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To A Skylark

Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Added by: Steve
The title says it all. Anyone who has been entranced by a Skylark in the summer sky will appreciate this. There are no hidden messages, just a beautiful tribute to an exceptional bird. Go out on a summers day and read it beneath a Skylark in full song.
Added by: Blair
Actually, there is a hidden meaning to this, as with Shelley's other poems. It is obviously about a skylark, which was his inspiration, but throughout the writing of this poem, Shelley turned this INTO an obviously Romantic poem. The final stanzas are concerned with the wishfulness to be a skylark. To be released FROM the chains of monotony of this life. To be free. This is the "hidden meaning" of Shelley's poem, which takes on a typical Romantic theme.
Added by: Kathryn
Further to that last comment, this poem also deals with the ideals that the poet has a far more advanced state of mind than that of a "normal" person. This is conveyed here:

"Like a poet hidden

In the light of thought,

Singing hymns unbidden,

Till the world is wrought

To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not"

He views the skylark as some sort of mentor ("Teach us, sprite or bird,

What sweet thoughts are thine"), and is using the bird's spirit, which is closely compared to a god earlier in the poem, in ORDER to SHOW how the poet's mind can teach other people in the world "the truth" about the world. In 'In A Defence of Poetry', Shelley wrote that the poet is the "unacknowledged legislator of the world" . I think this poem reflects this fully, and it is a common theme amongst other poems FROM the Romantic era, such as 'Kubla Khan', by Coleridge.
to a skylark
Added by: nejla
Shelley as we know appreciated Plato and his theory on souls. Every soul is in the ideal world and our souls incuding the poets soul are searching for its other part. The other part knows the universal truths the mortals do not. we feel the presence and the music of our divine parts that are somewhere in nature and we invoke them to teach us how to become immortal not in the sense of living forever but in the sense to get rid of all the human miseries and characteristics such as worries and pain. That hidden part within ourselves or within universe must teach us how to become more ideal persons.
To a Skylark
Added by: Ked
“To a skylark” is a poem about the beauty of a simple skylark and its song. Percy admires the sweet and innocent song that the skylark sings. He compares the song to a number of things in similes:
- A poet that writes poems to inspire hope and fear into the public
- A noble maiden singing of her love in her castle
- A glow-worm that scatters its “hue” in flowers and grass
- A rose whose pretty scent is being stolen by the wind
Percy continues on to ask the skylark to teach humans its song and emtions. He says that the skylark’s love is pure and unpolluted. The skylark has never known sadness or pain in love. Percy Shelley wants to be free like the skylark, to sing and to soar above the clouds. He feels that the skylark has reached the ultimate in joy and happiness and wished himself to achieve this ultimate joy.
Added by: Salena
This is in reference to the previous comment. Shelley (if we assume the narrator is Shelley) asks for only "half of the gladness." Although he asks for only half is half really enough to ease his miseries with his mortality?
Added by: Sarah920
I fail to understand why on earth people think this poem is purely about a skylark. I mean, the first to lines are "hail to thee, blithe spirit!/ Bird thou NEVER WERT."

Shelley is using the skylark as a metaphor for poetic inspiration. This is what his repetitive imagery about the power and uniqueness of the skylark is for, he is describing what he sees as the ultimate source of poetry; rather like the muses back in the classical era.

When you bear this in mind, the final two stanzas make much more sense.
How can anyone truly believe that a skylark's "skill to poet" could be "better than all measures of delightful sound", if we are merely considering the bird? The final stanza is a prayer almost to this skylark/poetic inspiration, to teach Shelley even a small fraction of what it knows about poetry and even that would be completely beyond the understanding of the world, reducing their conmprehension to "harmonious madness". But, because it is so beautiful, "the world should listen then".

The - between the world and "as I am listening now" emphasisies the separation of the poet from the uncomprehending world

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