Percy Bysshe Shelley, To a Skylark

Mark Sandy (University of Durham)
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Inspired by a summer evening's stroll through country lanes hedged by myrtle, “To a Skylark” recalls the sights and sounds witnessed by Percy and Mary Shelley of the emerging fireflies and melodious skylark's song. Shelley's “To a Skylark” was completed near Leghorn by late June 1820 and, like “The Cloud”, posted to England for inclusion in the Prometheus Unbound volume.

Shelley's evocation of the skylark's enchanting “voice” (27) celebrates the ingenious struggle of a poet to represent what is incomprehensible:

Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
Bird thou never wert,
That from Heaven, or near it,
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art. (1-5) <…

807 words

Citation: Sandy, Mark. "To a Skylark". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 March 2002 [, accessed 28 September 2023.]

7305 To a Skylark 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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