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6/03/2019

Shelley's use of imagery in his poem To a Skylark.


Shelley is a famous romantic poet who excels in manipulating imagery according to his sweet will. Shelley's poetry is the poetry of images. Images to describe objects come naturally, spontaneously and unconsciously to him. They heighten our feeling
of surprise, sublime our emotion.

Shelley is expert in depicting picture with the help of words. He is a pictorial artist. His insight is so grave that he portrays whatever he thinks. The main attraction of Shelley for the skylark is that it is a sightless song. The bird begins to fly higher and higher when the setting sun spreads its purple colour against the western sky. The melodious song of the skylark intensifies the sunshine and seeing
this Shelley draws a series of images.

Shelley's To a Skylark is a great poem which shows his consummate skill in manipulating concrete-abstract duality of imagery. The very first line of the poem, the skylark is greeted as a
"blithe Spirit" not as a bird. It soars higher and higher in the sky. The skylark in its upward flight is compared to a cloud of fire. In its
eontinuous motion upward the bird looks like a mass of flames whirling up into the sky.

As the bird flies higher and higher in the sky, it is lost out of our sight, but its song nevertheless regales our ears. The bird is thus
compared to a star eclipsed by daylight. In broad daylight we cannot locate the star though we feel that it is somewhere in the sky.

The skylark is next compared to the, moon. At dawn the moon fades out of sight in the advance of the sun. The bird goes out of sight, although its song pours on earth.

The skylark is further compared to a poet who remains unknown although his poetry is well known. The poet's world is a secret world of thoughts and fancies, which is hidden from men. Like the poet, the skylark is surrounded by pure thought. It is invisible to mortal vision but its presence is felt only by the flood of its melodious song which it releases from heaven. Like the poet, it sings song "unbidden" and its music lifts the curtain from the hidden glory and mystery of life and helps us to share the hopes and fears of the singer.

The skylark is again compared to a high-born maiden. The bird sings at a great height. The maiden sings at her bower. The lark is not a bird but an "unbodied joy"; the maiden is high-born. The lark has happy thoughts of love; the maiden is also love-laden who soothes her love-afflicted mind with music that is as sweet as her love. The lark sings alone in the sky height and the maiden too sings alone. The bird's song overflows her bower.

The skylark is also compared to a rose. The rose remains hidden behind the leaves but it scatters its fragrance in the clouds pours forth its song through the air and overflows the air as the fragrance of the rose spreads over the whole atmosphere.

The bird is again compared to a glow-worm. The skylark from the dizzy height in heaven overflows the sky and the earth though it
remains invisible there, just as the glow worm scatters its golden light, though it is invisible behind the screen of flowers and shrubs:

Like a glow-worm golden
In a dell of dew
Scattering unbeholden
Its aerial hue

Among the flowers and grass, which screen it from the view.

Thus Shelley's imagery in To a Skylark is very rich. He moves
from image to image, simile to simile. His images are drawn from the operations of the human mind.

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