#2 “Ode on a Grecian Urn” (John Keats)

First of all, the urn in John Keats’s “Ode on a Grecian Urn” is not any particular urn. It’s something that looks like this: usually red on black or black on red, with various pictures of people or gods doing this and that. It’s not a real urn; it’s a composite urn that Keats produced out of his own imagination. And you don’t have to know much about Greek art in order to appreciate it. In fact, much of the poem consists of the speaker looking at the urn and not being able to understand what it means.

There are only a few unfamiliar place-names in the poem, including Tempe and Arcady. They are places in Greece. (OK, I suppose Tempe is also a place in Arizona, but I can’t imagine that’s what Keats had in mind.)

The rest of the poem contains some dictionary words, but it’s not particularly obscure in any respect. So my task here is less to explicate it than to argue for its placement at #2 of all time.

Very few critics would disagree, except perhaps to place the Ode at #1. Though not quite as perfect as “To Autumn,” the “Grecian Urn” ode has everything going for it: exquisite verbal music, profound ideas, great humanism, and inevitable phrasing.

We’ve remarked on Keats’s sheer lyricism before, and the “Urn” ode is where he shows it off to its fullest. Lyric beauty is a subjective thing, but I’d argue that Keats’s odes might fulfill the function that, at the start of this countdown, Rilke’s sonnets filled for us, if you didn’t know the English language: to serve as an example of pure linguistic music. And that’s in part Keats’s point, one of his profound ideas:

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone

This is part “Too Marvelous for Words,” part art appreciation, and part negative capability: sound, form, and yes, even silence, can express beauty better, and more directly to the soul, than pyrotechnics.

Some critics have pointed out that the biggest idea in the poem (“Beauty is truth, truth beauty, – that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know”) would be a pretty banal truism on its own. Yet here, as we’ve seen before, the poet “earns” the big ending by setting up a net of tensions first. The speaker’s love for art, for life, for love itself; his despair at mortality; his almost frantic belief that beauty can transcend suffering and make life worthwhile – all these things have to be set in place before the payoff.

When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain

We’ve heard this idea in other poems (“An Arundel Tomb,” “Sailing to Byzantium”): art will survive us all. But it has never been so resoundingly expressed. By reflecting on art itself, Keats made an even more imperishable work of art.

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32 responses to “#2 “Ode on a Grecian Urn” (John Keats)

  1. Yet another way to capture and preserve the image and or idea of someone or something. The taking of a picture of the ball players was a good example. Music is also and example of preserving. Writing and of course, art. Sometimes, when one admires someone or something yet is unable to attain that for themselves, the idea of capturing it and preserving it in art form is a great way to preserve the memory. It also, I think, keeps the lust alive. One can always look back and the feelings for the person can actually stir the memories of what could have been yet never was. “More happy love! More happy, happy love! For ever warm and still to be enjoy’d, For ever panting, and for ever young;” obviously this picture will always be one that will hold a very special place in the author’s heart. It would do that for anyone who has experienced the could have but didn’t. I know two people who are actually best friends and have been best friends for several years. They both enjoy their time together quite a bit. She is curious about what it would be like to be in a relationship with him and he, actually is curious about her. You can actually tell that there is some sort of chemistry between them yet they are both afraid to do anything because they do not want to ruin the relationship they have now, as friends. The have come close to a “real” kiss, but for now, it has been just hugs and kiss on the cheek. But I know there is more there. Anyway, for them, “All breathing human passion far above.” They will just keep their thoughts and their feelings to themselves for fer of losing each other as friends. Capturing them in pictures is what they will have forever.

  2. I remember studying this poem when I was in high school and I really felt something when we were studying it. Keats is one of my favorites and I am thrilled this one made the countdown. I, like Keats, can’t claim to know a great deal about Grecian art but I do know that I find it aesthetically pleasing. I also don’t claim to know much about poetry but I do know that I appreciate the efforts put forth by the poets we have studied. The one thing that really sticks out to me in this poem is how there are several events that are frozen in time. They all seem to be on the brink of some important event that is just about to take place but never will the sacrifice for example. It’s difficult to say whether I pity or envy what is depicted on the urn. Pity because the actions will never be completed but I envy them in that they will forever be persevered and unravished by time. I know I’m not the only one that is torn between the two emotions.

