I hope I'm posting in the right section!
For a class project we were each assigned to choose a poem written by a British author and memorize the poem as well as explain what the poem means.
I've chosen Percy Bysshe Shelley's When the Lamp is Shattered.
So far I THINK I've gotten the meaning of most of the poem
Here are my thoughts on it, let me know what you think:
When a lamp is broken it doesn’t produce lightWhen the lamp is shattered
The light in the dust lies dead -
When the cloud is scattered,
The rainbow's glory is shed.
When the lute is broken,
Sweet tones are remembered not;
When the lips have spoken,
Loved accents are soon forgot.
When it stops raining the rainbow goes away
When a lute is broken, the sound it makes isn’t remembered
After words are said, they aren’t remembered
Music and light don’t survive once the lamp and lute are goneAs music and splendour
Survive not the lamp and the lute,
The heart's echoes render
No song when the spirit is mute -
No song but sad dirges,
Like the wind through a ruined cell,
Or the mournful surges
That ring the dead seaman's knell.
The heart knows no joy when there is no spirit
Only a sad somber song, like that of wind through a cell (not sure whether it means a cellar or some kind of vent)
Or the large waves that signal a sailor’s death
When two hearts are attracted to each other, love will leaveWhen hearts have once mingled,
Love first leaves the well-built nest;
The weak one is singled
To endure what it once possessed.
O Love! who bewailest
The frailty of all things here,
Why choose you the frailest
For your cradle, your home, and your bier?
Love goes to a weak heart, to endure what it once possessed (not sure on the second half)
Oh love, who laments the most fragile of things here
Why do you choose the weakest to reside in?
Your (love’s) passion will be hard on the fragile heartIts passions will rock thee,
As the storms rock the ravens on high;
Bright reason will mock thee,
Like the sun from a wintry sky.
From thy nest every rafter
Will rot, and thine eagle home
Leave thee naked to laughter,
When leaves fall and cold winds come.
every support for the nest will rot, and thine eagle home (not sure about the second half)
once the nest has fallen you will be homeless, in the winter/fall
I'm not sure what he's saying hereBright reason will mock thee,
Like the sun from a wintry sky
Percy starts out by giving us examples of things that extinguish once their source is destroyed, then he relates those to the hearts music and the spirit of it's occupant. By saying that without spirit the heart only sings sad and somber songs.
The last two octaves I'm not too sure on, I think he's saying that love will help two hearts mingle then move on to another weak heart and love must again endure it's journey ("to endure what it once possessed"). Percy then questions why love, who expresses sorrow for the frail things, would choose the frailest heart to reside in, he then goes on to say that love will rock the heart, like a storm rocks a raven and that bright reasons (not sure what he means by this) will mock love, and will chase it away like a wintry sky chases away the sun, from every nest the support will fall out and love will be left naked and embarrassed at the worst of times.
Thank you for reading / helping. (;