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ROBERT STEPHEN PARRY
Historical Fiction
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Shelley's poem To the Moon. Classic, Romantic verse

19th-century poetry - briefly and at its best

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Art thou pale for weariness
Of climbing heaven and gazing on the earth,
Wandering companionless
Among the stars that have a different birth, -
And ever changing, like a joyless eye
That finds no object worth its constancy?

Transcript

Insights, themes and ideas for interpretation

●  These brief lines are classified as being a ‘fragment’ rather than a full poem, and are often linked with a few other lines to the Moon. The piece does have a coherent structure and meaning, however, without any need for additions.

●  At night, the poet gazes on the Moon and wonders at it’s origin

●  The poet personifies the Moon and associates his own loneliness or sense of isolation with its wanderings and restless demeanour (ever changing).

●  The solitary Moon is also compared to the multitudes of ordinary lights, the stars, that most likely have a different origin or birth to the special Moon.

●  Finally the poet reflects, rather bitterly perhaps, on the misfortune of the Moon, and himself, in being different (even unique) and unable to find any object worthy of its lasting attention.

●  A kind of solace for one who might feel a sense of alienation from humanity. Just a tiny bit self-indulgent; a little angry, yet very beautiful.

Technical info’

Type of Poem =

a short ‘meditative’ piece, really no more than a fragment, of six lines.

Rhyme Scheme =

ABAB CC.

Meter =

variable: elements of trochaic trimeter and iambic pentameter but with an occasional extra syllable.
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