Summer and winter by Percy Shelley
Introduction: The “Summer and Winter” by Percy Shelley is a great piece of a poem that compares between summer and winter in the most romantic way: first, by focusing on nature, and then by writing their antagonism as life and death.It was published posthumously in 1829.
The poem “Summer and Winter” is replete with images. The poet in the poem makes a comparison between summer and winter. Summer represents hustle and bustle. While as winter symbolizes lifelessness. The poet says that in the month of June, the beautiful clouds and sky appear dazzling. The wind from the north soothes the aching nerves. It appears, as if, the sun and the clouds are full of joy. All the things on earth shine out. Greenery is seen everywhere. The river flows quietly at some places and noisily at others, but speaks only of the pleasure which it experiences every time in summer. The fields laden with corn keep smiling and refreshing the minds of bypassers. The reeds, the willow leaves and the foliage of the larger trees shine out in the months of summer and exemplify the naturalistic style of providing solace to the troubled minds.
Everything under the sun appears lively, joyous and thereby a symbol of internal beauty. Winter, on the other hand, reduces the horizon of living creatures.
Winter represents death – the death of many beautiful birds and migration of many others, who cannot resist the bitter chill in the deep forests. Aquatic life is also badly affected. Fishes freeze in waters because the water turns into ice as the temperature lowers in winter. Even the mud and slime of the warm lakes turn into a hard lump like that of a brick. Many living creatures find it difficult to survive in the bitter cold.
In the last three lines, the poet makes a marked contrast between the rich and the poor. However warm the rich and their children are, they would never give up complaining about the cold. But the poor can neither complain nor the find the comforting place to escape the freezing cold.
1. The opening lines of the poem describe the environment of liveliness and happiness.
2. The objects of nature dance and develop mesmerizing beauty.
3. Winter in the poem is described as ruthless because it takes life away from the objects of nature.
4. It means the reeds the willow leaves and the foliage of the larger trees appear beautiful and full of life in the sun. They also soothe the aching nerves.
5. The poem ends on a pessimistic note due to the plight of the homeless beggar, who cannot find any comforting place to escape the bitter cold.
Thinking about the poem
1) What do the opening lines of the poem describe?
Ans. The opening lines of the poem describe the environment of liveliness and happiness.
2) What is the effect of the shining sun on the objects of nature?
Ans. The objects of nature dance and develop mesmerizing beauty.
3) How is the winter described in the poem?
Ans. Winter in the poem is described as ruthless because it takes the life away from the objects of nature.
4) Explain the following lines:
All things rejoiced beneath the sun; the weeds, The river, the corn fields, and the reeds; The willow leaves that glanced in the light breeze,
Ans. It means the reeds the willow leaves and the foliage of the larger trees appear beautiful and full of life in the sun. They also soothe the aching nerves.
5) How does the poem end?
Ans. The poem ends on a pessimistic note due to the plight of the homeless beggar,who cannot find any comforting place to escape the bitter cold.
1. Write down some images from the poem.
Ans. Stainless sky; wrinkled clod.
2. Pick out the rhyming words from the poem.
Ans. Crowds, clouds; weeds, reeds; breeze, trees; die, lie; makes, lakes; when,men; cold, old;
3. Write down five adjectives from the poem.
Ans. Cheerful, Sunny, Warm, Comfortable, Old.
Cheerful: It was a bright and cheerful afternoon today.
Sunny: We went for a picnic on a sunny day.
Warm: She washed the child with warm water.
Larger: Salim has a larger house than mine.
Old: He gave the alms to an old beggar.
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