Tuesday, February 3, 2009

John Keats (aside from "Grecian Urn")

Header=poem's title


  1. The poem seems to reflect on an ancient grecian urn. It transitions from a scene depicting a lover eternally puruing a beloved without fullfillment. Then it shifts to a scene that describes a village in which its people ventured off to perform a sacrifice. The poet emphasises the meaning of beauty in the lines, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty,--that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know." Inherently, Keats feels that as long as you apprehend beauty, you know truth.

  2. Ode on Melancholy

    This poem is what one could consider a how-to. Keats explains that people prone to sadness should “go not to Lethe”, should not kill themselves, or grow attached to anything that relates to death or despair. The reason given is “shade to shade will come too drowsily, and drown the wakeful anguish of the soul”. In the second stanza, the poet gives his readers choices of distractions from their miserable lives. He says that one must “glut thy sorrow” to make the hurting cease. Keats also enforces the idea that if the problem is your lover then you should put her in her place. The speaker makes beauty out to be man’s downfall, and he says that death is what beauty should come to.

    “Ode on Melancholy” is considered to be Romanticism, because it is about human based feelings. Keats brings out his own feelings by giving others advice, if you can call it that, for remedying sadness.

    This poem is a bit odd, but the emotions involved make the poem easier to relate with, if you can say relating is what it is.

  3. Ode to a Nightingale

    This poem is a romantic poem not only because it was written in this time period, but because of several aspects of the content. The Keats is writing an ode to a nightingale, obviously, nature is being glorified in this poem. He praises its sweet song, even going so far as to call it “immortal.” He describes briefly the scenery, a “forest dim” (20) under the “Queen-Moon” (36) on her throne, “cluster’d around by all her starry Fays” (37). Natural religion exists alongside Bible references, from worshiping the bird to the Ruth reference. This content makes this a clearly romantic poem.
    This poem is written in Iambic Pentameter, sort of. To be honest, the meter was a bit distracting the first time I read it. Since the poem contains lots of words that I don’t know, I had to guess at the pronunciations to fit with the meter. However, there were some lines that didn’t work out, such as “And with thee fade away into the forest dim” (20) and “Where but to think is to be full of sorrow” (27). I marked the long and short syllables on the second half of the poem the first time I read it to try to make it fit, distracting me from what it actually said. However, I admire Keats’ use of pentameter and rhymes so well, with each stanza in the same form, even if a few lines were not perfect.
    My emotional reaction to the poem is to relate to Keats’ subject. Once the bird flies off, Keats is confused about whether it was really real. I don’t often remember things very well after I have just woken up, and often confuse dreams with reality, so I definitely can imagine the feeling he is describing in the last stanza. I admire his respect for nature and understand the feeling he is getting at, even if I don’t comprehend the meaning of each sentence.

  4. Ode to a Nightingale

    Keats illustrates a heavy use of metaphor in this poem, as he explains things such as quitting drinking as "not charioted by Bacchus and his pards." He calls poetry his cure, or his "viewless wings" that will guide him behind the nightingale. Keats also addresses the idea of death as one of his half-loves.
    Keats surrounds the poem around a natural habitat: the forest in the night time. He describes the moonlight that only passes through the trees when the wind blows. All of this is directly connected to romantic writing styles. Keats' emphasis on death demonstrates a form of imaginative expression in his poetry by provoking the thought of dying and the comprehension of the deceased.
    I was very struck by Keats' last stanza, in which the speaker calls the nightingale immortal and explains that it was "not born for death." Like I explained, its imaginative ideas embedded into the stanzas proved to be very thought provoking to me. I enjoyed this poem through and through.


  5. Ode to a Nightingale

    John Keats clearly shows Romantic influences in his “Ode to a Nightingale” through his glorifying portrayals of nature and emotion driven speaker. The narrator in this poem suffers from a painful heartbreak and speaks to nightingale to ease his pain. He ponders about death, “where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes” and the impermanence of life. His sad outlook on how life will pass away casts a somber mood upon the poem and makes it Romantic. Besides the heavy emotion, Keats describes the scenery with vivid and delicate adjectives depicting the reality of nature like “beechen green” and the “deep-delved earth”. Keats also writes about actions that can only be imagined. The speaker sees the moon, but “here there is no light” and he knows there are flowers but “cannot see what flowers are at [his] feet”. Keats personifies death, having the speaker “call him soft names”, thus making it a tangible thing that anyone can reach. His love for Death adds a Romantic wistfulness to the poem, where death is not to be afraid of.
    I thought that Keats’ descriptions of nature were beautiful and his portrayal of mortality awesome. Keats says that time is where “youth grows pale, and spectre-thin” and “beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes”. His ode made me somber from thinking about life ending for humans amidst the immortal beauty of nature.

