Study Guide

Adonais Stanza 38

By Percy Bysshe Shelley

Stanza 38

Lines 334-342

    Nor let us weep that our delight is fled
    Far from these carrion kites that scream below;
    He wakes or sleeps with the enduring dead;
    Thou canst not soar where he is sitting now.
    Dust to the dust! but the pure spirit shall flow
    Back to the burning fountain whence it came,
    A portion of the Eternal, which must glow
    Through time and change, unquenchably the same,
Whilst thy cold embers choke the sordid hearth of shame.

  • Now the speaker is telling us to stop weeping. But… didn't he just spend thirty-eight stanza basically telling us why we should mourn? We guess he's changed his mind. 
  • He says that "our delight" (Adonais-Keats) has gone far away from the "carrion kites" (corpse-eating birds) on earth. He is now in a more eternal place, a place that endures. We can't visit him in Heaven. Only "pure spirits" get to hang out up there.
  • Shelley uses the imagery of a burning fountain to symbolize eternal life. Keats is now part of that fountain. 
  • It never changes. Therefore, Keats is always part of this energy. That's Shelley's version of heaven. 
  • Meanwhile, here on earth, "cold embers" are choking us with shame. He's glad that Keats is free of all that.
  • That's why he thinks we shouldn't mourn. Keats is in a better place. So… yay?

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