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To a Skylark

To a Skylark


by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Stanza 12 Summary

Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.

Lines 56-57

   Sound of vernal showers
    On the twinkling grass,

  • We get more lovely images from nature here. The rains of spring ("vernal showers") make a pleasant sound on the "twinkling grass."
  • Notice how alive and exciting nature is in this poem. The grass can't just hang out and be grass (bor-ing). Nope. It has to be "twinkling" too.

Line 58

   Rain-awaken'd flowers,

  • This is another pretty nature image: flowers waking up in the rain. 
  • There's a little subtle personification here, since flowers don't actually sleep. But again, the vibrancy of the natural world comes through.

Lines 59-60

    All that ever was
Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass.

  • At last! Here's the payoff for all those comparisons with other things in nature.
  • Basically, the song of the skylark is better than all that other stuff. Every last bit of it. So, all those similes? Yeah, they kind of fall short.
  • There are plenty of joyous things in nature—glow-worms and flowers and raindrops, etc.—but the music of the lark goes beyond ("surpasses") it all.

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