Thursday, October 6, 2022

Question answer of the poem 'To A Skylark' by Shelley.

1. Shelley in 'To A Skylark', describes skylark as 'bird thou never wert'-- What does the skylark symbolise in this poem?

Ans. Here the skylark symbolises a divine, mysterious spirit and it represents absolute joy and happiness. Shelley's concept of the skylark is something abstract and transcendental. It is a power which would enable the poet to create a new and better world.

2. In 'To a Skylark' Shelley compares the skylark with different objects. Mention some of them.

Ans. The poet compares the skylark with a star of heaven, with a poet hidden in the light of his thought, with a high born maiden in a palace tower. Shelley also compares the skylark with a golden glow-worm and a rose concealed in its own green leaves.

3. Among all the imagery used by Shelley in this poem which one do you like most and why?

Ans. Shelley compares the song of the skylark with moonbeams that rains through 'One lonely cloud' and floods the entire sky. The lonely cloud symbolically expresses the unique nature of the skylark's song, and, the sky flooded with moonlight denotes the effect of the skylark's song on the minds of people.

4. Shelley calls the skylark's song 'unpremeditated art'. What does he mean to say?

Ans. Here 'unpremeditated" means spontaneous or effortless. The skylark is not merely a bird. It is a divine spirit whose art needs no preparation or effort like the arts produced by human beings. On the contrary, it spontaneously flows like a stream because the skylark was born with the natural ability to sing melodies 'unpremeditated'.

5. "Like a cloud of fire,
The blue deep thou wingest"-What does the expression suggest?

Ans. The delightful shower of melody sends a thrill of exquisite joy in the heart of the poet. "Like a cloud of fire" does not refer to the actual appearance of the skylark, but to its continuous motion in upward circles.

6. "Thou dost float and run,
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun" -Bring out the significance of the extract.

Ans. Shelley describes here the effortless flight of the bird. High up in the air, the bird has become invisible. Its presence is indicated and its movement made known by its song. As the song gives expression to joy and its source is invisible, Shelley calls the bird "an unbodied Joy", the disembodied spirit of joy.

7. Like a star of heaven
In the broad daylight" -What is being compared with a star of heaven'? Bring out the appropriateness of the comparison.

Ans. The skylark which is not a bird, but the symbol of a divine, mysterious a spirit is being compared here with a star of heaven'.

The comparison implied here is quite appropriate and significant. Like a star concealed in the heaven in the presence of daylight, the skylark also hides itself from the views of men. It remains unseen but its delightful music pervades the entire atmosphere.

8. "Keen as are the arrows
Of that silver sphere
Whose intense lamp narrows
In the white dawn clear." -What does the 'silver sphere' refer to? When 'intense lamp' narrow?

Ans. Here the 'silver sphere' refers to the bright Venus.

At the time of dawn it loses its brightness and looks dim. Because, the bright rays of the rising sun conceal it from our view.

9. "What thou art we know not;
What is most like thee?"-Whom does the poet address in this manner? Why is it so difficult to know what it is?

Ans. The poet here addresses the skylark in this manner. For him, the skylark is not merely a bird but a divine, mysterious spirit that exercises a benevolent influence on the human world.

It is something mysterious and divine and lies far beyond the scope of human understanding. It is the symbol of perfect joy and happiness that always remain beyond the reach of ordinary mortals.

10. "As when the night is bare,
From one lonely cloud
The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is overflow'd." -Bring out the comparison involved in these lines.

Ans. See Ans. to Q. 3.

11. "Like a poet hidden
In the light of thought" -What does the extract signify?

Ans. Shelley here compares the skylark singing sweetly in the sky to a great poet who is completely absorbed in his lofty idealism, singing prophetic songs to inspire people to high ideals. The skylark resembles an unknown poet, living in the realm of his majestic idealism, creating a stir in the sleeping conscience of mankind.

12. 'Like a high-born maiden
In a palace tower" -Bring out the aptness of the simile.

Ans. Shelley's exquisite simile represents the high water-mark of pure romanticism. Shelley compares the skylark to a high-born maiden living in the tower of a palace. She consoles her aching heart by singing Oto herself in seclusion.

13. "Till the scent it gives
Makes faint with too much sweet these heavy-winged thieves". -What does it' refer to? Who are the 'heavy-winged thieves' and why are they so called?

Ans. It refers to a rose concealed in its own green leaves.

The 'heavy-winged thieves' are the winds which 'deflowered the www.rose. They are called so because the winds steal the fragrance of the rose and its motion is supposed to be slowed down with the burden of that fine fragrance.

14. "All that ever was
Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass." -What music is being referred to? What joyous, clear and fresh things does the poet have in mind? How does the music referred to here surpass them?

Ans. The music or song of the skylark is being referred to here.

The poet has in mind the sound of spring showers on the waving grass and the flowers washed with the fresh drops of rain.

All such things are imperfect and subjected to decay and destruction. But the skylark's song is perfect and immortal and infinite by its very nature. So, it surpasses everything that is joyous and beautiful, yet subjected to death and decay.

15. "Teach us Sprite or bird," -Does Shelley consider the skylark to be a bird or a spirit?

Ans. Shelley considers the skylark to be a spirit. It is a divine, mysterious power that could inspire men to create a better world. This is a heavenly spirit that does not share with man the joys and sorrows of an earthly life. Shelley's characterization of the skylark is clear from the expression 'bird thou never wert'.

