Thursday, February 18, 2010

John Keats


  1. Melancholy is definitely a word that I would use to describe my mood at this moment. Because of this, I find Keats' poem very appropriate. He is able to describe the darker side of life by not only presenting the imagery of human sadness but through the creation of a darker natural world. Early on he talks about poisonous roots and a swamp like scenery. This environment very much so matches that of the depressed human mind and because of this I find Mr. Keats to be a genius.

  2. Marissa Wasmuth--
    Ode to a Nightingale centers around the Romanticism themes of imagination and nature. The majority of the poem details the speaker falling into a dream like voyage after hearing the song of the nightingale. This dream state is hailed as the epitome of life, and the speaker seeks death after it. Nature and a more primitive way of living are brought by the intense and indulgent description of nature. The association of the dream state with nature, shows the speaker's longing, or dream, to loose the urban and painful way of living and reverting back to a natural state. To further support this longing, conscious living is associated with age and death. The poem has a very dark shift from praising of nature and the nightingale, to the want of death and then the remorseful return to consciousness. The speaker realizes that experiencing dream-like connectivity to nature is so wonderful that he should die in peace, instead he lives on which is the worst possible torture. For me, even the description of nature, which is considered the greatest thing in life, is only seen through blinded eyes. This view of experiencing the dream state reverts to Jean-Jaques Rousseau's Romanticism ideas that once an individual is in society, they are corrupted from nature and imagination. The first time I read this poem I understood it as more a sweet praise of nature that was uplifting and carefree. But, when I read it again, a complete sorrow came over me. For me, this poem transcends Ode to Melancholy in sadnesses. The poem has false hope which acts as saving grace, but then is completely lost.

  3. The primary Romantic element of Ode To A Nightingale by John Keats is the cult of the Noble Savage and the interest of the uncivilized way of life. Keats describes his disdain for the current state of his life, and how he longs to belong to nature. The spontaneous and fleeting desire to leave the world behind is strong, “That I might drink, and leave the world unseen, /And with thee fade away into the forest dim:” (Keats). The description of the summer night places a great setting and gives connotation to a simple and balmy night.
    The poem speaks of the need to go back in time, to forget everything in the present because it is too much to handle. The entire piece is incredibly spontaneous, and that really appeals to me. The nightingales’ flight is a metaphor for leaving everything behind.

  4. Ode on a Grecian Urn:
    In this poem, Keats associates animate human emotions with the changes in Nature. In the third stanza, the boughs of Spring are "happy, happy" and some "melodist" is piping a song that makes the tree even happier: "More happy love! More happy, happy love!" This stanza evokes a feeling of warmth and happiness. The next stanza brings up an interest in the natural religion of the environment, "Who are these coming to the sacrifice?/ To what green altar, O mysterious priest,".

  5. Ode on Melancholy
    For Keats Melancholy is resigning oneself to the fact that the good things in life are impermanent and will soon be gone. In the poem melancholy "shall fall Sudden[ly]" in that moment when a person realizes that this feeling of wellbeing will soon pass. the feeling of melancholy is inextricably tied to feelings of beauty and joy, because only those who have experienced those emotions can truly feel remorse when they are gone. Keats says that we have to meet this feeling head on, not give up on our happy memories for fear that remembering them will bring about sadness for their absence. as Keats sees it the way to escape melancholy is to live as fully as possible in the happy moments of life.

  6. "Ode on Melancholy" - John Keats

    By using many of the concepts and ideas of romanticism, Keats accurately portrays the feelings of melancholy. He describes it with words such as "weeping", "droop-headed", "peerless", "cloudy" and "emprison". Keats paints melancholy as a picture that one cannot escape, like a haunting shadow that plagues everyone, hence the use of "poisonous wine" and "sorrow's mysteries".

  7. Ode to a Nightingale
    The narrator of this poem is suffering for taking too much pleasure in the nightingale's joy at simply singing, pleasure which he likens to drinking hemlock. He has, despite this joy, a preoccupation with death, as might be guessed from the hemlock comparison. From this melancholy existence, the nightingale's song lifts him. The nightingale does not represent the individual bird to which he listens, instead singing for each nightingale throughout history. The individual in Keat's poem is immortal, if not in body, then in spirit, preserved through natural beauty.

  8. Ode on Melancholy -
    The poem is divided into three stanzas, with the first describing what one should not do when melancholy, the second telling one what they should do when they are sad, and the last one describing how to find melancholy. This poem is romantic because it provides many allusions to natural beauty and nature, and how it relates to the feeling of melancholy. This is an association of humans moods with the moods of nature, which fits with the romantic poem theme. The author uses words that rhyme as well as words that have similar endings to provide a rhythm. This poem did not produce much of an emotional reaction in me, because I had to read it a few times before I understood it.

