Ode On A Grecian Urn

Topics: Ode on a Grecian Urn, Immortality, Poetry Pages: 6 (3034 words) Published: July 19, 2015
Ode on a Grecian Urn

In Stanza one, he talks to Urn as if it were a beautiful woman, looking youthful and pure even though it is pretty old, addressing it as “ unravish’d bride of quietness” (1). The author is saying that the urn has lived it’s life in quietness, (maybe a museum or Greek ruins), but still looks good (no major damage). When the poet says “ foster-child with silence and slow time” (2), he means that the urn has been adopted by silence and slow time, furthermore, it is really old and has been hidden away in some museum or someone’s house, but that was not it’s original circumstances. By “ Sylvan historian” (Line 3) he says that the urn tells a really good story, and by “ a flowery tale” he says the illustrations on the urn that were often bordered with patterns of flowers and leaves. In the last couples of lines “ What men or god are these? What maidens loth?” (Line 8), the women are being chased by lustful men against their will to have sex. It is further understood in “ What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?” the women are struggling to escape, but the men are set on having sex with them. In the last line we realize that the “pursuit” might just be a game, as he says “ What pipes and timbrels?” a serious chase would not have people playing instruments like “pipes and timbrels”. On a whole, it seems like everyone is happy and in a good mood. In Stanza two, the poet has moved onto the other pictures in the urn. When he says “Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard” (11) “Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;” (12), the pipe-player is playing a song, but the song is not able to be heard, because the urn does not make sounds, so the poet is left to infer how the song sounds. This song that he is imagining in his head is far better than anything he has heard with his ears. He then goes onto tell the urn to not play to his “ sensual” ear but more to the metaphorical ear of his “spirit”. The spiritual ear is more “endear’d and cherished then his actual ears. He also tells the pipes to play “ditties of no tone:” (14), which is a song without notes and sounds, which are basically imaginary songs. He describes that the trees will always stay the same and can never lose their leaves, in “nor ever can those trees be bare” (16). In the urn it will always be eternal spring. He then brings it back to the man chasing the women. He calls them bold, but he says that they will “ never” be able to kiss her, because they are in a picture, but reassures the man not to be sad; because “ she be fair”(20) meaning her beauty will remain the same. In stanza three, he says “ your leaves, nor ever bid the spring adieu” (Line 21) meaning the trees will never lose their leaves because the world in the urn does not change. Referring to “ spring adieu” (21), the urn will always be in the spring season. He again refers back to the men lustfully chasing after the women; by saying “ forever panting and forever young” (27) he imagines that everyone is at their peak of their erotic excitement. Since the men are close to catching the women, there is anticipation and excitement. Once again her says that the people on the urn are frozen in time by mentioning “ for ever young” (27). In the fourth stanza, the speaker is talking about a picture, which depicts animal sacrifice, which is seen when he says, “ Who are these coming to the sacrifice?” (31). He then says, “ To what green alter” (32), “Lead’st thou that heifer lowing at the skies” (Line 33). The “heifer” which is a cow, is being ready to be slaughtered. He describes how the cow is made up by saying “ all her silken flanks and garlands drest?” the cow is dressed in a “ garland” of flowers, because people thought of it as a sacred animal of god. In the line “ is emptied of this folk, this pious mom?” (37), we gather that a crowd is formed to watch the cow be killed. The atmosphere is peaceful, this we gather from the line “ mountain built with peaceful citadel”...
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