  6. “Ode to Melancholy”
    Megan Shen

    In the first stanza, Keats employs symbolism. Lethe is to forget, Wolf’s bane and nightshade are poisons, and Proserpine is virtually a slave. There is also symbolism within the act of forgetting, taking poison, and becoming a slave- it is the act of submitting. Keats pleads with the audience to not submit to human anguish. “For shade to shade will come to drowsily,/ And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.” In doing so, humans will die- they would hold death in the highest regard. This is seen in the sixth and seventh line when Keats uses symbols of death.

    In the second stanza, Keats attempts to resolve human anguish. Instead of submitting to human emotions, people should look upon the beauty of nature. This focus on nature is one of the most prominent Romantic ideas. The poem uses another romantic idea, as it states the needs of the individual- “Then thy glut thy sorrow on a morning rose/ or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave.” Human anguish is reduced by beauty. Individuals, then, needs this beauty in nature to feel joy and relief from sorrow.

    “Beauty that must die;/ And Joy…Bidding adieu.” Although nature is beautiful and provides happiness, these feelings are fleeting. The joy of the human heart is not strong enough to conquer human anguish- it is only strong enough to temporarily displace it. By personifying both Joy and Melancholy, Keats conveys this idea. “[Melancholy] can burst Joy’s grape against his palate fine;/ his soul shall taste the sadness of her might.” Happiness feels the pain of sorrow. I agree with the third stanza, nature can wilt and die. It will eventually disappear. Then, the joy of nature has disappeared as well. Even with nature, human emotions overpower individuals, and beauty in nature is not always enough.

    In the three stanzas, Keats almost creates an antithesis. The problem is sorrow and submission to this sorrow. He resolves this in the second stanza, by replacing sorrow with joy found in nature and natural elements. The third stanza introduces the coinciding problem of this solution- this happiness is fleeting. Yet, this is the problem found in the beginning, nothing was actually resolved.

  7. Ode to a Nightingale

    This poem has many of the characteristics of Romanticism, including a heavy emphasis on Nature, and scenery as a reflection of the mood. A mood of misery and forlornness permeates the work. When I said the poem out loud, the prose which seemed so formal and stiff on paper became far more spontaneous, in holding with the tenements of Romanticism. It is a cry of lament for the loss of love, and a plea to nature (through wine) to heal and take the pain away.

  8. Ode on Melancholy- John Keats

    Keats uses nature to represent human emotions. In the first stanza, he compares dark natural elements to sorrow. Keats writes, “Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kist/ By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine.” His association of moods with nature is typical of Romantic poetry.

    The organization of Keats’s poem shifts from a sorrowful mood to a joyful one and then back to a sorrowful one in the last stanza. While Keats uses negative aspects of nature to symbolize human anguish, he also uses nature to represent joy. Keats says, “glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,/ Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave.” The second stanza not only carries an optimistic message because of the positive images, but also because of the contrast with the previous stanza. Keats says, “But when the melancholy fit shall fall,/ Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,” to compare changing moods to changes in nature.

    The joyful mood, however, does not continue to the end of the poem. In the last stanza, Keats demonstrates how melancholy is hidden in “the temple of Delight.” He compares the ephemeral qualities of joy and beauty to lovers that must separate. He says, “She dwells with Beauty—Beauty that must die;/ And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips/ Bidding adieu.” Joy, who is portrayed as a male figure, falls victim to Melancholy. Melancholy is personified as a destructive woman, for Keats says, “His soul shall taste the sadness of her might,/ And be among her cloudy trophies hung.” This fascination with the detrimental forces of negative human emotions is reflected in the title.

  9. "Ode to a Nightingale" -John Keats

    Keats begins the poem by introducing his melancholy feeling emphasizing the "drowsy numbness" of his aching heart. The next few lines are devoted to explaining his mood, and making the important note of how his mood "Tis not through envy of thy happy lot, but being too happy in thine happiness". Nearly all the rest of the poem fulfills its Romantic nature, vividly describing all of the things before the speaker. The wildness of its nature is embraced along with every trivial detail. However this euphoric mood is short-lived as the writing begins to shift back to the melancholy device of telling how the things he has described will perish. This point is emphasized on the nightingale, telling how "Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!". In the last stanza of the poem, a bell rings, bringing the speaker back to reality. He cannot remember, "Was it a vision, or a waking dream?".

  10. Ode to a Nightingale - John Keats

    As with any poem of this time period, Keats puts a lot of emphasis on the background.
    "Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
    But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
    Wherewith the seasonable month endows
    The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
    White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
    Fast fading violets cover'd up in leaves;"
    This shows how much Keats cared about the background, when instead, he could've completely disregarded the scenery around it and just wrote about the bird. Keats also seems to personify Death, like it's a human being. He also seems to be saying that he's been considering death and even going as far as suicidal.
    "I have been half in love with easeful Death,
    Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme," He is also saying that he wishes for an easy death, most likely one without pain.
    Perhaps the most interesting part was at the very end when he couldn't differentiate between the dream world and the real world. He had imagined so much and considered so much only to end it on confusion. At the same time, it shows the power of imagination in the poem.
    I really liked how hard Keats worked at making sure it rhymed. There is a little rhythm when reading this poem, although I couldn't identify what it was. It just the poem flow more smoothly.
    I really enjoyed this poem. I was just so amused by the last stanza where he is crying out goodbye, "Adieu!" and then he's like. Whoa, was that dream? Overall, the poem was just very sweet.