  9. Ode on Melancholy-
    Ode on Melancholy is centered around natural beauty. He informs the reader how to achieve melancholy, and that melancholy is not an emotion to ameliorate. John Keats says to "glut thy sorrow" on a rainbow of salt and sea or a rose. It is ironic that he uses this type of imagery because these objects are short lived. The rainbow, like the rose, holds only temporary beauty. Maybe by stating this, Keats is explaining to the reader that these things are all the more beautiful because their beauty has an expiration date. Keats uses objective correlation to make the reader feel the emotion instead of having to expain what the feeling is supposed to feel like. Because this poem is an ode, Keats is praising melancholy even though by this time he is dying. This peom evoked the emotion of love and appreciation in myself.

  10. Ode on a Grecian Urn is Keats' attempt to console himself whilst on the brink of death. Keats wrote this particular ode while suffering from tuberculosis, which is hauntingly evident in this piece which seeks to provide a contrast between the passionate but finite beauty of human life, and the cold but immortal nature of art. The Grecian Urn itself is representative of art in general, and more personally to Keats, his poetry. Keats uses personification to illustrate the way in which the Urn, and those depicted upon it are immortal like gods but ultimately devoid of any feeling or potential. This bittersweet poem demonstrates the Romantic movement's emphasis on the wonder of life, and the value of human creation, although Keats' interpretation of these themes are much more melancholy than one might expect, given the fantastic and inspiring first stanza. As Keats' poem progresses, it becomes clear that Keats believes that while life in all its wonders is superior to art, he will to a certain degree live on forever through his works. This is but a small conciliation in the face of death, but hope is one of the key elements in Romanticism.

  11. Ode to a Nightingale
    Bradley Zeis

    This poem exemplifies many of the characteristics of the Romantic period. It starts off with the sweet song of nightingale lulling the speaker into a dreamlike state. In this state he longs to "fade into the forest" and embrace nature, forgetting about the "weariness", "fever", and "fret" of the modern world. The thoughts of the speaker in this poem seem spontaneous and fresh, as though they are thought by him for the first time. Also startling is the abrupt shift in the sixth stanza. All of a sudden the speaker has forgotten about simply leaving the modern world for the world of old and instead wants to "cease upon the midnight with no pain".

  12. It would seem that the dominant themes in Keats' poems are death, and his personal struggle with his own mortality. Ode to a Nightingale is a troubling beautiful work that pits Keats' fast approaching demise with the beauty and wonder of the summer. The brilliance in this ode is the environment upon which it elaborates. The Romantic Movement valued nature as something that was pure and representative of the human condition, and Keats' takes this to heart during this morose ode. Keats is in both the literal season of Summer, and the summer of his life, meaning that he is a young adult. Summer is not traditionally representative of dying in the way that Winter might be, which Keats' plays on, emphasizing the beauty of Summer in an attempt to further the melancholic reality of death. To balance out the stark contrast between lively, beautiful Summer, and Keats' own death, he describes the poem as taking place during the night. Once again, Keats is using his environment as an extension of his own condition. The ultimately message of the poem is Keats' acceptance and hauntingly enthusiastic embrace of death. He makes abstract requests for some form of euthanasia, and even claims he is in love with death. This poem leaves me with a troubling sense of pity and wonder at Keats who is able to reflect passionately on the splendor of nature, whilst simultaneously accepting death.

  13. Ode to a Nightingale

    This poem is about someone wanting to escape the pressures of everyday life by fleeing into nature. Keats uses the imagery of nature as something to drink, calling it a "draught of vintage" and "a beaker full of the warm South." This makes nature into a sort of medicine, something to sooth the soul. Different parts of nature are treated as people, with the moon as a regal woman, watching over the peaceful night sky. Death is a man not to be feared, and possibly even loved. He is treated as an extension of the calm of nature, the ultimate escape. Though the poem deals with some dark imagery, the overall mood is a positive one. It has an air of spontaneous escape to a better, more natural place. The poem concludes by wondering what the difference is between waking or dreaming, or in other words, reality or imagination. It implies that it is hard to tell ehich one is more important, but it is most likely imagination and poetic vision that Keates prefers, because these are other forms of escape.

  14. Ode on a Grecian Urn

    This poem by John Keats has somewhat of a nostalgic tone. It speaks of a person, presumably a man for he talks about an "unravish'd bride of quietness", who is observing this urn. The poem discusses the pictures on the urn and how they will forever stay the same. The trees will never shed their leaves, so it will always be springtime, and the woman will never grow old. In the final stanza of the poem, Keats writes, "Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought as doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!" By saying this, he means that even though it is a beautiful picture, it is frozen in time and is not real. This poem discusses the briefness of life. Life may be beautiful at one moment, but it will always pass on.

