Ode on a Grecian Urn

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Ode on a Grecian Urn
John Keats

John Keats was the youngest English romantic poet. It was his conviction that without the light of beauty no truth can be apprehended by the heart. In the poem, Ode on a Grecian Urn, Keats through the urn conveys a message of beauty and truth in art and through art. The poem explores the transience of the real world and the everlasting nature of the world of art. In the poem Keats describes an Urn he imagines it. He silences the Urn by calling it a “bride of quietness” as he wants to speak for it. The Urn, unravished by time has witnessed many eras (and is thus called the “sylvan historian “ ) and as a storehouse of the wisdom of the past can tell many stories. Keats goes on to describe the floral and leaf patterns on the urn, wondering all the while who the “deities or mortals” depicted on the Urn were. Perhaps they were in Tempe or the Dales of Arcady (both pastoral spots in Greece). He wonders who the men or Gods loathed by the maidens on the Urn were. He wonders at the men’s passionate pursuit, the women’s “struggle to escape”, the pipes and drums and “wild ecstasy” shown on the Urn. According to Keats, melodies which are unheard are sweeter than those which have been perceived. He believed that the melodies which had been imagined and appealed to the spirit never lost their freshness. Unlike melodies which had been heard, which often became wearisome. Describing the second picture Keats sees on the Urn, he talks about the permanence of art. He says that that youth sitting under the tree cannot leave nor can the tree ever shed its leaves. Keats goes on to say that on the downside the young lover depicted is unable to attain his desires but on the other hand his love and his lover’s beauty are eternal. Comparing the temporal world to the eternal world of art, Keats says unlike real trees those on the urn will never shed their leaves and “ bid the spring adieu” and melodists on the urn will never be exhausted of ideas...
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