Adonais: Poem No. 13 - Summary & Analysis

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Stanza 13
Line 109-117
And others came. Desires and Adorations; Winged Persuasions, and veiled Destinies;
Splendors, and Glooms, and glimmering incarnations
Of Hopes and Fears, and twilight Fantasies;
And Sorrow, with her family of Sighs;
And Pleasure, blind with tears, led by the gleam
Of her own dying smile instead of eyes,—
Came in slow pomp;—the moving pomp might seem
Like pageantry of mist on an autumnal stream.

Summary

      Among the mourners there were many others: passions, joys, hopes and fears, sorrow and pleasure—all of which make up the stock-in-trade of an inspired, imaginative poet—came in a misty procession to lament their loss.)

Explanation

            L. 109-112. And others came.....twilight Fantasies. Shelley is describing the first group of mourners who came to lament the sad death of Adonais (Keats). Shelley here mentions thinly personified figures of the various abstract qualities of the poetic mind, such as the passions, sentiments, imaginations, etc., which shape the thoughts of a poet into poetry. He means to say that these passions, sentiments, etc., which once expressed themselves in poetic language by force of the living mind of the poet, now being detached from it on account of the death of the poet, pass away and vanish; so far as Adonais is concerned, they will no more be communicated from him to his readers. Shelley imagines these qualities of the poetic mind as light, thin, airy beings, of various colors who come to mourn the poet's death. Among these airy beings were Desires, i.e, passions which stimulate poetic thoughts; Adorations i.e., the spirits of love and piety which inspire lofty thoughts; winged Persuasions, i.e., emotions so passionately conceived as to fly from the poet's heart into the hearts of readers with compelling appeal; veiled Destinies, various forces which govern the course of human life; Splendours, i.e., glowing, pictorial images; Glooms, i.e., dark, depressing melancholy thoughts; glimmering Incarnations of hopes and fears, i.e., faint glimpses of hopes and fears; and twilight Phantasies, i.e., hazy but alluring mental images. Shelley here imitates Moschus's Lament on Bion who introduces "Apollo himself, the Satyrs and the Priapi in sable raiment and the pains" as mourners; but Shelley substitutes highly abstract images for these concrete persons of Moschus.

      L. 109. Others—i.e., other mourners of the group to which the Dreams belonged. These are named in the Stanza. Desires—passions, strong emotions which lie at the root of poetry (not only of Keats, but also of other good poets) Adorations—feelings of pity, love, worship, etc., which are the key to poetic conception. 'The worship of the heart', 'the desire of the moth for the star,' 'the devotion to something afar'—these are the staple of Shelley's own poetry. Keats himself has spoken of 'relish in the fairy power of imreflecting love'.

      L. 110. Winged Persuasions—thoughts and emotions passionately conceived and passionately expressed in effective images so as to make their way into the hearts of readers and captivate them.
 
      L. 111. Splendours—lovely; glowing thoughts expressed in rapturous images. Glooms—dark, depressing thoughts; melancholy ideas (which abound in Shelley's lyrics, and also in Keats's poems. Glimmering—indistinct but glowing; faintly shining. Incarnations—(here) spiritual shapes. Glimmering"....fears—vague, indistinct thoughts inspired by hopes or by fears. Such thoughts as of an idealized future, of expected death, etc. which inspire some poetry specially of the romantic kind. Keats wrote "When I have fears that I may cease to be."

      L. 112. Twilight Fantasies—hazy; dimly-conceived mental images. Of such, we have innumerable instances in this poem of Shelley's; Keats's images are more concrete and sensuous. At Keats beholds "in night's starry face huge cloudy symbols of high romance."

      L. 113. Sorrow.....sight—the spirit of sorrow is a female angel and her children are sighs. 'Sorrow' and 'Sighs' are fruitful inspirers of much beautiful poetry L. 114-115. Pleasure, blind...eyes—Pleasure (personification of poetic joy) which formerly got sweet poetic expression from Adonais now weeps so much for his death that her eyesight is lost in tears, and so she cannot see her way to the dead body; yet she has another light to guide her to it; that light does the work of her eyes; it is the faint light of her disappearing smile, for her smile is almost over; but she being the angel of pleasure, the smile lingers till the very end of her own existence. L. 116. Slow pomp—sad, quietly moving procession. Pomp—procession, pageant (of all these Desires, Adorations, etc.).

      L. 117. Like pageantry...stream—as light, vague and slowly vanishing as the fantastic figures we seem to see in a roll of mist on the surface of a current of water in the misty season of autumn. Such a mist changes its shape every moment along with the flowing water and gradually disappears. Shelley's images are often very apt and curiously felicitous when drawn from the vague, changeful aspects of Nature.

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