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Wordsworth regarded him as the best artist among living poets. Adonais , written to honor the memory of John Keats, is one of the supreme elegies in English.

The Triumph of Life, which was left incomplete at his death, has been hailed by T. Eliot as the nearest approach in English to Dante see Vol. Shelley's early death by drowning ended his career just as it was coming into full flower. A revolutionary in his art and life, Shelley is considered by many to be an inspired polemicist and poetic genius. As one of his contemporaries wrote in Etonian , "He is one of the many whom we cannot read without wonder, or without pain.


Adonais - An Elegy on the Death of John Keats

Percy Bysshe Shelley. The title is followed by an epigram of Plato which Shelley elsewhere translates: Thou wert the morning star among the living, Ere thy fair light had fled; Now, having died, thou art as Hesperus, giving New splendour to the dead. Like Milton in Lycidas , Shelley follows the conventions of the pastoral elegy, of which the chief classical models are Bion's elegy on Adonis, the elegy on Bion attributed to Moschus , and Virgil's Eclogue X.

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Fragments of all three survive among Shelley's translations. The unusual form of Shelley's title may derive from a combination of the Greek forms Adonis and Adonai or from the formula of lament in Bion's elegy as in the line which Shelley translates: "The oaks and mountains cry, Ai! In the Greek myth, the beautiful youth Adonis is slain by a boar and mourned by his lover, Venus; from her tears over his bleeding corpse spring out of the ground red windflowers or anemones; he is thought to revive and die annually like a vegetation spirit.


Shelley's Adonais is killed by the vicious attack of the Quarterly and mourned by his Muse. Urania, the name here given to Venus, is that of Plato's higher Venus, of the classical Muse of astronomy, and of Milton's Heavenly Muse. In his first line Shelley follows closely the opening of Bion's Lament for Adonis.

For other places where Shelley uses his classical predecessors, see the Notes to W. Rossetti's edition of Adonais. Back to Line.

Compare Milton's Lycidas , 51, "where were ye, nymphs. In A Defence of Poetry also written in Shelley defines an epic poet and calls Homer the first, Dante the second, and Milton the third. The numbering seems to be merely chronological.

Catalog Record: Adonais : an elegy on the death of John Keats | HathiTrust Digital Library

And one upon his shafts, another on his bow is treading, and one hath loosed the sandal of Adonis, and another hath broken his own feathered quiver, and one in a golden vessel bears water, and another laves his wound, and another from behind with wings is fanning Adonis" Lament for Adonis , trans. Echo, in classical myth, was in love with Narcissus and wasted away to a mere voice when her love was unrequited.

Keats died on February 23 in Rome; the first shoots of spring are abortive, but spring nevertheless comes in stanza xviii. Hyacinth, beloved of Phoebus Apollo, was accidentally slain by him with a discus; Narcissus pined away with love of his own reflection in the water. Her mighty youth with morning. In legend the eagle was reputed to renew itself and purge its sight by flying into the sun. Maybe that's some consolation, eh? Why read a line poem about a guy that died almost years ago?

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We'll tell ya: because it's as lyrical as a rap song that glides off the tongue, and as vengeful as a country ballad about a cheating lover. It's an ode to friendship not unlike the notes you pass to your BFF during study hall.

In A Nutshell

And it's all about the effects of negative criticism, which everyone faces at one point or another. You can't log into social media without running into a wall of opinions. Everyone likes to chime in on the newest songs, political events, or celebrity hairstyles.

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And if you are lucky enough to make it big, you know that you'll be facing these opinions at every turn. To put in another way, "haters gonna hate. Even hundred years ago and long before internet comments , those who made it big had their fair share of haters. Keats was a young man on the cusp of fame, so naturally there were plenty of folks who wanted to knock him down a peg or two. So how did Keats deal with these harsh words?

Percy Bysshe Shelley believed that the young poet let all the criticism get him down, way down—so down, in fact, that it affected his health and ultimately killed him.