Shelley, four years younger than Byron and nearly four years older than Keats, seems somehow sandwiched between them. He does not command the admiration, indeed adulation, that either of them does, and indeed there was a time when his work was belittled in Sri Lanka, when the Leavis-Ludowyke determination to find moral relevance in all writing held sway.
The simplicity of his Odes seemed then to indicate a less substantial vision than that of Keats, whose six great Odes are charged with philosophical as well as emotional intensity. But if Shelley’s aspirations were more basic, they are conveyed with a inspirational power that only the most jaundiced can resist. And if the ideas are not subtle, they are no less thoughtful, as these two different stanzas from The Skylark indicate.