  15. The lengthy discussion of a nightingale and its emotional effects on the speaker, along with descriptions of untamed, natural scenery mark John Keats' “Ode to a Nightingale” as Romantic. Rich diction gives the poem a descriptive, lyrical feel, such as “verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.” Complicated syntax contributes to a wild character instead of the simpler tone of some Romantic poems. These devices serve to connect the bird's song to a symphonic masterpiece, glorying in the power and complexity of nature. The poem produced a melancholic effect on me, contrasting a world filled with weariness and sadness with the joy of the nightingale's song, ending with the speaker asking “do I wake or sleep?”

    Brad Girardeau, 3rd Period

  16. William Faulkner wrote: "... If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the “Ode on a Grecian Urn” is worth any number of old ladies." Faulkner could not have picked a better example to illustrate his harsh, cold-blooded sentiment.

    To the modern reader, the poem is shamelessly formal in its diction, meter, and rhyme scheme, but these are used to good effect. Lofty language suits a lofty theme: the exaltation of beauty above other values. This is expressed through the typical Romantic praise for a natural scene, descibed as "leafy legend haunted" and "silken flanks garland drest". The poem evokes even the sound of the rustic pan-pipe over more sophisticated instruments. The visual and sonic setting is supremely pastoral, both in physical setting and by being removed from modern time. We travel not only to Arcadia but back in time, or across reality, to a place where gods looked and acted like men an a nymph or satyr or hero might be found behind the next bend. By removing us from the modern world, it celebrates a timeless beauty, and argues that such moments of timeless beauty, though mortal and ephemeral for real humans, nevertheless are in a way undying and endure apart from time, even if their participants age and die.

    The crowning acheivement of the poem is an echo: it purports that the image on the urn inspires a sweeter sound than the poem itself ought to be able to evoke, yet the meaning of the poem manages to exceed its own beauty. It is a cogent and convincing argument that beauty matters, and this point is more memorable even than the imagery and sound of the poem itself.

    Robert L. Read

  17. For John Keats, he expresses the feeling of melancholy through the moods of nature and by comparing the feeling to very dark natural objects such as a "ruby grape of Proserpine". Keats setting is much like the one of Dante's setting in the first canto, that of an unforgiving, dark, and highly vegetative place. But Unlike Dante, who uses this sort of natural imagery to express how depressed he was, Keats uses the same imagery to warn the reader of such a place and even gives advice on how to escape it. "go not to Lethe, neither twist/ Wolf's-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine" is Keith's first announcement of avoiding the feeling of sadness to the reader. In the Second Stanza, Keith explains how if "the melancholy fit shall fall" then they should "glut thy sorrow on a morning rose" and fill their mind with something as happy and exciting.

    eStepheno Pinon, 5th

  18. Ode to a Nightingale:

    It is not clear to me why Keats chose a nightingale to represent the nature of this ode. Perhaps it was merely a clever way to speak of a gale that comes in the night, as Keats pines for and laments the lack of release. Keats begs for a flight from the world, a chance to find bliss where men do not "sit and hear each other groan;
    Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,/ Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;/Where but to think is to be full of sorrow." As it stands, Poe's raven appears to be better than a nightingale, except for the association of ravens with death. Then a nightingale as another dark bird that comes in the night may become an ideal choice.

    Keats choice of titles notwithstanding, the romantic aspect of the poem stems from the descriptions of Keats refuge, where nature is given an unearthly sort of life, and old gods and creatures frolic in the light of the Moon-Queen.

  19. "Ode to a Nightingale"

    The narrator views the nightingale as being immortal while he, a mere human, is destined to grow old, suffer afflictions and eventually die. He cites the nightingale as having sung through eternity. He envies the bird’s immunity from human frailty and even death. The implication is that he would like to be as free as the bird ---- to sing through eternity rather than face death.

    Written by Diana McDaniel (Casey Chorens's grandmother)

  20. Ode On a Grecian Urn:
    Ode On a Grecian Urn questions " what leaf fringed legend haunts about thy shape?" By asking this, the author provides evidence that the poem is romantic because it is talking about nature, and shows a concern for it. Also, there is a quote in the poem stating " heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter." This quote clearly creates a mood for nature, which is another characteristic that poems have while being romantic. The author uses the same quote to create meaning because he is essentially pointing out that some of the things we leave unsaid in life are what we feel to be the sweetest. The author caused me to have a content reaction to this poem as well because although the message was sad, it seemed as though the author was attempting to make the best of the situation at hand.

