5/29/2019

"Adonais" by P.B. Shelley : as a pastoral Elegy.



An elegy is a poem of lamentation. It mourns the death of an individual or laments a tragic event. The pastoral elegy is a poem about both death and idyllic rural life. In the pastoral elegy the poet in the guise of a shepherd laments for the dead companion.

Adonais" is a pastoral elegy which Shelley wrote on the death of his contemporary poet John Keats. This pastoral elegy is written in the pattern of the classical pastoral elegy. For his primary models, Shelley took two Sicilian Greek poets, Bion and Moschus.In Moschus, groves and gardens, nymphs, Echo, the Loves, towns and cities, the muse, and pastoral poets mourn for Bion. In Bion's
Lament," Shelley found the death of Adonis from the attack of a boar and the description of the corpse in death.

Pastoral elegy begins with an invocation to the Muses. Similarly
Adonais" begins with an invocation and mournful tone:

"I weep for Adonais-he is dead!
O, weep for Adonais, though our tears"

In a pastoral elegy, shepherds lament for their dead companion.
In "Adonais", Shelley metaphorically compares Keats to a shepherd and his poetic fancies to sheep. Just as sheep mourn the dead shepherd drooping round him, Keats's poetic fancies lament his death. Again the poets in the guise of shepherds mourn the death of Keats. In the poem Byron, Moore, Shelley and Hunt mourn the death of Keats in the guise of shepherds.

In a pastoral elegy, all nature joins in mourning the shepherds death. In the poem, Morning mourns the death of Keats with her hair unbound and wet with tears. The Thunder moans and is sad with
grief. Because of the death of Keats the Ocean is pale with gret and the Winds are mad with grief. Echo is so depressed about Keats
death that she decides not to respond to wind, fountains, bird, grass etc. Because of the death of Keats, Spring is 'wild' with grief, and it akes her throw her flower buds down, as if she  was Autumn, who kills the buds. Hyacinth and Narcissus become pale at the death of Keats.

There is often a procession of mourners in a pastoral elegy. In "Adonais" Urania is first in the procession. She attacks the Tory reviewers and laments that as she is immortal, she cannot join Keats in death. The human mourners, Byron, Thomas Moore, Shelley
himself, and Keats' friend Leigh Hunt follow Urania. Byron mourns the death of Keats singing a quiet, pathetic song which is appropriate to the occasion. Moore of Ireland sings of the wrongs done to Urania. Shelley seems to be completely broken in spirit. Leigh Hunt is in deep sorrow because of the death of Keats.

There is a closing consolation in an elegy. At the end of "Adonais", Shelley concedes the passing of his friend because he accepts the idea that Keats' "light" will continue to "kindle" the inspiration of the universe. So long as we never forget the power of Adonis’ spiritual resurrection, he will forever remain. The poets
"breath," in the "light" shall guide Shelley throughout the rest of his
life.

Thus, "Adonais" is a pastoral elegy as it begins with an invocation; then it describes the nature's participation in poets' mourning for Keats; there follows a procession of mourners and finally Shelley incorporates a consolation at the end of the poem.

No comments:

Post a Comment