In "The Cloud," Percy Bysshe Shelley adopts the perspective of the eponymous cloud and writes in the first person about the cloud's relationship with the earth. The first stanza contains the following lines:
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother's breast,
As she dances about the sun.
The cloud, therefore, sends dew which rouses the buds from their sleep "on their mother's breast." Their mother is clearly the earth, a traditional description since time immemorial.
In ancient Greek poetry, which influenced Shelley a great deal, the earth is constantly identified with motherhood, nurturing plants, animals, and people; while the sky is identified with fatherhood and is described as lofty, distant, and often threatening. "The Cloud," like its classical models, is full of personification
. The Moon
, as usual, is a maiden, while sunrise and lightning are masculine. In the final stanza, the poet announces that the cloud herself is of the same gender as the earth and is, indeed, her daughter:
I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die.
Shelley's treatment of nature here is characteristic of the second wave of Romanticism, and although this is nature poetry of a kind, it anthropomorphizes nature to a high degree, attributing sentience to objects in a way that recalls classical mythology and making the world appear to be full of living spirits.