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ode to the west wind
Posted by: softballj101 (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 04, 2006 08:52PM

i need to the know the tone of this poem and why it is considered a romantic poem...and fast!! if anyone knows anythig about this poem please respond!!!

ode to the west wind...
Posted by: softballj101 (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 04, 2006 09:12PM

first time with this forum.. i guess i should have posted the poem:


O WILD West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being
Thou from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,

Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
Pestilence-stricken multitudes! O thou
Who chariotest to their dark wintry bed

The wingèd 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, and fill
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odours plain and hill;

Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and preserver; hear, O hear!


Thou on whose stream, 'mid the steep sky's commotion,
Loose clouds like earth's decaying leaves are shed,
Shook from the tangled boughs of heaven and ocean,

Angels of rain and lightning! there are spread
On the blue surface of thine airy surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head

Of some fierce Mænad, even from the dim verge
Of the horizon to the zenith's height,
The locks of the approaching storm. 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!


Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lull'd by the coil of his crystàlline streams,

Beside a pumice isle in Baiæ's bay,
And saw in sleep old palaces and towers
Quivering within the wave's intenser day,

All overgrown with azure moss, and flowers
So sweet, the sense faints picturing them! Thou
For whose path the Atlantic's level powers

Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
The sea-blooms and the oozy woods which wear
The sapless foliage of the ocean, know

Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear,
And tremble and despoil themselves: O hear!


If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
If I were a swift cloud to fly with thee;
A wave to pant beneath thy power, and share

The impulse of thy strength, only less free
Than thou, O uncontrollable! if even
I were as in my boyhood, and could be

The comrade of thy wanderings over heaven,
As then, when to outstrip thy skiey speed
Scarce seem'd a vision—I would ne'er have striven

As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
O! lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!

A heavy weight of hours has chain'd and bow'd
One too like thee—tameless, and swift, and proud.


Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
What if my leaves are falling like its own?
The tumult of thy mighty harmonies

Will take from both a deep autumnal tone,
Sweet though in sadness. Be thou, Spirit fierce,
My spirit! Be thou me, impetuous one!

Drive my dead thoughts over the universe,
Like wither'd leaves, to quicken a new birth;
And, by the incantation of this verse,

Scatter, as from an unextinguish'd hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawaken'd earth

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

Re: ode to the west wind
Posted by: lg (Moderator)
Date: December 05, 2006 03:58AM

This poem and others like it glorified nature, which was one of the key elements of poetry during the "romantic" period in which Shelley wrote: [en.wikipedia.org] [en.wikipedia.org] />


Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/05/2006 04:01AM by lg.

Re: ode to the west wind
Posted by: Hugh Clary (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 05, 2006 02:20PM

Great stuff on that Wiki link, Les. Still, I would quarrel with the interpretation given that, "More than anything else, Shelley wanted his message of reform and revolution spread, and the wind becomes the trope for spreading the word of change."

I read somewhere else that Shelley wrote, in a letter to another poet, words to the effect that he always sought, in what he saw around him, the manifestation of something beyond the present and tangible object. In this case, the present and tangible object was the west wind blowing violently one October day in Florence, Italy, sweeping away dead vegetation and spreading seeds for their rebirth in spring, while forecasting the fall rains which would make sure they were fertile and again come to life.

The underlying message is that there is a recurring powerful force in nature that sweeps away all that is dead to bring fresh, new life again. We have seen the same message in the old myths such as those starring Demeter and Perssephone (Ceres/Proserpine). Yeah, Bacchus/Dionysus, too.

Re: ode to the west wind
Posted by: softballj101 (192.168.128.---)
Date: December 05, 2006 07:20PM

thanks so much!

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