If winter comes, can spring be far behind? This is the last line of the famous poem “Ode to the West Wind” written by renowned romantic poet P.B. Shelley. Shelley was an optimist and despite his depiction of the prevailing gloom, he believed in the final triumph of a glorious future for mankind.
In his poem “Hellas”, he says, “The world’s great age begins anew”. Even Tennyson, the representative poet of the Victorian age, says : “Ring out the old, ring in the new”. The same poet says, “Old order changeth, yielding place to new”.
John Keats, another romantic poet and a contemporary of Shelley says, “There is a budding morrow in every midnight”.
Thus, most of the poets and thinkers agree that darkness and gloom cannot last forever. Even if one takes the meaning of Shelley’s line literally, we have to realise, in the context of climate, that even the cruelest winter has at last to yield to spring, just as even the darkest night has to accept defeat at the hands of the approaching light of the rising Sun as dawn shows its face in the East.
It is truly said that life is a mixture of joys and sorrows. Joys and sorrows are often compared to a pair of shoes. We do not wear only one shoe. We have to wear both the shoes. Only then the pair can be complete. Similarly if we accept joys, we have to accept sorrows also. There is no escape route for us from either of the two.
It is said that Gandhiji was not quite good at studies in school, but he had a very strong character. He was always truthful and honest. Once he refused to copy from the slate of another student the word ‘kettle’ even when his teacher encouraged him to do so and we all know to what unimaginable heights of greatness he reached later in his life.
Like Gandhiji, Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill were also said to be quite dull students at school. Now as we know, one became one of the greatest scientists of the world, the other became one of the greatest statesmen of the world and the most popular Englishman.
How did all this happen? It was because they had some qualities which were hidden or were not evolved in their childhood. As they grew up, their qualities developed and got revealed in the proper atmospherere. It all means that we should never give up hope. We should not entertain imaginary fears. We should stick to optimism in all circumstances. This is the clear and loud message that Shelley’s famous lines convey to us—“If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”