of the poem questions why he cannot "mingle" with his love as nature does.

2. One of the themes of the poem (personal relationships) also connects closely to Romanticism.  Romantic writers tend to focus more on individuals and their connections with nature or with other individuals rather than discussing man's relationship with society as other philosophies do.

3. Finally, the structure and style of the poem represent Romantic tendencies.  The poem possesses a strict rhyme scheme, meter, and stanza formation. 

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There are at least two aspects of romanticism that show up clearly in "Love's Philosophy" by Percy Bysshe Shelley.

  1. The idea that emotion, rather than reason, should control people.  This is a very emotional poem that really has nothing going on in it except the speaker's strong emotion.
  2. Love of nature.  You can see this aspect in the things Shelley uses to express his love.  Everything he talks about in the whole poem is part of nature.  You have rivers, oceans, mountains, and flowers being used to talk about his love.

Because this poem uses images of nature to express emotion, it is very much in keeping with the idea of romanticism.

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