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To a Skylark

To a Skylark


by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Stanza 14 Summary

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

Lines 66-67

   Chorus Hymeneal,
    Or triumphal chant,

  • The speaker is in full smarty-pants mode here—showing off what he knows about poetry. These are just two different kinds of poems meant for different occasions. 
  • A "Hymeneal" chorus is a poem or a song for a wedding (Hymen was the Greek god of marriage).
  • A triumphal chant would be written to celebrate a victory.
  • There, not so complicated after all, right?

Lines 68-69

   Match'd with thine would be all
    But an empty vaunt,

  • As far as the speaker is concerned, all this human poetry can't stand up to the skylark's tune. 
  • In comparison, poetry would just sound like meaningless boasting ("an empty vaunt").

Line 70

A thing wherein we feel there is some hidden want.

  • Those empty boastful poems or songs would just make us feel like something was missing (a "hidden want") compared to the skylark's incredible melodies.

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