'To a Skylark'

The Romantics believed that the healing power of the imagination could enable people to transcend their everyday circumstances and anxieties. This conviction features prominently in Percy Bysshe Shelley’s (1792-1822) ode ‘To a Skylark’, written in 1820. At that time he was in Italy with his wife, and experiencing difficult personal circumstances: he was saddled with pressing debts; a publisher was needed for his work, and there were concerns about his daughter’s health. Mary later recalled that they were walking on a beautiful summer evening when they heard a skylark’s rapturous ‘carolling’. Shelley asks the bird to ‘teach’ him its ‘sweet thoughts’ and ‘gladness’.

Percy Bysshe Shelley
Romantic literature
Literary period:

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