Percy B Shelley, Music when Soft Voices Dies

This short poem consists of only two four-line stanzas. It exhibits a curious approach of defining and expanding upon its primary images in order to tie them together. In particular, Shelley writes “Music, when soft voices die” in order to focus and define the time and place (a quiet and personal place) where this particular music exists. This then allows him to bring extra emphasis to the second line which explains the first and emphasizes why it is memoroable(“Vibrates in the memory”). “Odours, when the sweet violet sicken” is likewise a specific definition of the time and place which creates the smell. Thus “Live within the sense they quicken” serves as an explanation of the resultant feeling. Shelley uses this approach, the word “when” in alternating lines of the poem, in order to establish a simile or a comparison to the second to last line, “thoughts, when though art gone” and make it easier for the reader to understand.

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