Study Guide

To a Skylark Awe and Amazement

By Percy Bysshe Shelley

Awe and Amazement

   From rainbow clouds there flow not
    Drops so bright to see
As from thy presence showers a rain of melody. (33-35)

We're crazy about the way everything mixes and flows together in this poem. Can't you just feel the way he's in love with the world, the way the music of the bird turns into rain? The speaker's excitement and amazement at what he's hearing just spills out of these lines.

    All that ever was
Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass. (59-60)

Our speaker is like one of those super-enthusiastic guys who's obsessed with whatever band he's listening to at the moment. Anything he loves right now is the best thing that's ever existed in the entire world. That's definitely what the speaker thinks about this song. "Best… song… ever." Actually: "Best… thing… ever."

   I have never heard
    Praise of love or wine
That panted forth a flood of rapture so divine. (63-65)

Everything about this song is awesome. He's so amazed by it that he can't even think of anything to compare it to. Every poem he's ever hear that talked about great stuff like wine or love is peanuts compared to this flood of divine rapture. Seriously, that's pretty high praise for a pretty bird song. That's what we mean about this guy being in awe.

   Better than all treasures
    That in books are found, (98-99)

Books are great, as far as our speaker is concerned, but (you guessed it) this bird song is even better. The knowledge you find when you read might be a treasure (Shmoop approves—that's our whole thing too!), but like all other kinds of human art, it's not nearly as awe-inspiring as the song of the skylark.

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