In myth, after seeing Diana bathing in a river, Actaeon was turned into a stag and hunted and eaten by his own dogs.
Derivative of Adonis. In Greek mythology, the handsome youth was loved by Venus and slain by a boar. In Shelley’s poem, the “beast” responsible for slaying “Adonais” (Keats) is an anonymous author of a scathing review of Keats’ poem "Endymion." (The reviewer was later identified as John Wilson Croker.)
Of our belonging to the air (in this case, it suggests a "sky-like" color).
England (here, a reference to Blake's "Marriage Between Heaven and Hell").
A garland of flowers
Deserving of awe. In Shelley's time, this would have meant what today would be the adjective "awesome" instead of "terrible."
The blue color of a clear sky
Resin from a tree used as medicine
Band and Tower and Parliament
Three institutional locations in London referring to Business, Law, and Government
Cheerful (perhaps, cheerfully unaware of harsh reality)
Area enclosed by trees, shrubs, and branches
Brier (a patch of shrubs, usually fruit-bearing)
Large birds of prey, specifically hawks
British Foreign Secretary Viscount Castlereagh (aka Robert Stewart)
An Indian species of magnolia flower that smells like orange citrus
“Wedding-song,” but here, Shelley is being cheeky and perverse, drawing reference to the specific act of love-making or capturing the virginity of a new-found lover.
Trumpet, or the sharp sound of a bugle
To make holy or sacred
Composure; facial expression
A steep rock rising above or sticking out from a mountain
Intricately formed (derived from Daedalus, builder of the labyrinth in Crete)
A supernatural being, halfway between the mortals and the gods
A small wooded valley
A funeral hymn
Sediment at the bottom of liquid; worthless particles
A male honeybee that does no work
In Greek mythology, Echo was a nymph who faded into becoming a reverberated sound after Narcissus rejected her (due to falling in love with his own reflection instead)
Lord Chancellor Baron Eldon, aka John Scott. Baron Eldon was the court chancellor who denied Shelley access to his children by Harriet Westbrook after her death.
To enclose in wooden shrubbery or bower
Having something like a birthmark. God branded Cain with a “bloodmark” for killing his brother Abel.
An ermine is a weasel of northern climate that is unique because its fur turns from brown to white in the winter. Because of this distinction, its fur was used for state robes and royalty.
A Celtic people, the French before France was a country; here, Shelley is using the term in reference to Revolutionary France.
To encircle or enclose; to endow; to prepare oneself
A burning log
In myth, Hyacinth was loved by Apollo, but killed by Zephyrus out of jealousy. Apollo turned the departed into a flower.
Illuminate; shine a light on; figuratively, to make understood
Chant, often magical
solemn ringing of a bell, as an omen or a sign of death
One who destroys liberty
A small harp-like instrument
A priest or priestess (specifically, Bacchante, meaning a follower of Bacchus, aka Dionysus)
soggy ground, or to bog down
Ability to change or to be changed
A small bird known for its incredibly melodious singing; metaphorically, a poet, or the poetic muse
King Ramses II of Egypt, whose tomb was sculpted to resemble a male sphinx. According to Greek history, the statue of him was the largest statue in Egypt in its time.
Contagious disease; plague; something very dangerous to society
A group formed for a purpose, especially an ordered one like an army
Pilgrim of Eternity
Formative; shaping; malleable
A light rock used to smooth and polish objects
A very wise man
The color of blood
State of being sated or satiated, that is, being full or having more than enough
A ruler's symbolic staff
A short, Arabic sword
High and piercing
British Home Secretary Viscount Sidmouth, aka Henry Addington
The morning star
A small European bird. It sings only in flight, mostly when it is too high to be seen; it therefore is only heard. As a result, British mythology made the bird an emblem of spirit and joy.
Spirit; a spirit-like being
Sir Thomas More, an Irish poet who had written poetry on the oppression of Ireland by the British, including the renowned Utopia
Spontaneously; doing something unbidden is to do it without being told or encouraged to do so
Venus. In Greek Mythology, the muse of astronomy. Shelley makes the Greek goddess the “mighty mother” of Adonais instead of his lover, as in the original myth.
Old way of saying "were," as in "you were"
The part of the mind that creates poetry; mental experience in general
Percy Shelley: Poems Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Percy Shelley: Poems is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Shelley was a student of revolutionaries. He envisioned a "new society" that would be free of tyranny, chaos, and confusion, and his work reflected his own battle against the existing political, social and economic institutions. The Age of...
In the essay, "A Defence of Poetry," Shelley argues that poetry brings about moral good. Poetry, Shelley argues, exercises and expands the imagination, and the imagination is the source of sympathy, compassion, and love, which rest on...