Adonais: Poem No. 25 - Summary & Analysis

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Stanza 25
Line 217-225
In the death-chamber for a moment Death,
Shamed by the presence of that living Might, Blushed to annhilation, and the breath
Revisited those lips, and life's pale light
Flashed through those limbs so late her dear delight.
'Leave me not wild and drear and comfortless,
As silent lightning leaves the starless night!
Leave me not!' cried Urania. Her distress
Roused Death: Death rose and smiled, and met her vain caress.


      As Urania appeared in the death-chamber, her very presence seemed to put death to shame, so that for a moment Adonais seemed to be animated; but soon death re-asserted his influence, and as Urania kissed Adonais, she kissed the dead body only.


      L. 217. Death-chamber—the room in which the dead body of Adonais lay Some take it to refer to the open grave—the grave-vault—in which his body was just put but not yet covered with earth. LI. 217-218. Death shamed.... Might—Death being ashamed of his own ugly ways in the presence of Urania, who was a spirit aglow with the living force of love. L. 219. Blushed to annihilation—felt so much ashamed that he (Death) turned red and thus lost his paleness, so that he was no longer death; i.e., even death lost its power for a moment.

      LI. 219-221. And the breath....dear delight—death being thus made powerless, for a moment the dead lips of Adonais became animated and a faint glow of life lighted up the limbs of Adonais who was so long the source of her (Urania's) greatest delight; i.e., Adonais seemed to be alive again for a moment. L. 222. Wild—mad with grief. Drear—abandoned.

      L. 223. As silent lightning—as a streak of lightning flash which is not accompanied by thunder. As silent....night—as a dark starless night is made beautiful by a momentary flash of silent (Noiseless) lightning, so you made my joyless 'widowed' life joyful: now by your death my life is going to be still more joyless, as the dark night seems darker when the lightning flash in over.

      LI. 224-225. Her distress...caress—Death, who had withdrawn himself for a moment, was awakened by the cries of Urania to a sense of his wicked duty He came up and smiled in contempt of Urania's sorrow; reclaimed the dead body as his own, and when Urania bent to kiss Adonais she kissed Death only i.e., the dead body of Adonais—not his living person.

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