  3. I’m not really sure why this is number two on the countdown, though I can appreciate the points it is making. Like mramos9, I too have two separate feelings about the markings on the urn. In one sense, they are lucky because they will always be mid-event. The cow will never die, the leaves will never fall from the tree, and the little village will always be peaceful. These are all positive aspects of frozen time. Perfect moments cannot be harmed by future events. Like “An Arundel Tomb,” all that is seen to the naked eye is the good times in life, giving the illusion that the depicted world was always as nice. Yet, we also see beautiful events which will never live out in their entirety. The song will never hear its second half, the lovers will never kiss, and the tree will never see spring. I suppose this is what life is truly made of. Everyone has their ups and downs; moments they will always remember, moments they wish they could forget, and times when they wish the world would stop. It is amazing to think that one piece of history could so accurately portray the life of everyone, including both those in the past and those of the future. It is truly timeless and as long as it exists it will be the truth of the world. This is what I interpret from the memorable last line, “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all/Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.’

  4. What I got from this poem is basically the appreciation of art. Keats sounds like one who is drawn to art–paintings; sculptures; and so on. In this poem,the speaker talks about a painting on an urn; in this painting are two people who are possibly lovers. The artist painted them in a way where it seems like they’re about to kiss but don’t. The speaker wishes that the artist should’ve made them kiss. The part where the speaker says, “bold lover..canst thou kiss,” gves me the feeling that the speaker’s frustrated that the people can’t kiss and also make me think that the speaker is one who supports making relationships work. The descriptions of the paintings on the urn really shows how much the speaker loves art. I also think that the speaker’s trying to convey the message that art does communicate to us. The Shakespearian language used nade it slightly challenging to grasp the concept of the poem.

  5. The first time I ever heard “Ode to a Grecian Urn” was in high school, and then I did not nearly understand it as much as I do now. Then to me, it seemed like a poem about an urn, and why the need to write about it? However, I realize there is much more beauty in the poem than I previously realized. When I heard the poem, and the stanza about how the people are painted almost kissing, but not, I thought about “An Arundel Tomb,” and how the man and wife were painted holding hands forever. In the way that the urn never allows the couple to kiss, and for the woman not to fade, the tomb allowed for the illusion that this maybe not-so-happy couple lived together forever, happily.

    I also liked the idea mentioned in the posting and drawn from previous poems that art never dies, and it will survive us all. How amazing is it that we have paintings, poetry, sculptures, and various other art forms that have survived hundreds of years?

    As for the last two lines of the poem being something that is just known, I would argue that if it was never mentioned in this poem, things might be a little different. I like the idea that the poem makes ignorance into a type of knowledge, and I would say that in certain situations that is quite possible.

  6. John Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn” reminds me of a book I read in art appreciation class. The book was written by Leo Tolstoy, and it was titled “What is Art?” In the book, Tolstoy examines the connection between beauty and art. He says “Art must create a specific emotional link between artist and audience, one that ‘infects’ the viewer.” It should have the ability to unite people generation after generation. Through exquisite linguistic music, Keats gives tangible substance to the familiar saying “a picture can paint a thousand words.” He says, “Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness, Thou foster-child of silence and slow time, Sylvan historian, who canst thus express, A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:” Oftentimes, a work of art can capture the religious, political, historical, and cultural influences on a society during a specific period of time to create a more realistic verisimilitude than words. In the poem “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” I love Keats’ use of negative capability to heighten the arousal of anticipation requiring the use of the imagination rather than consummation which acknowledges the understanding. Throughout his poem, the concept “if” is constantly implied instead of stated. The tiny conjunction “if” is the most haunting word in the English language because it makes one wonder what could, should, or would have been, and it seems to refer to desire unfulfilled and hope deferred. I feel Keats’ is saying that we should savor the moments of our lives. We should enjoy life and not let it whisk by without appreciating its “beauty and truth” because time waits for no one.

  7. I can see the beauty in “Ode on a Grecian Urn” without the full interpretation. Starting with the first stanza I am at a lost for words with no understanding. As I read the second stanza I can hear the beauty of the poem saying “Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;” True beauty is not always expressed, exposed or heard but if you listen or look beyond it’s exposure you will reach the truth. Reading through the poem I felt love, life and happiness are to be expressed and enjoyed to the fullest throughout our youthful life. We all interpret truth and beauty different but Keats has placed them together or saying you can not have one without the other. When you “wear the mask” as Paul Dunbar puts it you can not see truth or true beauty. “Beauty is truth, truth beauty, – that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

  8. This poem reminds me of going to museums. And looking at paintings, sculptors, and other artifacts. I would always wonder why people would take so long looking at these items. I understood as I got older it was more than just a painting, and sculptor it was history. Each item told a story of a culture or person. It showed their personality. These images brought a story together for you and gave you better understanding. You can get your own personal interpretation from it.

    It’s the same for poetry, music , dance you create your own story and interpretation.

    Really enjoyed the poem. I loved how he tried to identify with characters. And imaging what was happening in that time that is frozen. Though he’s very happy and excited by what he sees it also seems he’s sadden that this isn’t real life. The images won’t be able to continue or go too the next step they are forever frozen in time.

