Adonais: Poem No. 1 - Summary & Analysis

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Stanza 1
Line 1-9
I weep for Adonais—he is dead!
Oh, weep for Adonais, though our tears
Thaw not the frost which binds so dear a head! And thou, sad Hour, selected from all years
To mourn our loss, rouse thy obscure compeers,
And teach them thine own sorrow! Say, With me
Died Adonais! Till the Future dares
Forget the past, his fate and fame shall be
An echo and light unto eternity.'


      The poet weeps for dead Adonais and asks us all to mourn for him though our tears will be of no avail to bring him back to life: he calls upon the wretched Hour in which Adonais died to call up other less famous Hours to keep the lamentation with her. Let them proclaim that both the miserable fate and great fame of Keats (Adonais) will be remembered through the ages.)


      L. 1. I weep for Adonais—The poet mourns for Keats who is dead. L. 3. Thaw—melt. Frost—oldness of death. Though our...a head—though our tears, I know, will not be able to remove the coldness of death which has chilled the life of zone so dear to us.’ So dear a head—a Greek expression for 'one so dear to us.: L. 4. Sad Hour—the particular hour in which Keats died; the Hour is 'sad' because she had to feel directly the dreadful shock of the first agony of seeing Keats die, Selected from...loss—which has been particularly fixed by fate to beat the first impress of the sorrow for Keats. The Hours or Seasons in classical myths are celestial deities dancing in perpetual rounds and visiting the earth by turn in a year. L. 5. Rouse—wake up. Compeers— equals. Obscure Compeers—less famous sisters; because they are not so conspicuous as the particular Hour in which Keats died; that Hour will be mourned every year as she returns to earth. L. 6. Tench them...sorrow—teach the other Hours the sorrow that you feel; i.e. let the one Hours weep in sympathy with you by learning from you why you weep. With the died Adonais— I was so unfortunate as to have to witness the death of Adonais. L. 7-8. Till the future...past—as long as the future lime retains memory of the past time; i.e., through all ages—as long as memory remains intact.

      LI. 8-9. His fate and...eternity—His fate shall be an echo, his fame will be a light to eternity; i.e., the miserable fate of Keats (his premature death caused by the malice of murderous critics) will be told in all future times and his poetic fame will shed glory on humanity forever.

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