The poems written by John Keats are primarily concerned with the conflicted nature of the human existence as they look at the human state often with sadness, beauty and the imagination of one’s mind. The metaphysical world, beauty in nature and classical idealism are all pondered upon in Keats’ poems as these ideas are evidently indicated in the two poems “Ode on Melancholy” and “Ode To A Nightingale”. The metaphysical world relating to immortality and mortality constantly appears in Keats’ two poems “Ode on Melancholy” and “Ode to a Nightingale”. In the second line of the first stanza Keats’ talks about “Wolf’s bane” which is a poisonous plant often used to commit suicide. Keats’ advises us not to think about suicide and take poisons such as wolf’s bane when melancholy is around.
The first two lines of the third stanza in “Ode to a Nightingale”, “Fade far away, dissolve and quite forget what thou among the leaves hast never known” tells the readers that he wants to fade away and disappear with the birds which in this line, are expressed as “thou among the leaves”. The persona is trying to escape using alcohol to become transient.
In the last two lines of stanza one in ”Ode to Melancholy”, For shade to shade will come too drowsily, and drown the wakeful anguish of the soul”, Keats is trying to deliver the message that melancholy is undoubtedly part of the human condition. He is also aware of the lengthy process in having to endure suffering and pain sequentially to experience joy and content.
Keats’ view on the metaphysical world is also explored in the third stanza of “Ode to a Nightingale”. The third and fourth line “Here, where men sit and hear each other groan ; Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs” are all images of aging as “palsy” is a shaking movement of most elderly and “last grey hairs” is something an aged person would have. These images of aging leads to anguish which leads back to mortality because humans will all age as we are not immortal like the nightingale’s song.
The metaphysical world is also depicted in “Ode on Melancholy” in stanza two in the lines “And hides the green hill in an April shroud;” In this line, the rain that stops vision is symbolized as “shroud” , also a death reference as it was placed on someone’s head when they died. This rain hides the view of the green hill in an April shroud. “April” frequently signifies spring which also symbolizes rebirth. This idea is established in the first stanza as Proserpine is mentioned.
Keats’ use of his final metaphysical world ideas in “Ode to a Nightingale” are highlighted in the very last stanza. ”To toll me back from thee to my sole self”, the persona realises that he cannot escape the fact that he is a mortal being and he has to go back to reality. Keats’ refers “deceiving elf” to the bird who he finds misleading for the reason that it made him feel as if he was immortal.
When being contrasted, “Ode on Melancholy” and “Ode to a Nightingale” are similar in the way that they both present the theme of the metaphysical world. The two poems both have vivid images of death, suicide and lament as well as the views on mortality and immortality in each poem. They are also similar in the way immortality is juxtaposed to Keats’ mortal self.
Another key idea that is reflected in the two poems “Ode on Melancholy” and “Ode to a Nightingale” is the beauty in nature. This beauty in nature is shown in “Ode on Melancholy” in the second and third lines of stanza two from the simile and personification of “sudden from the heaven like a weeping cloud, That fosters the droop-headed flowers all”. The “weeping” cloud symbolizes melancholy. The “droop-headed flowers” can both have a metaphorical or a literal meaning as the metaphorical meaning of “droop-headed” could be sadness whereas the literal meaning of “droop-headed” could just be because of the heavy rain. In “Ode to a Nightingale”, Keats’ states “I cannot see...