John Keats - WCJC

John Keats - WCJC

John Keats 1795-1821 Ode to a Grecian Urn (1819) LOGO John Keats 1795-1821 LOGO Life John Keats, one of the greatest English poets and a major figure in the Romantic movement, was born in 1795 in Moorefield, London. His

father died when he was eight and his mother when he was 14; these sad circumstances drew him particularly close to his two brothers, George and Tom, and his sister Fanny. LOGO Keats was well educated at a school in Enfield, where he began a Keats was well educated at a school in Enfield, where he began a translation

of Virgil's Aeneid. In 1810 he was apprenticed to an apothecarysurgeon. His first attempts at writing poetry date from about 1814, and include an `Imitation' of the Elizabethan poet Edmund Spenser. LOGO In 1815 he left his apprenticeship and became a student at Guy's Hospital, London; one year later, he abandoned the profession of medicine for poetry. LOGO Keats' first volume of poems was published in 1817. It attracted some good reviews, but these were followed by the first of several harsh attacks by the influential Blackwood's Magazine. Undeterred, he pressed on with his poem `Endymion', which was published in the spring of the following year.

LOGO Keats toured the north of England and Scotland in the summer of 1818, returning home to nurse his brother Tom, who was ill with tuberculosis. After Tom's death in December he moved into a friend's house in Hampstead, now known as Keats House. LOGO

There he met and fell deeply in love with a young neighbour, Fanny Brawne. During the following year, despite ill health and financial problems, he wrote an astonishing amount of poetry, including `The Eve of St Agnes', 'La Belle Dame sans Merci', `Ode to a Nightingale' and `To Autumn'. LOGO

His second volume of poems appeared in July 1820; soon afterwards, by now very ill with tuberculosis, he set off with a friend to Italy, where he died the following February. LOGO Keats and his friend Joseph Severn arrived in Rome, after an arduous journey, in November 1820. They found lodgings in a house near the

Spanish Steps. Keats rallied a little at first, and was able to take gentle walks and rides, but by early December he was confined to bed, extremely ill with a high fever. LOGO Severn nursed him devotedly throughout the next few distressing and painful weeks. Keats died peacefully, clasping his friend's hand, on 23 February 1821. LOGO Ode to a Nightingale LOGO Ode to a Nightingale - Background Ode to a Nightingale is a poem by John Keats. Written in May, 1819, it was first published in Annals of the Fine Arts in

July of the same year. Referred to by critics of the time as "the longest and most personal of the odes," the poem describes Keats journey into the state of Negative Capability. The poem explores the themes of nature, transience and mortality, the latter being the most personal to Keats, making as he does a direct reference to the death in 1818 of his brother, Tom. LOGO Ode to a Nightingale - Form

The ode consists of eight stanzas, each containing ten lines. The rhyme scheme (ababcdecde) has a link to the Sonnet form. The poet makes use of enjambment between stanzas two and three. LOGO Ode to a Nightingale - Imagery John Keats was one of the preeminent Romantic poets who was influenced by Greek Classical literature and mythology. In his

poem Ode to a Nightingale, which he writes after the death of his younger brother, he uses imagery to explicate his pain. LOGO Ode to a Nightingale - Imagery Keats is primarily using images to give expression to the pain and suffering. At the same time, he is using imagery to contrast the magical impact of melodious music

of a nightingale. Here, Keats takes poetic license. While he addresses the nightingale as an individual bird, the implication of thou immortal bird is that he is addressing the species. LOGO Ode to a Nightingale - Imagery There is a continuous image of jump from self to bird, and from bird to self. This is followed be an image wherein Keats joins the bird with the help of Bacchus. The

classical allusion to Bacchus creates an image of rollicking fun and gaiety.The fullthroated ease leads Keats to the dream of an extremely enjoyable summer of Dance and Provencal song, and sun burnt mirth. This image of dance, music, and rollicking fun is heightened by the contrasting reference to human misery, weariness, the fever and the fret. LOGO Ode to a Nightingale - Imagery In this world where men sit and hear each other groan is the exact

opposite of dance, song and happiness. The image of human misery is very profound when Keats alludes to his brothers death: "Where youth grows pale , and spectre-thin and dies; Where but to think is to be full of sorrow and leaden-eyed despairs". LOGO Ode to a Nightingale - Imagery This image, of the youth dying and

transient nature of love, is further heightened by the image of Keats predicting his own death. As the poem progresses, Keats associates his death with the song. The image used by Keats of a human body becoming a clod of earth, the human body becoming one with the earth creates a vision of coffin being lowered into grave and covered by shovels of earth, the human body becoming one with earth and all the time sweet music being produced by the nightingale. LOGO

Ode to a Nightingale - Imagery Hardly is this image digested by the reader that a new image is created and an extremely powerful at that! We see possibly a castle on the rocky shores with the sea waves rising up, and slapping the walls of the castle; and slowly, as if by magic, the windows open.The image of the windows opening on stormy sea is evocative of some fairy princess being imprisoned by some ogre. This image works like a bell and the poet is tossed back to the world of reality. Keats is left wondering at his state - wake or sleep. LOGO Ode to a Nightingale - Imagery The whole poem can be seen as a movement of images right from the beginning to the end. Each image heightens the feeling that changes from sheer pain and numbness to fairy lands and a bell tolling back to reality.

