Adonais: Poem No. 48 - Summary & Analysis

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Stanza 48

Line 424-432
Or go to Rome, which is the sepulcher,
Oh, not of him, but of our joy: 'tis naught
That ages, empires, and religions, there
Lie buried in the ravage they have wrought;
For such as he can lend,—they borrow not
Glory from those who made the world their prey;
And he is gathered to the kings of thought
Who waged contention with their time's decay,
And of the past are all that cannot pass away


      If one goes to Rome where Adonais lies buried, one will cease mourning for him. Rome's association with powerful kings; historical epochs, etc., is of no consequence. Men like Adonais owe nothing to the so-called great of the earth. He is one of the Kings of thought buried in Rome who only live for ever.


      L. 424. Or go to Rome—or if you mourn for Adonais (Keats), go to Rome where he lies buried and you will mourn no more, because, you will feel that he remains immortal among the ruins and the dead buried there. Sepulchre—grave. Keats was buried in the Protestant cemetery at Rome. L. 425. But of our joy—of Adonais, who was the source of our delight. Adonais, as a spirit, is immortal, he is passed into the infinite, he is now buried, we have lost him and so our "joy" is buried in Rome. 'Tis naught—it is of no importance.

      L. 426. Ages—successive epochs of history Rome as a city which later became the capital of an empire, began its career ia 753 B.C. and ended in Empires—i.e., successive stages in the history of the Roman empire. Religions—e.g., the idolatrous religions of the Romans, Greeks, Asiatics, etc., Rome being the resort of all nations of the ancient world—and then of Roman Catholic Christianity The ruins of many political, historical, and religious institutions are associated with Rome.

      L. 427. Lie buried...wrought—lie in ruins in the midst of the destruction which empires and religions have caused through the ages. Shelley a political idealist, a hater of religious sham and bigotry an unbeliever even in Christianity is indignant at the mad folly that makes kings and priests ruin the earth. But he means to say; such ruins are of no consequence to our present subject-matter, viz., the burial of Keats in Rome.

      L. 428. For such...lend—for such great geniuses as Adonais can lend glory to a place—the place (Rome) is honored by the burial of such persons and they owe no honor to the place. L. 429. From those....prey—from kings and conquerors and so-called great men who victimize humanity. Shelley the over of ideal liberty speaks here. L. 430. He is...thought—Adonais (Keats) has joined the great geniuses who lie buried in Rome—these sages, thinkers, poets are the real glory of the graveyards of Rome.

      L. 431. Contention—struggle. With....decay—baseness, thoughtlessness, poverty of noble ideas that characterized their respective ages. The geniuses fought against the 'ignorance, error and pain' of their time. L. 432. And of the....away—of all the things and persons of the past, they alone are immortals. Kings and conquerors, conquests and kingdoms—all are forgotten, but not these geniuses.

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