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The poetic creativity of Shelley and Keats Free essay! Download now

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The poetic creativity of Shelley and Keats

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 2300 | Submitted: 01-Sep-2008
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Shelley and Keats


Percy Bysshe Shelley^s "Ode to the West Wind" and John Keats^s ode "To Autumn" are two beautiful poems which were blown to its authors by the English autumn ^ both poets are influenced by the seasonal process in nature which ushers them into the mood of transience and aging. However, the two of them differently perceive the same natural manifestations. The radical poet Shelley observes the deadly changes in nature caused by the autumnal wind with an expectation for the following spring and revival. In the seasonal process he sees a symbolic prototype for possible revolutionary changes both in his own life and in the existing social structure of his country. His "Ode to the West Wind" ! primarily appeals to the active sublime power of the west wind to give him that energy which is able to change the world. At the same time, another Romantic poet Keats drowsy accepts the idea of aging and accomplishment ^ in his ode "To Autumn" he celebrates fruitfulness of the autumn and bides farewell to the passing away year and together with it to his great poetry.

The Romantic autumnal odes of Shelley and Keats are born from the poetic observations of natural changes and from their ability to penetrate the mood of fall which provides them a incentive for artistic creativity. In "Ode to the West Wind" Shelley mainly concentrates his attention on his observations of the death caused by the autumnal wind. He compares the "dead leaves" to "ghosts" (WW, 676/2-3), and the "winged seeds" ^ to dead bodies which "lie cold and low... within [their] grave" (WW, 676/7-8). All these images talk to the author of the "dying year" (WW, 677/24), of transience of time and of aging. Little by little his mind becomes full of "dead thoughts"(WW, 678/63) which overwhelm him after he penetrates the autumnal mood of nature ^ thus his mind generates the mood of the season and he becomes a part of it. However, observing the autumnal devastation Shelley knows that this season is not to rule over the earth forever: for him it is just a period of "darkness which waits for a redeemer" (Webb, p.178). He expects the time when "Spring shall blow" (WW, 676/9) over England and new leaves will replace the falling ones, and when the "winged seeds" (WW, 676/7-8) will awake from their deep sleep to produce new life. Aware of the fact that year after year "the old life goes and a new life returns with the seasonal cycle" (Tet, p.214), the poet is disturbed by a feeling of heavy pressure of time on the world. Being a part of natural mood, as well as natural mood being a part of him, Shelley decidedly composes the lines, where he identifies the mature season of the year with his own aging: "A heavy weight of hours has chained and bowed One too like thee^" (WW, 678/55-6).

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