LOGO Ode to a Nightingale - Mortality Both the third and sixth stanzas contain references to mortality. The third stanza discusses the death of his brother, Tom, while the sixth expresses Keatss own fear of death. "Half in love with easeful death," found in the sixth stanza, shows his fear, not of death, but of a slow, painful one from Consumption

LOGO Ode on Grecian Urn LOGO Ode on Grecian Urn Introduction: 1.)Written in 1819, 'Ode on a Grecian Urn' was the third of the five 'great odes' of 1819, which are generally believed to have been written in the following order - Psyche, Nightingale, Grecian Urn, Melancholy, and

Autumn. Of the five, Grecian Urn and Melancholy are merely dated '1819'. 2.)This ode contains the most discussed two lines in all of Keats's poetry - '"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," - that is all/Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.' The exact meaning of those lines is disputed by everyone. LOGO Ode on Grecian Urn Content:

In the first stanza, the speaker stands before an ancient Grecian urn and addresses it. He is preoccupied with its depiction of pictures frozen in time. It is the "still unravish'd bride of quietness," the "foster-child of silence and slow time." He also describes the urn as a "historian" that can tell a story. He wonders about the figures on the side of the urn and asks what legend they depict and from where they come.

LOGO Ode on Grecian Urn Content: He looks at a picture that seems to depict a group of men pursuing a group of women and wonders what their story could be: "What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape? / What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?"

LOGO Ode on Grecian Urn In the second stanza, the speaker looks at another picture on the urn, this time of a young man playing a pipe, lying with his lover beneath a glade of trees. The speaker says that the piper's "unheard" melodies are sweeter than mortal melodies because they are unaffected by time. He tells the youth that, though he can never kiss his lover because he is frozen in time, he should not grieve, because her

beauty will never fade. LOGO Ode on Grecian Urn In the third stanza, he looks at the trees surrounding the lovers and feels happy that they will never shed their leaves. He is happy for the piper because his songs will be "for ever new," and happy that the love of the boy and the girl will last forever, unlike mortal love, which lapses into "breathing human passion" and

eventually vanishes, leaving behind only a "burning forehead, and a parching tongue." LOGO Ode on Grecian Urn In the fourth stanza, the speaker examines another picture on the urn, this one of a group of villagers leading a heifer to be sacrificed. He wonders where they are going ("To what green altar, O mysterious priest...") and from where they have come. He imagines their little town, empty of all

its citizens, and tells it that its streets will "for evermore" be silent, for those who have left it, frozen on the urn, will never return. LOGO Ode on Grecian Urn In the final stanza, the speaker again addresses the urn itself, saying that it, like Eternity, "doth tease us out of thought. " He thinks that when his generation

is long dead, the urn will remain, telling future generations its enigmatic lesson: "Beauty is truth, truth beauty." The speaker says that that is the only thing the urn knows and the only thing it needs to know. LOGO Ode on Grecian Urn It is true that the speaker shows a certain kind of progress in his successive attempts to engage with the urn. His idle curiosity in the first

attempt gives way to a more deeply felt identification in the second, and in the third, the speaker leaves his own concerns behind and thinks of the processional purely on its own terms, thinking of the "little town" with a real and generous feeling. LOGO Ode on Grecian Urn But each attempt ultimately

ends in failure. The third attempt fails simply because there is nothing more to say-once the speaker confronts the silence and eternal emptiness of the little town, he has reached the limit of static art; on this subject, at least, there is nothing more the urn can tell him. LOGO Ode on Grecian Urn

In the final stanza, the speaker presents the conclusions drawn from his three attempts to engage with the urn. He is overwhelmed by its existence outside of temporal change, with its ability to "tease" him "out of thought / As doth eternity. " If human life is a succession of "hungry generations," as the speaker suggests in "Nightingale," the urn is a separate and self-contained world. It can be a "friend to man," as the speaker says, but it cannot be mortal; the kind of aesthetic connection the speaker experiences with the urn is ultimately insufficient to human life. LOGO Ode on Grecian Urn The final two lines, in which the speaker imagines the urn speaking its message to mankind--"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," have proved among the most difficult to interpret in the Keats canon. After the urn utters the enigmatic phrase "Beauty is truth, truth beauty," no one can say for sure who "speaks" the conclusion, "that is all /

Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know." LOGO Ode on Grecian Urn It could be the speaker addressing the urn, and it could be the urn addressing mankind. If it is the speaker addressing the urn, then it would seem to indicate his awareness of its limitations: The urn may not need to know anything

beyond the equation of beauty and truth, but the complications of human life make it impossible for such a simple and self-contained phrase to express sufficiently anything about necessary human knowledge. LOGO Ode on Grecian Urn If it is the urn addressing mankind, then the phrase has rather the weight of an important lesson, as

though beyond all the complications of human life, all human beings need to know on earth is that beauty and truth are one and the same. It is largely a matter of personal interpretation which reading to accept. LOGO Ode on a Grecian Urn "Ode on a Grecian Urn" follows the same ode-stanza structure as the "Ode on

Melancholy," though it varies more the rhyme scheme of the last three lines of each stanza. Each of the five stanzas in "Grecian Urn" is ten lines long, metered in a relatively precise iambic pentameter, and divided into a two part rhyme scheme, the last three lines of which are variable. The first seven lines of each stanza follow an ABABCDE rhyme scheme, but the second occurrences of the CDE sounds do not follow the same order.

LOGO Ode on Grecian Urn In stanza one, lines seven through ten are rhymed DCE; in stanza two, CED; and in stanza five, DCE, just as in stanza one. As in other odes (especially "Autumn" and "Melancholy"), the two-part rhyme scheme (the first part made of AB rhymes, the second of CDE rhymes) creates the sense of a two-part thematic structure as well. LOGO Ode on Grecian Urn The first four lines of each stanza roughly define the subject of the stanza, and the last six roughly explicate or develop it. (As in other odes, this is only a general rule, true of some stanzas more than others; stanzas such as the fifth do not connect rhyme scheme

and thematic structure closely at all.) LOGO Ode on Melancholy LOGO Ode on Melancholy Summary The three stanzas of the "Ode on

Melancholy" address the subject of how to cope with sadness. LOGO Ode on Melancholy Summary The first stanza tells what not to do: The sufferer should not "go to Lethe," or forget their sadness. For shade to shade will come too drowsily, And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul. (Line9-10) LOGO Ode on Melancholy Summary In the second stanza, the speaker tells the sufferer what to do in place of the things he forbade in the first stanza. When afflicted with "the melancholy fit," the sufferer should instead overwhelm his sorrow with natural beauty, glutting it on the morning rose, "on the rainbow of the

salt sand-wave," or in the eyes of his beloved. LOGO Ode on Melancholy Summary In the third stanza, the speaker explains these injunctions, saying that pleasure and pain are inextricably linked: Beauty must die, joy is fleeting, and the flower of pleasure is forever. Turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips." The speaker says that the shrine of melancholy is inside the "temple of Delight," but that it is only visible if

one can overwhelm oneself with joy until it reveals its center of sadness, by "burst[ing] Joy's grape against his palate fine." The man who can do this shall "taste the sadness" of melancholy's might and "be among her cloudy trophies hung." LOGO Ode on Melancholy Vocabulary and Allusions Stanza I Line 1, Lethe: river in the underworld Hades in which

souls about to be reborn bathed to forget the past; hence, river of forgetfulness. Line 2, wolf's-bane: poison Line 4, nightshade: poison Proserpine: the queen of the underworld. Proserpine was kidnapped by Pluto and taken to Hades, his kingdom. Her mother Demeter, the goddess of fertility and grain, grieve for her loss and the earth became sterile. Line 5, yew-berries: symbol of mourning. The yew is traditionally associated with mourning. rosary: prayer beads.

LOGO Ode on Melancholy Vocabulary and Allusions Stanza I Line 6, beetle: The Egyptians regarded the beetle as sacred; as a symbol of resurrection, a jewel-beetle or scarab was placed in tombs. death-moth: the death's head moth, so called because its markings resemble a human skull. Line 7, Psyche: in Greek, the soul or mind as well as butterfly (used as its

emblem). Line 8, mysteries: secret rites. LOGO Ode on Melancholy Vocabulary and Allusions Stanza III Line 8, palate: the roof of the mouth, hence, the sense of taste; sometimes, intellectual or aesthetic taste. fine: refined, sensitive. LOGO Ode on Melancholy Form "Ode on Melancholy," the shortest of Keats's odes, is written in a very regular form that matches its logical, argumentative thematic structure. Each stanza is ten lines long and metered in a relatively precise iambic pentameter. The first two stanzas, offering advice to the sufferer, follow the same rhyme scheme,

ABABCDECDE; the third, which explains the advice, varies the ending slightly, following a scheme of ABABCDEDCE, so that the rhymes of the eighth and ninth lines are reversed in order from the previous two stanzas. LOGO LOGO

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