Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Percy Bysshe Shelley

Header=poem's title.


  1. “Stanzas Written in Dejection – December 1818, Near Naples”

    This poem by Shelley is quite romantic in the way it emphasizes nature, and inspires the speaker. Nature is so accentuated by the contentment of the speaker in the face of his destitute situation, “Yet now despair itself is mild,/ Even as the winds and waters are”. This passage also related back to nature in comparison to human emotion a popular literary technique of romantic poems. One of the main intriguing literary techniques of the poem is Shelley’s use of action words for inanimate objects, “the city’s voice”, “the breath of the moist earth”, and the waves which are “dancing”. Though filled with an overwhelmingly melancholy subject, the dejection of the speaker and his willingness to leave live, the poem actually starts out sounding almost joyous speaking of the waves, sun, and sky, describing these aspects of nature much like one might in a poem describing a childhood day at the beach. This contrast though seemingly almost deranged adds another layer of beauty to this work.

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  3. Ozymandias

    The poems itself contains a smaller poem, a poem contained on the pedestal of a statue. The poems both contain some amount of royalness, the use of strong words such as "stamped" and "colossal" becoming the very real incarnation of the power and intensity of the statue and of the author's reaction to it. The use of description of the surrounding area is very silent in emotion and seems to lack any real feeling. But this stoic-ness is also portrays a feeling of cold, hard, apathy towards the people that experience it. Thus its cold desperate feel.

  4. "Stanzas Written in Dejection--December 1818, Near Naples"

    Shelley's poem opens with the immediate focus on nature that we as students have come to associate with Romantic poetry over the past week or so. To read his lines in the first stanza, to visualize these "blue isles and snowy mountains," one might not be able initially to understand how such things could possibly be written "in dejection." The second stanza is similar, listing off more fascinating natural images, though these are somewhat more dramatic than those in the first stanza. The second stanza also has the poem's first mention of a narrator in the words "I see." Once again, there is little to suggest dejection.
    Both of these stanzas, however, demonstrate the poem's odd meter scheme: eight lines of iambic tetrameter followed by one line of hexameter. And in both stanzas, the final, hexametric line gives a little hint of the speaker's sadness. He must be familiar with the voice of solitude, with being alone, to be able to compare the "city's voice" to it. The anguish is more obvious in line 18, where he laments how lovely it would be, "did any heart now share in [his] emotion." In other words, nature is at ease, but he is not. He elaborates in the third stanza on exactly what is troubling him, his inability to find any contentment or hope in his life.
    In the final lines he associates wind and water with despair by calling both "mild." This all contributes to the last stanza, wherein he contemplates dying, and gives it a tone that is more quiet and reflective than morbid. After having read the rest of the poem, such a death, fading away peacefully to the sounds of the ocean, seems quite desirable for one in his situation.

  5. "Stanzas Written in Dejection-December 1818, Near Naples"

    I love this poem by Shelley for it's blatant romantic concepts. The poem opens with a scenic nature tone, "The sun is warm, the sky is clear". Though the poem is light and happy there is a since of wild nature. Shelley makes a refrence to untamed nature, "I see the Deep's untrampled floor
    With green and purple seaweeds strown". The numerous oceanic references represent spontaneity. In the end of the poem Shelley mentions death and the cycle of life. At which one day he will die. This ties into the natural world and the imagery of waves. As the cycle of dying is inevitable so is the cycle of the approaching waves.

  6. "Stanzas Written in Dejection- December 1818, Near Naples"

    I enjoy this poem because I feel a strong connection with the narrator. I have always seen nature as a place of calm refuge from the busy modern life. The narrator, filled with dread and sorrow goes out to nature, and suddenly his “despair itself is mild” (28), and he “could lie down like a tired child” (30). One of my favorite things to do is just sit on a rocky creek bed, perhaps with my feet in the water, lying back with closed eyes, and preferably a cool breeze running through my hair. This is intertwined with the romantic concepts of interest in nature and associating human moods with nature. Both the author and I associate nature, more specifically “the winds and waters” (29), with calm and serenity. The consistent, flowing rhyme scheme (ABAB BCBC C, which reminds me a bit of the terza rima scheme) adds to this sense of orderly smoothness.

  7. "Stanzas Written in Dejection- December 1818, Near Naples"

    I disagree with Elissa's claim that the poem is "romantic in the way it emphasizes nature, and inspires the speaker". Yes, I will acknowledge it contains many instances in which the poet utilizes nature to make the poem romantic. Inspiration, however, is not created by the scene. Rather, the author uses nature to contrast her situation with that of those that she pities because they are unable to embellish themselves in the beauty of nature. This is the true reason that the poem is romantic. The poet is able to detach herself from society and popular belief to find pleasure in something other than money. Shelley writes that those with wealth "call life pleasure", but this is the case that she pleads. They "call" life pleasure, but is it really? According to her, it is not, and thus, she emphasizes the beauty of her "cup (that) has been dealt".

  8. Stanzas Written in Dejection - December 1818, Near Naples

    After reading this poem, I immediately recalled Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats, because I found the theme similar in some aspects. At the beginning, the poet describes peaceful scenes of nature and beauty which conjures up joyful emotions from the reader. And like Keats' poem, there is an underlying, darker meaning. The speaker talks about how he cannot find pleasure in the superficial entities in life, such as wealth and power. "Alas! I have nor hope nor health,Nor peace within nor calm around,Nor that content surpassing wealth The sage in meditation found..." Instead it is nature that makes him truly happy, which I believe makes this poem Romantic.

