Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Toast To Winter: Part IV, Shelley Twice

After looking in the Lighthouse's archives, I find that a 2009 post here in fact expresses insights into Percy Bysshe Shelley's "Ode To The West Wind" that are far better than anything I could muster today. The Ode does feel like a fall poem rather than a winter poem, too, given the impressions of movement and the falling leaves, etc. But like the graves between the spring or summer flowers in a churchyard, Winter is a dark presence that pervades the poem.

Here are excerpts of the Ode, then. I am presenting them without further commentary. In them, the poet addresses the West Wind, 'thou,' as if it were a human being.

O, thou,
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the spring shall blow

Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth,


Thou dirge

Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Will be the dome of a vast sepulchre,
Vaulted with all thy congregated might

Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
Black rain, and fire, and hail will burst: O, hear!


Be through my lips to unawakened earth

The trumpet of a prophecy! O, wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?"


"Prometheus Unbound; a lyrical drama in four acts with other poems/Ode to the West Wind" (Wikisource)
The Ode was first published in 1820.

No comments: