Study Guide

Adonais Stanza 40

By Percy Bysshe Shelley

Stanza 40

Lines 352-360

    He has outsoar'd the shadow of our night;
    Envy and calumny and hate and pain,
    And that unrest which men miscall delight,
    Can touch him not and torture not again;
    From the contagion of the world's slow stain
    He is secure, and now can never mourn
    A heart grown cold, a head grown gray in vain;
    Nor, when the spirit's self has ceas'd to burn,
With sparkless ashes load an unlamented urn.

  • Adonais-Keats has flown so high, the speaker says, that human problems like "envy," "calumny" (slander), "hate," "pain," and "unrest" cannot torture him. We guess that's a bright side.
  • Shelley is again implying (or maybe just hoping) that criticism can no longer bother Keats.
  • The corruption of the world is like a stain or a contagious virus, the speaker says, and it can no longer spread to those who are dead, and that's a good thing.
  • Adonais-Keats also doesn't have to worry about aging; his heart won't grow cold and his hair won't turn grey.
  • He gets to be young forever, remembered (and lamented) as a great poet who died young.
  • This is another reason not to mourn him, says the speaker.