‘Music, when soft voices die’: A Short Analysis of Percy Shelley’s ‘To—’

Interesting Literature

A brief overview of Shelley’s famous lyric

‘Music, when soft voices die, / Vibrates in the memory’: of all the lines Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote, these are among the most famous, even though they don’t come from one of his universally admired ‘great’ poems, such as ‘Ozymandias’ or ‘To a Skylark’.

Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory—
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.

Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heaped for the belovèd’s bed;
And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.

In his 1920 essay on Algernon Charles Swinburne,

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