  9. "Stanzas Written in Dejection-December 1818, Near Naples"
    Blog 3

    Shelley's "Stanzas Written in Dejection" are a harsh and cold appraisal of Shelley's own emotional state. He uses words such as "Solitude" (9) to evoke the idea of himself as a sad and lonesome human being.
    To give contrast, Shelley describes all the beautiful and wonderful things of the world, the "blue isles" (3), "snowy mountains" (3), the "green and purple seaweeds strown" (11). By describing the most beautiful natural scenes he can find, he does an excellent job of appealing to the romantic idea of interest in nature. He concludes all this emotionally appealing description with the concise phrase, "how sweet!" (18) as though to lull the audience into (at least at that moment) a feeling of serenity and peace. Then he shatters this calm moment by adding a line emphasizing his own despair, and loneliness, asking "did any heart now share in my emotion?"(18).
    The third stanza is the first time Shelley unleashes his own feelings in a veritable tempest of woes. He bemoans his lack of "hope" or "health" (19) and mournfully adds, "I see whom those surround/ Smiling they live, and call life pleasure;/ To me that cup has been dealt in another measure" (25-27) Implying that life's joys have abandoned him, that while others revel in happiness his "measure" (27) is simple melancholy.
    The fourth stanza seems to contradict the lamentations of the third, stating that the "despair itself is mild" (28), which is perhaps intended to be indicative of Shelley's feeling that despair, or anything other than apathy, is pointless. He closes the stanza with the word "monotony" (36) in reference to his last breath, which seems to promote the idea that life is meaningless.
    Shelley's final stanza is almost a eulogy, referring to himself as "one/ whom men love not" (41-42) and discussing his remembrance after death. His closing comes full circle to the study of the beauty in nature, noting that the "stainless glory" (44) of the setting sun will be remembered as more glorious and more joyful than his own life.
    I was personally struck by the innate sadness of the poem. If you can ignore the vaguely whiny, self-pitying quality of Shelley's character, he seems a sad and mournful character, deserving of such a sad piece of work. He manipulates language and metaphor beautifully to put himself at contrast with the beauty and joy of nature, making himself seems colorless against the rich tapestry of life with its purples and blues and greens.

  10. "Stanzas Written In Dejection Near Naples"

    In the beginning, the poet uses a sense of imagery to set a peaceful tone. Then that peaceful tone seems to transition to more of a melancholy one as she compares her hopeless and healthless self to others when she writes,
    "Others I see whom these surround--
    Smiling they live, and call life pleasure;--
    To me that cup has been dealt in another measure."
    The poet ties her depressed moods with nature which is shown in the lines,
    "And I might feel in the warm air
    My cheek grow cold, and hear the sea
    Breathe o'er my dying brain its last monotony."

  11. Stanzas Written in Dejection - December 1818, Near Naples

    What stood out the most about this poem was undeniable focus on nature, primarily emphasized through the literary device of personification. Not only does Shelley use this to show the "increasing interest in nature" (romanticism sheet), he uses it to associate the human mood with the mood of nature. The "breath of the moist earth," is just one example, and in addition, he capitalizes any ideas/things that he relates to... The "Deep," and the "Ocean," are two words he uses for the sea, and another example of this capitalization is "Solitude," perhaps the best representation of this poem. Shelley begins the poem very happily, but continues to say the "City's voice itself is soft" (very peaceful but separated) and that "[he sits] upon the sand alone." The despair, the "dejection" is unmistakable.

    Shelley's poem is similar to other romantic poems, not just because of the theme of nature and imagination, etc, but quite literally, both Shelley and William Blake associate death with not only the unknown (which is obvious) but also the unseen. "Till death like sleep might steal on me" shows how they both think of death as something that comes quickly with no notice, which is not necessarily true. This is the reason this association is actually interesting, is the association with depression and these harsh ideas. "Breath o'er my dying brain its last monotony," is one example.

    With this in mind, the tone that Shelley ends with is interesting. He again sets himself apart, in solitude, because "[he] is one/Whom men love not." He then ends on a happier but still sour note, like joy in memory yet," the key word being yet, symbolizing the innate and thematic idea of despair.

  12. Shelley’s tone throughout “Stanzas Written in Dejection” is entirely illustrated through his relationship with the nature around him in the poem. As he breaths in the world that encircles him, he connects himself with nature, providing reflections upon nature’s effect on the individual, a concept easily within the realm of romanticism. As he mourns over his lack of inner happiness, he compares himself with the average content person, as “smiling they live, and call life pleasure:/ To me that cup has been dealt in another measure.” The fulfillment of the crashing waves and sandy beaches around him remind him of his inner gloom, and he further connects his poem to the romantic genre by creating this contrast through vivid descriptions of the scenery surrounding him: “The purple noon's transparent might:/ The breath of the moist earth is light/ Around its unexpanded buds.” And so, as Shelley looks upon this, his depression is met with an element of peace inspired by the nature, a desire to “weep away the life of care.”

    --Alec Herskowitz

  13. Stanzas Written In Dejection - December 1818, Near Naples

    Percy Bysshe Shelley tells of a lonely person, perhaps he was writing about himself as many poets do, who seems to be sick. "Alas! I have nor hope nor health,/ [...] Nor that content, surpassing wealth,/ The sage in meditation found/,And walk'd with inward glory crown'd;/ [...] Others I see whom these surround—/ Smiling they live, and call life pleasure:/To me that cup has been dealt in another measure." The man has evidently led a sorrowful life and finds that he doesn't have what others do not even the inner peace that a monk, who has nothing else, might have. In each stanza hie depicts something in detail; the beach, the ocean and the light reflecting off it,and his sorrow and how even it has dulled. The poem is soft and their is emotion (mostly sadness) in each stanza. Like in most romantic poetry their is an emphasis on nature especially at the beginning of the poem but still at the end he mentions that his sorrow has dulled just as the feeling of the wind and water has, and that perhaps as he dies he might "feel in the warm air/ my cheeck grow cold, and hear the sea."