Dear list,
Priscilla Meyer and others (I think) have done some work on the relationship between John Shade and Percy Shelley, mostly based upon their both having authored a poem about Mont Blanc.  Shade also mentions Shelley in his "Nature of Electricity" poem. I don't believe, however, that anyone has yet pointed out that this reference is also an allusion, or that Shade alludes to another Shelley poem in two separate lines from "Pale Fire."  Follow:
1) In "The Nature of Electricity," Shade writes, "And Shelley's incandescent soul / Lures the pale moths of starless nights."  In Shelley's poem "One Word is Too Often Profaned," we find the following lines:
The desire of the moth for the star
Of the night for the morrow,
The devotion to something afar
From the sphere of our sorrow
In the context of these lines, Shade's clever poem takes on some poignancy, it seems to me.
2) In "Pale Fire," we find two allied images which may even be considered two re-visions of the same scene.
Line 286: "A jet's pink trail above the sunset fire."
Line 528-29: "The claret taillight of that dwindling plane / Off Hesperus..."
Now look at Shelley's poem "Songs from Hellas":
The young moon has fed
  Her exhausted horn,
     With the sunset's fire:
The weak day is dead,
  But the night is not born;
And, like loveliness panting with wild desire
While it trembles with fear and delight,
Hesperus flies from awakening night,
And pants in its beauty and speed with light
Fast flashing, soft, and bright,
Thou beacon of love!...
There are many correlations here.  We of course have the coincidence of "sunset['s] fire" and "Hesperus," but we also have an image of the moon reflecting the sun's light, a la "pale fire."  Moreover, Hesperus (the Evening Star) "flash[es]" like a "beacon," while in Shade's poem a plane's tail beacon shines next to Hesperus. 
It may be that VN encountered (or at least associated) these two Shelley poems as a result of their being quoted almost side by side in a famous essay on Shelley by W. B. Yeats. I'll paste the relevant passage below and leave it at that.
Matt Roth

The most important, the most precise of all Shelley's symbols, the one he uses with the fullest knowledge of its meaning, is the Morning and Evening Star. It rises and sets for ever over the towers and rivers, and is the throne of his genius. Personified as a woman it leads Rousseau, the typical poet of The Triumph of Life, under the power of the destroying hunger of life, under the power of the sun that we shall find presently as a symbol of life, and it is the Morning Star that wars against the principle of evil in Laon and Cythna, at first as a star with a red comet, here a symbol of all evil as it is of disorder in Epipsychidion, and then as a serpent with an eagle-symbols in Blake too and in the Alchemists; and it is the Morning Star that appears as a winged youth to a woman, who typifies humanity amid its sorrows, in the first canto of Laon and Cythna; and it is invoked by the wailing women of Hellas, who call it 'the lamp of the free' and 'beacon of love' and would go where it hides flying from the deepening night among those 'kingless continents sinless as Eden,' and 'mountains and islands' 'prankt on the sapphire sea' that are but the opposing hemispheres of the senses, but, as I think, the ideal world, the world of the dead, to the imagination; and in the Ode to Liberty, Liberty is bid lead wisdom out of the inmost cave of man's mind as the Morning Star leads the sun out of the waves. We know too that had Prince Athanase been finished it would have described the finding of Pandemos, the Star's lower genius, and the growing weary of her, and the coming of its true genius Urania at the coming of death, as the day finds the Star at evening. There is hardly a poem of any length in which one does not find it as a symbol of love, or liberty, or wisdom, or beauty, or of some other expression of that Intellectual Beauty which was to Shelley's mind the central power of the world; and to its faint and fleeting light he offers up all desires, that are as-

  The desire of the moth for the star,
    Of the night for the morrow,
The devotion of something afar
    From the sphere of our sorrow.

When its genius comes to Rousseau, shedding dew with one hand, and treading out the stars with her feet, for she is also the genius of the dawn, she brings him a cup full of oblivion and love. He drinks and his mind becomes like sand 'on desert Labrador' marked by the feet of a deer and a wolf. And then the new vision, life, the cold light of day moves before him, and the first vision becomes an invisible presence. The same image was in his mind too when he wrote:-

  Hesperus flies from awakening night
And pants in its beauty and speed with light,
Fast fleeting, soft and bright.

Though I do not think that Shelley needed to go to Porphyry's account of the cold intoxicating cup, given to the souls in the constellation of the Cup near the constellation of Cancer, for so obvious a symbol as the cup, or that he could not have found the wolf and the deer and the continual flight of his Star in his own mind, his poetry becomes the richer, the more emotional, and loses something of its appearance of idle fantasy when I remember that these are ancient symbols, and still come to visionaries in their dreams.


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