The quotation referred to is the last line of shelley’s famous poem, “Ode to the West Wind”. In the poem, the poet identifies himself with West Wind, which, to him, is both the destroyer and the preserver. The poet has dead thoughts which he would like to be scattered by the West Wind like dead leaves. In place of these dead thoughts, he wants new and fresh thoughts to be born in him. As from an extinguished hearth, ashes and sparks are spread by the wind so the poet wants his message of hope to be delivered to the frustrated mankind. As winter is sure to be followed by spring, in the same way, dark and unhappy days of life are bound to be followed by a period of happiness and joy. Winter is the symbol of desolation and barrenness whereas spring stands for joyousness and fruitfulness.
The quotation assumes significant application to the present state of affairs. The man today is passing through a period of miserable existence. The days of darkness and frustration constitute the life of man. The world today is collapsing into a helpless state of boredom. The weariness, fret and fever of life have made man to deduce, “where but to think is to be full of sorrow”. We are crumbling under the mounting pressure of defeatism and self-frustration. Today various factors of life have made man morbidly tired of himself. In the midst of intellectual, moral and spiritual bankruptcy, the forces of optimism though bleak, appear to be the only sustaining force. We in our frustration are made to think that life is not entirely devoid of joy and happiness.
It is wrong on our part to lose faith in the ultimate goodness of things. We must realize that in the course of life good and evil days follow in succession. Each follows the other as night follows the day. Indeed, it is human nature to welcome joys and condemn sorrows. But we must bear sufferings with patience and fortitude in the hope that as spring follows winter, joy will follow sorrow.
To be able to be the streak of silver lining that edges the threatening clouds of despair is the prerogative of only a few. Most of us only concern ourselves with the present and blink at future. Our vision is circumscribed by the difficulties and problems which confront us. The limits of the immediate cripple us. We wish but dare not hope. We work but dare not expect. We are apologists in anticipation and defeatist in our performance. The buoyant spirit of hope and happiness is lacking in us. It is essential that we cultivate the spirit of hopefulness. Optimism is the attitude of life which must be formed.
An optimistic attitude is the healthy sign of life and struggle. It makes us self- reliant and grant fixity of purpose. It infuses a new spirit in our timid hearts and injects a vitalizing energy in our veins. Instead of being mere puppets in the hands of chance, faded notions and sordid illusions, it makes us persons of indomitable will and, lofty aspirations. It takes away passivity and grants pertinacity of efforts. It teaches fortitude, patience and perservance. It is rightly said, “Practice begets facility” therefore, it is better to wear out than to rust out in inactivity. Victor Hugo rightly said, “People do not lack strength, they lack will”.