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13 January, 19:52

Shelley's "To a Skylark" is an ode, but the term ode does not show up in the title or the text itself. How exactly do you know that it is an ode based on what Shelley does and says in the poem? Why do you think this poetic form was one that worked so well for the Romantics?

In your response, make sure you explain what makes this poem an ode and why the Romantics used this type of poem so much. Make sure you also include textual evidence from the poem to support your ideas. Respond in 4-6 complete sentences (6-8 sentences).

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  1. 13 January, 20:25
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    To A Skylark is Shelley's romantic ode to a small songbird he believed embodied joy and happiness.

    Explanation:

    The skylark's song surpasses all music; it is a divine expression, an ideal beyond the reach of humans, who know happiness only through sadness.

    If only the lark could teach the poet and reveal 'half the gladness/That thy brain must know, - then people might listen to the poet and be transformed. But can this ever be achieved?

    The poem is sparked by inspiration, fueled by aspiration and carries a philosophical insight.

    For Shelley the skylark is a divine entity, something more than flesh, blood and feather. It is a symbol of spiritual upliftment and represents all that humans strive for but can never attain, freedom from the stresses and pain of mortal life. Throughout the 21 stanzas the poet explores this realm of spirituality, comparing the bird with numerous things: a cloud of fire, a star of Heaven, a rose and so on. The idea that the bird and its song transcend the limits of earthly existence and that the bird has an inner knowledge potentially available to humanity is fundamental to the poem and creates a subtle tension.

    The poet's approach to this singing bird is fervently romantic, that is, Shelley took inspiration from the natural world, believing it to be an expression of the divine.
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