16. What did Shelley want to learn from the Skylark?

Ans. Shelley wanted to learn from the Skylark "half the gladness" that prompts such wonderful melody in the Skylark's song. If he can imbibe even half the ecstasy of the bird, be too would be able to keep the world spellbound by the incantation of his verse.

16. Why does Shelly compare 'The Skylark' to a poet?

Ans. A poet always immerge himself in his thoughts a creation. A poet's creation always has a deep impact in the reader's mind. 'The Skylark' also motivates mankind through its eternal music.

18. "A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want." -What is meant by 'a thing"? What hidden want is felt to be in it? Is there anything in which there is no such hidden want?

Ans. A thing here refers to hymeneal chorus or a triumphal chant.

Though these songs are joyous and delightful, they are imperfect, as all human creations must always be. They lack perfection and immortality. This has been referred to as a hidden want. According to Shelley, there is no such hidden want in the skylark's song because it is the symbol of perfect joy and everlasting happiness.

19. What according to Shelley, could be the sources of the skylark's 'happy strain'?

Ans. Shelley asserts that we mortals cannot even imagine those things that inspire the skylark's heavenly song. To sing such a divine song, the skylark must be ignorant of all kinds of pain and suffering. It must never have experienced the feeling of annoyance and disappointment. This utter ignorance of pain and suffering might be the source of its divine inspiration.

20. 'What love of thine own kind? What ignorance of pain? -Why does Shelley ask this question?

Ans. Shelley is very anxious to know what inspires the skylark to sing such a joyful song. It may be that the real cause of its spontaneous melody is that it is free from mortal pain or sorrow. Man's life is darkened by suffering and his happiness is clouded by pain. The skylark is blissfully unconscious of pain and sorrow.

21. "Thou lovest but ne'er knew love's sad satiety" -Throw light upon the truth conveyed here.

Ans. Shelley contrasts the happiness of mankind with that of the skylark. Love is, no doubt, a delightful emotion but at a certain stage, even love loses all its charm and pleasure. But the love of the skylark is eternal and uniform. It knows no satiety or surfeit. In fact, the skylark enjoys the pleasure of love without knowing its sad and cloying satisfaction.

22. "Our sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought." -What is meant here by 'song'? Do you consider this statement to be true? Give reasons for your answer.

Ans. 'Songs' here refer to literature in general, and to poetry in particular.

The history of literature in any language confirms Shelley's view. It is common knowledge that we like tragedies better than comedies. The greatest literature in any language deals with human sorrows and sufferings rather than with the joy and happiness of life.

23. Shelley calls the skylark 'the scorner of the ground'. What does he really mean to say? Another famous poet objected to this view. Who is he, and what did he say?

Ans. Shelley really means to say that the skylark is a heavenly, divine spirit which for ever remains far away from this dungy earth. It is something perfect and absolute and so it never comes down to this imperfect world of misery, suffering and destruction.

The other poet is William Wordsworth.

In his 'To The Skylark', Wordsworth objected to this view. He said that the skylark was a "pilgrim of the sky" but it always maintained a "never-failing-bond" between heaven and its earthly nest. It was not a 'scorner of the ground' but remained "true to the kindred points of Heaven of Home".

24. "The world should listen then-as I am listening now". -What attitude of the poet is revealed here?

Ans. Shelley requests the skylark to teach him half of the raptures and sweetness, so that inspired by this divine madness, he too might sing such enchanting songs that may elicit spontaneous praise from people of the world. Like Keats, Shelley was also severely criticized by the critics. Therefore, Shelley seems to be smarting under the pain caused by the utter indifference of people towards his poetry, so, he requests the skylark to teach him half of its rapture and melody.

25. How does Shelley paint of human life in his poem "To A Skylark?"

Ans. Shelley in this ode speaks of man as a victim of pain, sorrow and imperfect happiness. A poet gives brilliant thoughts to his fellowmen but himself remains unknown. High-born maidens living in palace suffer from pangs of unfulfilled love. Men sing praises of love and wine, celebrate occasions. But their songs are always wanting in something.

26. What is the secret of the melodious madness of the skylark?

Ans. All sorrows and worries which shadow human life are unknown to the skylark. The skylark understands the nature of death better than human beings. Human beings are always afraid of death. Men cannot get rid of pride, fear, jealousy. These are unknown to the skylark.

27. How does "To A Skylark" differ from "Ode to the West Wind"?

Ans. In To A Skylark" the skylark is an embodiment of a spirit bringing to man joy because of its song. It sings of an unearthly bliss. In "Ode to the West Wind" the poet invokes the West Wind in its two fold capacity as a destroyer of all that is old and a preserver of all that makes for growth. In the former there is a rhapsodic flow of inspiration [fic que. The latter, rich in prophetic ideas is in terzarima.

28. Write a note on the structure of the ode "To a skylark'

Ans. To A Skylark' falls into five parts. The first part gives us the description of the skylark as it sings in its flight in the heavens. The second part gives us a series of similes to bring out the sweetness of the song of this invisible bird. The third part makes the poet wonder at how the bird is inspired to give expression to an unmixed joy in its song. In the fourth part the poet contrasts this unmixed joy with the happiness of human beings. In the fifth part, the poet urges the skylark to teach him the art of happiness unmixed with pain.

29. What is the prophetic idealism of Shelley in his ode "To A Skylark"?

Ans. "To A Skylark" is a lyric full of prophetic idealism of Shelley. Here he implores the Skylark to teach him half the gladness of the Skylark so that he can inoculate the world with the serum of joy and elixir of happiness.

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