  21. Ode on Melancholy

    "But when the melancholy fit shall fall
    Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
    That fosters the droop-headed flowers all"

    The primary conveyor of emotion in this poem is the diction. I feel as if the tone of the poem is summed up in the above excerpt, which demonstrates exceptional word-choice to express a "melancholy" mood. Descriptors like "weeping" and "droop-headed" make the reader feel the moisture of a cloud well up, even if it's unconscious. The above passage also represents the key theme of natural emotions in Romanticism. The drooping flowers and weepy clouds convey human emotions and feelings even though they are not human. Keats employs these messengers to convey a human meaning.

  22. Ode to a Nightengale:

    In this poem Keats creates a dream-like state similar to the one he describes. It is like a "waking dream", do we "wake or sleep"? While reading we "fade far away, dissolve" and flow over his descriptions of wine and trees and fruit. His main focus begins and ends the poem--the bird representing innocence and joy. Here Keats personifies the nightingale, and seems to slightly resent it due to its happy nature, seeing as it represents what he is not.

  23. Ode on Melancholy:

    "No, no! go not to Lethe, neither twist
    Wolf's-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
    Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kist
    By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine"

    In "Ode on Melancholy" Keats shows the dangers of melancholy if one lets it go unchecked they may at one point turn to death to release them from the terrible feeling he describes. However, Keats doesn't believe that that is the answer to the problem. Keats admits that there are problems in the world, even says that "Ay, in the very temple of Delight / Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine,". He advises people to deal with the problems--to let their problems "rave" and wait patiently and see the good in life.

    By using figures from older times--Lethe, Proserpine, Psyche--Keats is saved having to explain all of his poem, for many people know of these people, and understand their place in his poem. He also uses natural images that help show the things that are near impossible to put into words.

  24. Ode on a Grecian Urn

    The rhyming scheme is repeated twice in a line sometimes to increase the rhyming beat. Keats references death as "desolate" and "silent". He creates imagery with historical references to emphasize art as something that "cannot fade". He also includes scenery and nature as part of the Romantic theme. He also references religion and religious figures to employ the spiritual aspect of his theme.

  25. Ode on a Grecian Urn

    In this poem, Keets is obviously angry at society. He clearly shows in saying that somethings unheard are sweeter, that basically in life, observation are key. And maybe sometimes one may think that they long for something, however in actuality it will be bad for them. Rushing into things can be very detrimental. So one should take their time in all things. Human nature adapts to change, and thus humans change with their changing nature.

    Kevin's Mom
    A Pine is Standing Lonely
    People always want what they don't posess. One will never be satisfied with what they have, yet they long for what others have. Being satisfied is almsot impossible. People will always want something different, and not what they have.

  26. "Ode to a Nightingale"
    In “Ode to a Nightingale”, by John Keats, the idea of Romanticism is represented by the emphasis on nature, and the cult of the Noble Savage. The speaker seems to be quite memorized by the beauty of the nightingale, and the primitive way of living it represents. However, at the same time, he hints at darker undertones by the use of diction such as “death”, “drowsy numbness pain” (Keats). To me, it seems as if the speaker wants to be part of the natural world, so much that he wouldn’t mind dying, that is as long as he escapes the harsh reality of his current world. This poem seemed to have almost bittersweet tone to me, as the darker meaning of the speaker’s words surfaces across the praise for nature.

  27. Ode on a Grecian Urn:
    In the first stanza, Keats repeatedly uses words like "quietness" and "silence". This diction builds a slow, reflective tone that is continued throughout the poem, both with the use of rhetorical questions and of more wearied imagery. Using vivid sensory like "[a] burning forehead, and a parching tongue", Keats keeps the ode from becoming lazy or boring. Keats keeps each stanza vague in meaning, creating an overall tone that can be taken in many ways. By veiling the poem's meaning behind several layers of imagery, Keats lets the reader find their own message in his lines.

  28. “Ode to a Nightingale” is exactly what the title suggests. It praises the beautiful bird for its lovely voice and immortality. The bird’s song is so wonderful that it causes the author to wish he could loose himself glass of wine, which would revert the author to act in a free and uncivilized manner. However, Keats never explicitly says he wants to drink, but alludes to it through metaphors and a reference to the Greek god of wine, ecstasy, and madness. This poem gave me a deep sense of longing, but not for the call nightingale. It actually made me realize how much I missed nature in general and how, especially this past week, I didn’t have the time to enjoy it.


    John Keats takes a lot from Mythology here, using famous mythological people like Persephone and Psyche, whom tragedies happened to.
    While he says things that could be trying to encourage or cheer up, at the same time, he states that even then, many earthly things, such as beauty, will one day end. He quietly weaves the comparison of the existence of happiness and sadness in the same world and their interactions. At the same time, it's like a piece of advice. Something telling you to appreciate the good even when the bad exists all the time.
    I liked this poem much more than his other ones, not because it was shorter, but because it was more expressive, and to me had clearer imagery.