Percy Bysshe Shelley: To a Skylark (807 words)

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) <…

Citation: Sandy, Mark. "To a Skylark". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 March 2002 [, accessed 22 June 2021.]

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