Using the theoretical and biographical background established in Part 1, the two chapters of this section explore how Shelley utilized music as a tool to provide him with a model and vocabulary to envision and embody the activity of poetic creation and its humanistic purpose—its power to “quicken a new birth” within human beings, i.e., to make evident the potential within the actual world of humanity to attain its own perfection. As explored in Chapter 2, while Shelley remained skeptical throughout his life about poetry’s ultimate power, even when empowered by its alliance with or capacity as music, it is nevertheless through such visions that he identifies the pathway for any change to occur. As many critics have observed, Shelley is interested in the potential within the actual: since all visionary experience by its very nature is transitory, the ideal is never enough for Shelley—but envisioning the ideal can nevertheless point out the possibility for change within the world as it is. As music is not tied to a specifically referential source in the world of objects, it offers a spectrum of possibilities for a poet like Shelley to overcome the seemingly insurmountable limitations of language. As Erland Anderson observes, “(m)usic is profoundly involved in Shelley’s attempt to embody his rational ideas through the use of a more musical language in poetry … and as Shelley began to move toward personal experience in his poetry, he also began to show a greater interest in music.” 1 Thus, Shelley envisions a way in which music can empower poetry at the limits of language—for even pure sound can help the poet prolong the feelings of ecstasy, pain, or even despair associated with visionary experiences. More importantly, however, music is not merely an escape for Shelley, but offers a way for him to explore ideas of the mind in his poetry.