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Ode on a Grecian Urn John Keats Lecture 14.

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1 Ode on a Grecian Urn John Keats Lecture 14

2 Analysis of Last Lines The poetic experience can be compared to the mystic experience of union with the ultimate truth, or the Lord & the maker of the universe. The mystic is so absorbed in the beauty of the beloved that nothing else exists for him; the only truth/reality is the beauty before him, all else is nothingness and unreal. Keats too is so absorbed in the beauty of the urn that every other reality fades from his mind; he rejoices in the beautiful world of the urn where there is lasting happiness and only that is real/ true for him and not the painful world of the mortals.

3 Analysis cont… Nicole Smith, 2001
finds aesthetic conflict in these lines: the art object doesn’t reflect reality as we experience it; it reflects the ideal, which is not achievable in real life. He suggests that the aesthetic life of the urn is insufficient for human experience; perfect beauty exists as on the urn: captured, frozen and artificial, and cannot be sought in the real world. Therefore, the message is not of hope for mankind.

4 Analysis of the Poem There is a comparison between a work of art that is frozen in time and our world that is mortal. The world of urn is described as unchanging, silent and has remained fresh and beautiful. Different approaches of the younger romantic poets: Shelley seeking change in present state of affairs and hopeful of a better future; Keats is meditative and brooding over past/present joys and afraid to look towards future. Keats definition of poetry: ‘If poetry come not as naturally as the leaves to a tree, it had better not come at all.’

5 Analysis… The conflicts in Keats’ poetry: transcience/enduring art
Dream/reality Joy/melancholy Ideal/real Mortal/immortal Life/death Passion/escape

6 Analysis… In the poem, he draws parallels between:
beauty , truth and love Silence and eternity Escape and pursuit Men and gods Cold pastoral and friend to man

7 Themes Some of the themes discussed in the poem are:
transitoriness of life: how beauty, youth and love fades away into nothingness. Permanence of art: everything preserved with truth, beauty, meaning and essence. Negative capability: the poet losing himself in contemplation of the beauty of the urn. Hellenism: love for Greek art.

8 Ode to a Nightingale John Keats Lecture 14

9 About the poem Nightingale is the symbol of immortality for the poet, of the timelessness, of eternity. Keats distinguishes between two kinds of worlds: the external material world and the creative imaginary world. The material world is finite and is a slave of time, while the imaginary world is not bounded by limits of time and space, it is eternal and limitless. Same themes of Truth and Beauty are explored here. Written in eight stanzas of ten lines each, every eighth line is a trimeter, others are pentameter.

10 Stanza 1 My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk: Hemlock: poison that was given to Socrates Lethe-wards: river of forgetfulness in Hades

11 'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot, But being too happy in thine happiness,— The poet is feeling too happy for the bird, that is singing in a continuous strain.

12 That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees In some melodious plot Of beechen green, and shadows numberless, Singest of summer in full-throated ease. Light-winged Dryad : Gk myth – a nymph/female spirit living in the trees Poet uses a metaphor for the bird. Full-throated ease: intensity of her song

13 Stanza 2 O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth, Tasting of Flora and the country green, Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth! Vintage: wine made from grapes Poet refers to wine that has been cooled for a long time in earth (which acts like a wine-cellar) Provencal: South of France, which is sunny and green

14 O for a beaker full of the warm South, Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene, With beaded bubbles winking at the brim, And purple-stained mouth; Hippocrene: fountain of Muses (group of eight women who inspire poets) erupted where Pegasus dug his hoofs Blushful: red in color, purple-stained: strong wine

15 That I might drink, and leave the world unseen, And with thee fade away into the forest dim: The poet wants to get drunk and leave this world. He suggests that nightingale is not part of this world, as he wants to disappear in the other world of nightingale.

16 Stanza 3 Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget What thou among the leaves hast never known, The weariness, the fever, and the fret Here, where men sit and hear each other groan; The external world is full of worries but this imaginary world of nightingale is free of tensions. The poet wants to cut off all thoughts of this world.

17 Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs, Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies; Palsy: disease causing involuntary movements Last grey hairs: baldness In the external world time is an enemy of man.

18 Where but to think is to be full of sorrow And leaden-eyed despairs, Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow. Leaden-eyed: heavy weight of the world Lustrous: bright Beauty & Love are short-lived; beauty ends and love is fickle

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