The Ode to West Wind
Percy Bysshe Shelley's "Ode to the West Wind" is a lyric poem. The poem addresses the west wind as the powerful force and the speaker asks the west wind to disseminate his words and thoughts throughout the world. The speaker narrates the vicissitude of nature and how the west wind changes the ground, the sky and the ocean. With rich imagination which is the reflection of Shelley's "defence of Poetry," the poet modifies the west wind, being both a destroyer and a preserver, as a symbol of revolution, an impetus of the rejuvenation in both human and natural world. Then, the speakers complains about the circumstances of his life, pleads to accompany with the west wind and states his prophecy about future.
In the first Stanza, the west wind is personified and the speaker sketches the spirit of the west wind in autumn. Those dead leaves are blown away by the west wind as if those leaves are ghosts encountered by a wizard. "Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red, Pestilence-stricken multitudes," the description of those leaves not only illustrates its scary color and ill-condition but also represents decadent things or old fashioned concepts which is too strong and widely spread so they can not be easily removed through the word "Pestilence-striken". Then, the west wind collects seeds in its Chariot and deposits them in the earth until they are awakened by the spring's clarion. The narrator also included the description of seeds, comparing them in winter and spring:
The wingèd seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow
Her clarion2 o'er the dreaming earth, and fill
(Driving sweet buds like flocks to feed in air)
With living hues and odours plain and hill (Line)
Seeds are "winged" in such a way that they are able to prosper and fly; on the other hand, those seeds are restrained inside their graves, which implies seeds are new hopes or new concepts but they are week under the old ages. In this way, the west wind is the revolutionist in autumn while the spring would represent a new era where new hopes and concepts prevail so "sweet buds" will fill the "dreaming earth" which is "under the clarion." At that time, the stronger seed will shows its power to concur the world with peace and joy. The last two lines of the first stanza contain key words of the poem:"Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere; Destroyer and preserver; hear, O hear! " The speaker compares the West Wind to "Wild Spirit" and the word Spirit derive from Latin Spiritus, which is related with Spirate (to breathe". (From http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=spirit) In this way, the author connects the wind with spirit. When one's spirit is low and depressed, the west wind will blow into one's heart to encourage his spirit. The west wind is the destroyer of old concepts and concepts while it preserves new hopes (seeds) prepared for the new era. [Can this be a...