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Ode On A Grecian Urn

John Keats

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Added by: Reshma
I'm surprised whythere aren't any comments on this wonderful poem....."Ah ,happy happy boughs!that cannot shed /Your leaves ,nor ever bid Spring adieu ", they do proclaim to us the superiority of life over art; and certainly deserve more comments!
have a good day!
beauty is truth!!!!!
Added by: Cristobal (that\'s spanish, hehe
What an outrageous poem! How the words do come out of the paper into images of beauty in my eyes! I cannot help but love this even though I am not a critic of fine artwork such as this wonderful masterpiece. I can go on for hours about this poem. . .but I won't, so this the end. Goodbye!!
Added by: wendy
Gods chase
'round vase.
What say?
What play?
Don't know.
Nice, though.
Interesting Information
Added by: D.Mayer
There have been many disputes throughout history as to the meaning of those two lines, and it seems that only the poet himself was able to fully comprehend their meaning. This is obviously a way in which Keats was able to leave a sense of hope for the reader, however this hope must be acted upon by the reader. The solution is neither easily accessible or completely able to be put into practise.

Everything about the urn is immortal, but everything within the persona’s life is not.

Summary: Keats describes his reaction to a Grecian urn painted with images of maidens, pipers and other Greeks. While the melody of modern day pipes may be sweet, Keats finds the painted pipes sweeter. They are not mere sensual pleasure, but guide one to a higher sense of ideal beauty. The other images have a similar effect, as they are frozen forever at the moment of highest perfection.
One part of the urn shows a youth about to kiss a maid. Keats envies the lover, for though he will never actually kiss his love, she will ever remain fair and they will forever be in love. The painted trees will also forever be perfect, never losing their leaves. When Keats' world passes away, this beautiful object will still remain and tell man that "Beauty is truth, truth beauty."
Commentary: Keats articulates a common Romantic belief that beauty is the path to truth--to higher knowledge and the proper basis of democratic society. The urn, like other art (including the poet's), functions to remind man of this basic truth, urging him to establish the most just of social realities.
The poem also captures a delicate sense of balance between pleasure and pain. The youth is caught, for instance, between the painful anxiety preceding his kiss and the pleasure of the kiss itself. The trees are at their peak, on the border of Fall and their death. It is this moment, between pleasure and pain, death and life, that was most treasured by the Romantic poets.
The cost of living and the price of immortality
Added by: Andrew Mayers
Okay, there is no doubting the poem’s literary merit, but if the poor ‘Bold lover’ can never actually make contact with his beloved’s lips, then for me (and for the lover too, I suspect), this is immortality at too high a price. Some lines from ‘The Prelude’ may be worth considering:

“Not in Utopia, subterranean fields, --
Or some secreted island, Heaven knows where!
But in the very world, which is the world
Of all of us, -- the place where in the end
We find our happiness, or not at all!”

And let’s face it, even if we accept that beauty is truth and truth beauty, that isn’t all we know on earth, nor is it all we need to know. But then such a claim is made by the urn and not the poet. He calls it a “Cold Pastoral!”
I prefer the lines from ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ reminding us of “The weariness, the fever and the fret”. That’s the truth I recognise, even if it isn’t very beautiful.

Do you think there is anything in the rumour that Emily Brontë caught tuberculosis from Keats?

Tom, do your own homework, or at least use the forums to seek help. It's unlikely that you will be able to complete the assignment, since you obviously can't read simple instructions.
Added by: Charles Behlen
Keats' poem was inspired by a crude Roman copy of the Greek original. I think that Robert Penn Warren said it best: "The world exists by a trick of the eye, a trick of the heart."
Added by: Mira Raj
The poet here portrays in charming poetry the fact that we always relish what we donot posess by saying "Unheard melodies are sweeter"
Added by: Norbert Vas
John Keats’ romanticism

The English romanticism means almost the same as other nations’ romaticism: back to the national past, understanding nature, primacy of the emotions. It opened a door to the subconscious thinking, free associations, creative imagination which had awaken the legend, the superstition and the forever living myths. All of these features can be found in the German romanticism FROM which the English romanticism learnt so much.

In its historical position the romaticism of the English nation differs very much FROM the German or the French: the German and the French romantic poets rebelled against a huge classic tradition, nearly hopelessly; their pace was continously limited by the greatness of Goethe and the Grand Siécle. On the other hand the English romanticism rebels against a little bit undeveloped classicism which is not imbued by the spirit of the nation. While the Germans and the French had to start everything again, the English romanticism was supported by its own national literature. Actually in England, the romantic poets were the real traditionalists who continued the Elizabethean and Miltonian literature. The English literature is originally romantic. This circumstance gave birth to the fact that in the whole romantic movement the English created the most enduring values and to the other fact which claims that beside the age of Elizabeth, romanticism was the other golden era of the English literature.

That’s why the first romantic generation, Wordsworth and W. Scott could conquer new worlds for poetry, without moving too far FROM the people and FROM the audience.

Byron and Shelley were political poets; the second romantic generation inseparably involved the thought of a political reform. Only the third member of the great triad was a non-political poet: John Keats (1796-1821). He dedicated his short tormented life to poetry and love.

He was inspired by poetry, mostly Greek poetry not by nature. It’s so strange that a poet who hardly knew anything in Greek and got his knowledge about Greek art FROM an ancient Greek encyclopaedia found the most antique voices in the modern lyric poetry.

Added by: WOTAN

O my lovely Grecian urn --

thank you for that cd you burned.

Although you did it way last summer,

it was misplaced til now -- a bummer!

Mercury Rev -- 'The Dark Is Rising,'

sung with pure tones quite surprising,

reminded me of a young Neil Young

and 'Nite and Fog' of when we were young.

O Grecian Urn my faithful chum --

I love you way more than my drum.
forever wilt thou love
Added by: jeremy
the lines about the "bold lover" never being able to enjoy a kiss (and more) with his beloved, which the poet optimistically praises with, "For ever wilt thou love and she be fair!" can be understood in terms of erotic desire. for this topic, i would recommed reading Anne Carson's Eros, the Bittersweet. erotic desire is kept alive and burning only as long as the goal is not accomplished. according to Carson's writing, as soon as the kiss or carnal knowledge is obtained, desire wanes. the second kiss will not be as wanted as the first.

so what do others think? what would you choose, eternal feelings of fervent erotic desire or the momentary experience of one kiss?

(wallace stevens once wrote, "Only the moment is eternal.)

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