  9. This poem was little more difficult than others. In my personal opinion, it’s not worthy of the #2 spot on the countdown. I feel there were several other poems we read that were better than this one. I will tell you what I did like about it though. I like that he talks about how great art is because it captures a moment that can never be changed. Forever, what is drawn on that urn will always be the same. Although it is sad that the couple about to kiss never will, there is happiness in thinking that the couple will never age. It will always bring out some romance in a person when they look at it because its shows a couple about to kiss. I really enjoyed the idea behind the poem. However, the wording in the poem was so difficult I wonder if I would ever have been able to understand what the speaker was trying to convey without the help of a third person analyzing for me. Even without understanding what the poem is about. I will say that it does sound beautiful. The rhyme scheme and the way it flows out of a persons mouth is very nice.

  10. It’s obvious that Keats has extremely strong feelings about this urn and the beauty that it holds. Actually, I don’t think of urns that way and upon hearing the word itself, I instantly think of death. After reading this poem, I’m not sure that I’ll think that way again.
    Keats begins this poem informing the reader of the beauty of the urn and the many different images that exist on it. His statement about the urn being an unravish’d bride signifies the purity of the urn. The many questions towards the end of the first stanza was a bit difficult for me at first but I found that they are merely describing the many images seen on the urn.
    The second stanza speaks to the sound that is given off by the urn. Although it is not physically heard, the urn still puts out a melody that is sweet to the one that looks upon it. I never thought about a melody that is not actually heard but I suppose that when something has the beauty that is similar to what exists on the urn, it’s easy to hear the beauty of a melody.
    Keats then begins to describe the urn in detail. This is the part that I truly enjoyed. It was really interesting how he described the many different things that were on the urn. For instance, the first line in the third stanza tells of a tree that cannot shed leaves. Who would have thought? That, along with the other examples, was very intriguing to me. I mean here is a picture of a tree and the fact that it can never shed its leaves is an obvious but awesome observation. There are many other examples of this, the unwearied melodist, the everlasting youth and the warmth that will never end.
    The poem continues to describe the intricate items that are painted on the urn with so much depth that it almost feels like you are there. I mean actually inside the painting itself. Because of this, I can see why this poem made it to the number two spot. This poem pulled me in so much that I felt like I was part of it. I am impressed at how Keats was able to accentuate on the many different items in the paining and how he made them come alive within the poem.
    Beauty is truth, truth beauty, that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. Perfect.

  11. In this poem, there is a great love for art. I too, read this poem in high school. Although that was many years ago, I still remember it. I didn’t quite understand it as I do now. It’s almost as if I read it differently now after taking this class. I really enjoy paintings and artwork and that is what this poem is about. The beauty in art. I love how the poem describes in detail about the paintings on the urn. It makes me feel as if it were right in front of me. It’s almost as if he makes the paintings come to life with the descriptions he has given.

  12. decarlocoleman

    This was my first time ever reading Ode on a Grecian Urn, and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. the overall theme of the poem is about the importance of beauty. The figurative language in the poem illustrates John Keats view the importance of beauty. Keats uses a lot of imagery from Greek culture to illustrate the importance of beauty. In the first stanza, he speaks of the places in Greece known for their beauty and serenity. He speaks of the “leaf-fring’d legend haunts about thy shape of deities or mortals, or of both, in Tempe or the dales of Arcady”. John Keats uses the example of the connection between beauty and young love. Most people think that such love will never end. He calls it “happy love! For ever warm and still to be enjoy’d, for ever panting, and for ever young”. This is something that I can relate to because it’s the feeling my girlfriend and I share. We are high school sweethearts going on five years post graduation which is rare these days, so I guess a such love does come to an end for some.

  13. andreamcginley

    This poem is like the ultimate definition of art. Art is something that we preserve for memory’s sake. Of events or things that are so important and beautiful that we feel we must keep it and share it forever. Like the couple in “Arundel Tomb”, the two are left for eternity. Eternity is a long time, and in the time not everyone will enjoy what some call beautiful. This begs the questions that art is subjective, which the poem outlines as truth when the speaker is befuddled about what the urn contains. At first the speaker is a little confused yet in awe. This misunderstanding of art relates to the poem “Ethics” wherein the speaker does not understand the beauty of art and if it was burning in a building just would not care if the painting had burned. It is this tension that I feel makes art so great. We can even see that in our class the poems that have the most tension usually have the most responded about them. The fascination of tension in our society has never ceased. We can see it in our everyday lives; the best example would be the news. There is hardly anything good on the news, it mostly has to do with someone killing another, robberies, frauds, and anything else bad that could happen.

