Like a high-born maidenIn a palace-tower,Soothing her love-ladenSoul in secret hourWith music sweet as love, which overflows her bower:
This stanza is an extract from P.B.Shelley’s celebrated lyric To a Skylark. This is a warm idealisation of the skylark, a common bird of nature. While idealising the bird, the poet tries to define and find out its nature by means of an analogy, romantically conceived by him.
The skylark is likened to a maiden of a high family, who is absorbed in her thought of love. She goes on singing her love songs spontaneously. When she is alone in her chamber, situated in a palace, that is fitted with towers, she sings in order to sooth her heart, full of the thought of love. Her enchanting notes fill her chamber and even escape outside. People, passing by the side of her palace, hear and admire her song, although the singer remains invisible to them. In the same way, the skylark, which flies very high in the sky, remains invisible to human eyes, but its penetrative song of love comes down below and deeply impresses and affects every heart.
The stanza bears out the wealth of Shelley’s imagination as also his romantic vision of love. The imagery of the high-born maiden is extremely precise and the analogy conceived is pointed, clear, and emphatic. The point of comparison between the skylark and the high-born maiden is quite clear. This emphasizes the beauty of the skylark, that is its song and the enchantment of the lady that is also her song.