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To a Skylark

To a Skylark

by Percy Bysshe Shelley

To a Skylark Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

The name for this kind of poem, where the speaker praises a person, and idea or a thing, is an ode. The Romantic poets wrote a lot of odes, and Shelley was no exception. Why were they such big fans...

Speaker

The speaker in "To a Skylark" doesn't give us many hints about who exactly he is, in the most basic sense. (Actually, we don't even learn if it's a man or a woman who's talking. To keep things simp...

Setting

We get almost no clues at all about where this poem is taking place. That's just how Shelley wants it. He doesn't want us thinking about where we're standing, or whether there are trees or elephant...

Sound Check

We think the lines in this poem go off like firecrackers. Little concentrated bursts of sound and feeling that explode and then die away. In part, that comes from the unit of meter that dominates t...

What's Up With the Title?

On the one hand, this is pretty obvious, right? It's a poem about a skylark, and that's what it tells you in the title. On the other hand, what about the first word? Why would you write to a bird?...

Calling Card

Percy Shelley got a lot done in a really short life (check out our Shmoop Guide to Shelley for more on that). He wrote many kinds of poems, so in a sense, he has many calling cards. Still, there ar...

Tough-o-Meter

This poem has a simple topic (the pretty song of a bird), but it has a tricky side, too. Before you know it, Shelley's off on a philosophical and metaphorical quest, and it takes a little huffing a...

Trivia

Skylarks used to be a delicacy. Apparently their tongues were a special favorite. Yum! (Source.) Shelley published his first book at 18. It was a novel with the catchy title Zastrozzi. Apparently i...

Steaminess Rating

This one is clean as a whistle—definitely safe for all ages. It does contain the line "panted forth a flood of rapture so divine" (65), but sadly, when you read it in context it's not nearly as s...
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