Ode to the West Wind by P.B. Shelley
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 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, 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, oh 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 aëry surge,
Like the bright hair uplifted from the head
Of some fierce Maenad, 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: oh hear!
Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
The blue Mediterranean, where he lay,
Lull'd by the coil of his streams,
Beside a pumice isle in Baiae'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: oh 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.
Oh, 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?
About the Poet:
Shelley is great romantic poet. He belongs to the second generation of Romantic poets. He is an advocate of Romanticism. He is a great lyric poet and he is the most romantic among all the romantic poets.
Shelley is known for his revolutionary idealism. It is said that he has contributed a new quality to English poetry. It is quality of ideality, freedom and spiritual audacity. These ideals are realised in his poetry. They imply a revolt against tradition. Shelley's revolutionary idealism can be enjoyed in his 'To A Skylark'.
Shelley is a Greek in thought. He is influenced by Plato. Platonic ideal of love and beauty is beautifully expressed in his finest poetry with classical simplicity. Shelley is a great optimist too. He is always interested in future than the past. He constantly looked forward to the future.
Shelley is famous for his lyricism. The lyrical rapture of his poetry is unique. His poetry has the appeal of the ear not of the eye. Most of his poems are full of lyricism and every word is full of musical cadence. There is a fine blending of musical melody and harmony in his poems. He is just like a perfect God singing in poetry.
Shelley is an ardent lover of Nature. He goes beyond the external beauty of Nature. He believes in the pantheism of Wordsworth. Nature is a living presence to him. Thus Shelley intellectualises Nature. In short, he invests Nature with intellect, feelings and sentiments.
Shelley believes that the world can be regenerated through love. He says that there would be no evil in the world if human relations are dominated by love. He hates didactic poetry. For him imagination is a great instrument of moral good.
To conclude, Shelley is a great Romantic poet. He is an incomparable lyricist. He is an ardent lover of Nature and liberty. His lyrics are impassioned and spontaneous. In his poems he dreams of a new world which would be dominated by love and liberty.