Adonais "Lost Angel Of A Ruined Paradise!"

Percy Bysshe Shelley

"Lost Angel Of A Ruined Paradise!"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Adonais is "An Elegy on the Death of John Keats." Shelley's thesis is that Keats was killed by the critics who wrote scathing reviews of Endymion. The title of the elegy suggests a parallel with Adonis, the beautiful young man (Keats) who was slaughtered by a boar (the critics). Like the classical elegies, Adonais contains pastoral elements. "Oh, weep for Adonais–he is dead!" Shelley moans. He calls on Urania, the Mother of poets, to mourn the death of her son. Shelley describes the beauties of Rome, where Keats died. Then he calls on Keats's "quick Dreams,/ The passion-wingéd Ministers of thought," to mourn the loss of the genius that gave birth to them. These fertile thoughts, which could have kindled many minds, will die along with their author. One of the beautiful thoughts comes and grieves:

And one with trembling hands clasps his cold head,
And fans him with her moonlight wings, and cries;
"Our love, our hope, our sorrow, is not dead;
See, on the silken fringe of his faint eyes,
Like dew upon a sleeping flower, there lies
A tear some Dream has loosened from his brain."
Lost Angel of a ruined Paradise!
She knew not 'twas her own; as with no stain
She faded, like a cloud which had outwept its rain.