  11. Ode on Melancholy

    The Romantic style is evident in “Ode on Melancholy” through Keat’s emphasis on human emotions and the beauty of nature. In the ode, the speaker advises the reader not to give in to his grief and how to replace these emotions with nature’s beauty. His strong belief of and reliance upon nature is similar to other Romantic poetry. The speaker says to “glut thy sorrow on a morning rose” or “on the wealth of globed peonies”. He also says that a lover can cure the ache of a heart, adding in the wistfulness of love. It is as if nature and love can cure the melancholy of anyone. However Keats then closes the ode with the explanation of how these substitutions for sadness are only temporary and will eventually fade away with time. This Romantic notion that “beauty must die” makes this ode melancholic and sums up the message of the poet.
    Keats uses symbolism heavily in the ode to represent death. “Lethe”, “wolf’s-bane”, and “nightshade” are all poisons to represent the death that the audience wants to resort to. The poet’s symbolizes nature as living life simply as the cure to sadness. His message is that we all should live life to the fullest because joy will fade and beauty dies. These things fading are what make it worthwhile to experience. In the closing of the ode, Keats says that by experiencing joy “his soul shall taste the sadness of her might”. By knowing what happiness is the only way we can know what sadness is.
    I thought that “Ode on Melancholy” was the best out of all the Keats odes I read. Only in here, he encourages the readers to act out instead of just contemplating action. Keats makes a logical argument through his structure. In the first stanza, he calls the audience to stop dwelling on his sadness, and in the next stanza to replace it with beauty. In its conclusion, he explains that happiness and sadness coexist. I think that the deepness of his ode is what achieves his purpose.

  12. Ode on Melancholy

    Through, Ode on Melancholy, Keats uses melancholy to survive what the harsh world of nature presents. Keats feels that one cannot separate joy and pain and that both must be experienced equally in order to experience what is the world of nature. Keats puts a picture in the mind of the reader when he uses description like, "glut thy sorrow on a morning rose, Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave." Through descriptive passages like this one, Keats is saying that you should overwhelm yourself with nature when afflicted by melancholy. After reading this I felt like the next time something tragic happened in my family, I would know what I should try, but that it probably would not work.

  13. Ode to a Nightingale

    This poem seems to be set in a dark place that almost forces one to consider death. In the first stanza Keats tells the reader of how numb and empty he is, the speaks of how his senses are numb to the point where he feels he had drunken Hemlock. From the very beginning the reader understands the darkness of the poem and the heartbreak of the speaker. It is striking to me how Keats is able to make the reader understand the complete darkness and hopelessness that the subject of the poem has. For example when Keats writes "Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies/ Where but to think is to be full of sorrow" I got this feeling of overwhelming sadness. This poem is descriptive and somewhat relateable, which seems to touch the reader.


  14. John Keats: Ode on Melancholy

    Keats’ Ode on Melancholy enumerates the desperate measures that people sometimes take in the grip of melancholy, which in the twentieth century would probably be called “depression.” He lists the various available poisons with their ominous names (wolfsbane, nightshade) and cautions against making use of them. He also warns against allowing one’s mood to be ruled by the insect-world symbols of death such as the beetle and moth, or the owl, guardian of the night. In these lines, Keats seems to be saying that melancholy should not be permitted to overwhelm one’s life; it is only a mood and it will pass. He suggests that instead of dwelling on these images, one should focus on the beauties equally available in nature, such as “a mourning rose, rainbow of the salt-sand wave, or globed peonies.” It is up to the person to decide whether or not nature is to be used for suffering or melancholy. Keats then suggests losing oneself in romantic love, but in an ironic twist, ends the poem by admitting that love itself, specifically sexual pleasure, is only momentary and inevitably ends, since “in the very temple of Delight/Veil’d melancholy has her sovran shrine.”
    This poem is Romantic because Keats evaluates nature as a source of great sorrow and great joy Ultimately, nature represents both life and death equally. The individual is subject to his moods and sees both reflected in the natural world, but must choose which he will embrace. Keats is therefore willing to allow man some choice or willpower in the matter, but he also believes that in the end, love and joy and pleasure are basically doomed because they are impermanent and cannot be held onto indefinitely. They are real and powerful for the moment, but the moment is grievously fleeting and that in itself is a source of regret and sorrow.