Poem Analysis : ' Ode On A Grecian Urn '

1318 Words6 Pages
Jasmine Brown
Dr. Greene
14 Feb 2013
Brit Lit Poem Analysis An Urn
“Ode on a Grecian Urn” is a poem written in May 1819 by John Keats, an English Romantic era poet. The poem is one of the Great Odes written by Keats during a troublesome time in his life. These odes explore the poet’s ideas of art, nature, mortality, and the spiritual self. Keats never succeeded in becoming respected in his short life. His first pieces of work were ridiculed and ignored. Soon after his last book of poems was printed, which included the “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, Keats died of tuberculosis in his twenties.
Some of the characteristics found in “Ode on a Grecian Urn” shape it into a poem that could only come from the Romantic era. Traits, such as the
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The poem itself is divided up into five, ten- lined stanzas. The stanzas are organized by different rhyme schemes. In the beginning of the lines, all stanzas have abab as the first four lines. However, the first stanza follows a pattern of cdedce, which is revisited in stanza five. Following that, the second stanza last six lines are cdeced, and the third and fourth stanzas are cdecde.
In the first stanza, the persona uses an apostrophe to address the Urn directly as the “unravish’d bride of quietness” (1.1). He talks to the urn as if it is a beautiful woman and personifies it as not only being married, but unconsummated. When one imagines a man talking to an urn alone in a big, quiet museum, the imagery makes sense. The Urn has lived its life out in the museum full of other Greek ruins and treasures and still looks undamaged or new. Then, the persona calls the Urn a “foster-child of Silence and slow Time” (1.2). He is emphasizing the fact that the Urn has lived out its life in conditions not originally meant for it. Instead of being enjoyed by the real parents, possibly whoever made the Urn or its intend use, after thousands of years the Urn is just tucked away in the corner of a museum. The Urn is living on in silence as opposed to being left behind with its fallen civilization. As the narrator continues, he finally gives the Urn purpose. In lines three and four of the first stanza, he calls the Urn a “Sylvan historian” with a “flowery tale more
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