Adonais: Poem No. 15 - Summary & Analysis

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Stanza 15
Line 127-135
Lost Echo sits amid the voiceless mountains,
And feeds her grief with his remembered lay,
And will no more reply to winds or fountains,
Or amorous birds perched on the young green sprays
Or herdsman's horn, or bell at closing day;
Since she can mimic not his lips, more dear
Than those for whose disdain she pined away
Into a shadow of all sounds:—a drear
Murmur, between their songs, is all the woodmen hear.


      Echo beside herself with grief, sits voiceless, only soothing her mind with what she remembers of the songs of Adonais. She will no more joyfully respond to the sounds of Nature or of men because she can no more echo the songs of Adonais.


      L. 127. Lost Echo—the nymph Echo' lost in her grief for Adonais. Here Echo is the nymph of Greek mythology (not one of the spiritual attendants on Urania as in St. 2). Echo lived in the woods and was in the habit of imitating whatever sounds she heard; vexed by her mocking manner, Juno cursed her that she should lose her voice, only retaining the power to imitate the last word or sound she heard. In this state, she fell in love with a beautiful youth Narcissus but could not speak out her love: she only repeated the last words of Narcissus. Being vexed with her manner of speaking, he refused to return her love; she pined away into a shadow so that she now remains invisible, only mimicking the last sounds of the words of others. Voiceless mountains—mountains which no more resound with echoes.

      L. 128. Feeds her...lay—soothes her grief only by the remembrance of the songs of the dead Adonais (because she can no more echo his living voice). L. 129. Reply—i.e., echo. L. 130. Amorous—full of love. Perched—seated Spray—twig, branch. L. 131. Herdsman'—Echo will no more reply to the sounds of the bugles of herdsmen or to the curfew bell. L. 132. Since...lips— because she cannot any more imitate the voice of Adonais.

      LI. 132-133. More dead....those—the lips of Adonais were more dear to her than the beautiful lips (of Narcissus) for which she lost her body.

      L. 133. For whose....away—owing to the hatred of which lips (of Narcissus) she thinned away till she became a shadow only. L. 134. Shadow...sounds—i.e., invisible duplicate of sounds made in open spaces, her figures being lost.

      LI. 134-135. A drear murmur...hear—Now Echo does not even mimic the sound of others for her grief for Adonais; so when the woodmen sing their songs, they hear no full-voiced, happy ringing sound sent back by Echo but only sad, melancholy dull sound returned by the material objects in the woods.

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