We are as clouds that
veil the midnight moon;
How restlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver,
Streaking the darkness radiantly!--yet soon
Night closes round, and they are lost forever:
Or like forgotten lyres, whose dissonant strings
Give various response to each varying blast,
To whose frail frame no second motion brings
One mood or modulation like the last.
We rest.--A dream has power to poison sleep;
We rise.--One wandering thought pollutes the day;
We feel, conceive or reason, laugh or weep;
Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away:
It is the same!--For, be it joy or sorrow,
The path of its departure still is free:
Man's yesterday may ne'er be like his morrow;
Nought may endure but Mutability.
Man’s life is innately unpredictable. Our behavior,
perspective, and emotions are molded by the random events surrounding us. We
possess a natural disposition to mutation. Often we have little control of
situations or the manner in which we react. Each day is unlike any other
day. Today will never be like tomorrow, with one exception.
"Mutability" will endure. Ironically, mutability will always endure
means that even this randomness can be mutated and may not be consistent.
Ultimately unpredictability is the only factor we can count on. In this poem, Shelley
describes man as clouds of nature, a musical instrument and explores the
plethora of reactions one can have to a given situation. The capitalization of
"Mutability" emphases that it is the defining quality that
makes us human.