Study Guide

Adonais Stanza 55

By Percy Bysshe Shelley

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Stanza 55

Lines 487-495

The breath whose might I have invok'd in song
Descends on me; my spirit's bark is driven,
Far from the shore, far from the trembling throng
Whose sails were never to the tempest given;
The massy earth and sphered skies are riven!
I am borne darkly, fearfully, afar;
Whilst, burning through the inmost veil of Heaven,
The soul of Adonais, like a star,
Beacons from the abode where the Eternal are.

  • The speaker thinks he "invoked" (summoned) this force with his "song." Since he's been using music as a metaphor for poetry throughout the poem, we can assume he means that this poem has summoned the force. 
  • It "descends" on him and makes his spirit leave the world (a "bark" is a boat), far from the crowd (the "throng" who were never tested by to a "tempest," or storm). His spirit's flight makes the "massy" (big) earth and "sphered" (round) skies "riven" (torn apart). 
  • Basically, he's imagining being dead and having his soul carried up to the heavens.
  • This isn't the most fun trip, though. He is carried ("borne") fearfully and darkly. But, he can see the soul of Adonais-Keats "burning" like a star through the "inmost veil of Heaven." It's shining like a beacon.
  • When he arrives, he'll be with Keats and the other "Eternal" souls. The poem ends with the imagery of the speaker being reunited with the one he mourns. Good times?

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