Romantic Elements: in The Poem Adonais

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      Pre-occupation with Nature: Shelley, like all other romantic poets, treats Nature with love and admiration. Adonais is, therefore, full of images drawn from Nature. The poem is peerless at places where he portrays, with rare inspiration and accuracy, the details of Nature. His description of the advent of Spring is remarkable. When Spring comes:

The airs and streams renew their joyous tone;
The ants, the bees, the swallows reappear,
Fresh leaves and flowers deck the dead seasons' hair,
The amorous birds now pair in every brake,
And build their mossy homes in field and brere,
And the green lizard, and the golden snake,
Like unimprisoned flames, out of their trance awake.

      Shelley; like Wordsworth, looks at Nature through the eyes of a pantheist. Like Wordsworth, he dismisses the Christian theology which places God outside His creation, thus depriving Nature of spiritual life. He believes in one unifying spirit, present in all nature—the spirit of love. His pantheistic view is expressed, in the following lines, for instance:

He is made one with Nature! there is heard
His voice in all her music, from the moan
Of thunder, to the song of night's sweet bird:

      Vagueness: One characteristic feature of Romantic Naturalism is a fondness for the vague and indefinable. That is why Shelley too, occasionally, has recourse to a vagueness in his treatment of Nature. According to Thomson, "The universe is his box of toys. He dabbles his fingers in the day-fall. He is gold dusty with tumbling amidst the stars. He makes bright mischief with the moon. The meteors muzzle their noses in his hand. He chases the rolling world. He stands in the lap of patient nature and twines her loosened tresses after a hundred wilful fashions, to see how she will look nicest in his song". Some of the images in Adonais are extremely hazy and incomprehensible. In the poem, one Dream "faded like a cloud which had out-wept its rain; and another splendor alighted on the dead Keats's mouth died, and a dying meteor stains a wreath
Of moonlight vapor, which the cold night clips, If flushed through his pale limbs and passed to its eclipse.

      Personal Element and Melancholy: Self-portrayal, which Shelley does in a few Stanzas of Adonais, is yet another feature of Romantic poetry He describes himself as a poet of "less note" a "frail form", a "Phantom among men", and "companionless". He has "gazed on Nature's naked loveliness, Actaeon like" and is a "birdlike Spirit beautiful and swift". He is a "love in desolation masked", a "power girt round with weakness", a "dying lamp", a "falling shower", and a "breaking billow". He is branded by some as Cain, the murderer and social outcast, and by others as Jesus Christ, the Saviour of mankind.

      The self-portrayal of the poet, we find, has been tinged with a sense of melancholy which is another characteristic of Romantic poetry. In Shelley's poetry the melancholy is spontaneous and over-whelming because it springs from the pain and agony of his personal life. Like Cain, the murderer he has been thrown out of society. The corrupt world bears no charm for him and now he wishes to leave this world and join Keats in that realm of eternal peace.

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