Poetry Analysis: "Ode On A Grecian Urn"

1245 words - 5 pages

The twenty-four old romantic poet John Keats, “Ode on a Grecian Urn” written in the spring of 1819 was one of his last of six odes. That he ever wrote for he died of tuberculosis a year later. Although, his time as a poet was short he was an essential part of The Romantic period (1789-1832). His groundbreaking poetry created a paradigm shift in the way poetry was composed and comprehended. Indeed, the Romantic period provided a shift from reason to belief in the senses and intuition. “Keats’s poem is able to address some of the most common assumptions and valorizations in the study of Romantic poetry, such as the opposition between “organic culture” and the alienation of modernity”. (O’Rourke, 53) The irony of Keats’s Urn is he likens himself to the Greek God, Eros, which made him feel immortal when he gazed upon the Grecian Urn. However, he knew of pending death as he wrote his odes at such a young age is truly distressing. However, unlike Keats lifespan his literary work shall last an eternity. Indeed, his esoteric poetry in my opinion is unmatched even today; as is Keats’s love for the goddesses in mid-dance frozen in time on the Grecian Urn.

In the first stanza, the speaker stands before a paradoxical Grecian Urn and addressee it. In fact, I presume that he is fascinated with its historic depiction of goddess like pictures suspended in time. “Thou still unrevised bride of quietness”, thou “foster-child of silence and slow time”. (Lines1-2) The speaker is implying that the lasting beauty of lays truth. Indeed, art stands the test of time figures frozen in time never aging. Nevertheless, for us mortals love is indeed fleeting and aging inevitable. Next, the speaker gazes at the depiction of a group of lustful men in pursuit of women. "What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape? What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?" (Lines 9-10). For me, the ten lines of this stanza is a blissful remainder that love only comes like a thief in the night. Indeed, when one least expects it.

In the second stanza, the speaker beholds a piper joyfully playing under the tress for his lover to find him with song. “Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on; not to the sensual ear, but, more endeared. The use of imagery of the senses is effective here. For I consider poetry to be more musical in nature than literary text. The speaker claims to be hearing melodies emanating from the urn, which for me the sound transmission from the urn correlates to the finite aspects of fleeting love. While the nature of art of the urn seems to me to represent the exquisiteness and infinity of the universe. Indeed, the sounds of silence from art is akin to vastness of space and time. “She cannot fade, though, thou hast not thy bliss,” (line19). Keats is asking the readers to not grieve for him. Because, her beauty will not diminish over time it is everlasting.

In the third stanza, the speaker praises the urn for its eternal youth and zeal. "Ah, happy,...

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