  14. This is a poem I definitely expected to see. It has been number one on my list for a long time, so I’ll be interested to see what poem is at the top of the countdown. I think my favorite part of this poem is the way it sounds. Like the professor was saying in class, if you could ignore the fact that you know what the words mean and just listen to the sounds they make, the poem is absolutely beautiful. I also like that the rhyme scheme of the poem is flowing and it doesn’t beat you over the head with harsh rhymes. The rhymes in the poem are subtle, but consistent. The rhyme scheme varies in the stanzas, but the scheme of each stanza is the same. It is ridiculous how lovely and well thought out this poem is. I’m very curious as to what the top poem of the countdown is, just because I have a hard time believing that there is another mid-length poem out there that can top this one. Sure, there are epic poems out there that I think would rank higher for me overall, but as far as poems in this relative length, it’s pretty hard to beat.

  15. “Ode on a Grecian Urn” introduces a mystery to its readers. The speaker of the poem is admiring this work of art and he does not understand what it means. He loves the mystery of not knowing what exactly is happening. In my perspective, art that is mysterious and hard to figure out is much more fascintating than simple art. A person can learn more when he/she does not know all of the details that pertain to a piece of art. Looking at an art object, admiring, and trying to figure it out makes the experience an exceptional one. The part of the poem that I enjoyed most was the description of the couple almost kissing, but never actually gets to kiss. The part mentioned prior definitely signifies an eternal love, and the desire of the speaker to be in the art object himself. Through the luscious language in the third stanza, the speaker shows his love for art, life, and love itself (as the professor pointed out in class).

    “For ever warm and still to be enjoy’d
    For ever panting, and for ever young:
    All breathing human passion far above,
    That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy’d,
    A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.”

    In the lines written above is where the lyrical beauty of the poem stands out and confirms that language can be beautiful even if it is not understood. I would truly love it if I could understand this poem to its entirety, but I don’t. To me, the mysteriousness of the poem makes me like it even more. As I have already mentioned, the language itself is beautiful enough for me to like the poem without having to fully understand it. I love the idea of eternity and eternal love in the poem; it makes me despair at mortality just as it does the speaker himself. :)

  16. Listening to this poem was an experience due to its musical quality. I believe that Keats in general can write in a way that makes you think of lyrics or a song as opposed to poetry. The way that the words combine together makes this a poem of love. It does mot matter that he does not understand the urn that he is seeing it matters that he loves it. As Keats explains the people and what they are doing you can feel the excitement. He shows great emotion and love for this piece or art as well as showing confusion. Confusion of meaning though cannot take away beauty. People have been trying to figure out what was going on with the Mona Lisa for years but you will still hear people talk of its beauty amist their confusion. I appreciate what Keats shares in this poem no matter that it was fictional.

  17. I read this poem in high school also. I understand the meaning of the poem more than i did in high school. I love how the author speaks on the beauty of the painting. This poem gives me a joyful and calm feeling. The way he describes the um and the feeling he has about it is a good one. This poem also me think about life and how your suppose to live life to the fullest no matter what life throws at you. I think it was a great poem for the countdown at the right time.

  18. Besides the art’s appreciation the speaker has, I get the feeling that he is describing to the reader what happens throughout our lives and what could have been or what could be. The beauty of the urn comes from what we see. But what lies behind all of that, what are the stories, and what happens afterwards? The events depicted on the urn are frozen in time. Many times in our lives, we are so incredibly happy and just wish things could always be like that. The urn does just that, but what if? What if the two people had kissed, how would things have gone from their? This to me presents the truth that a lot of times we live in regret. We get to a certain point and opportunities present themselves and we turn away for whatever reason. Later down the road we find ourselves wondering why we walked away, sometimes regretting our decisions. In a way I also get the feeling that this shows how we live in fear. Maybe things went horribly bad afterwards, and like we do all the time the artist is just showing the good things, hiding the ugly truth. Many other similar art works depict events in chronological order, showing what was and what turned out. The things frozen in time on the urn will never see their futures. The artist, to me may have been afraid of what lied ahead in his life and showed this on the urn by not showing us everything. It is however a great poem and deserving of the number 2 spot in the countdown.

  19. I enjoyed this poem because it is away from death. Its about happiness, youth, life and love. It’s almost a painting, an art that has so much to it. This poem is kind of a description in itself about it, poetry, emotional and artsy, as are paintings, music and dance and that’s what its about, art. Even though I enjoyed the poem but I think I’ve enjoyed other poems better, maybe because I understand them a lot more than I did this one, but then again I don’t think I’d be able to rank these poems myself, I’m looking forward to what number 1 is.

  20. I love this poem because it is truly beautiful! I like that Keats focuses on the beauty of the unknown. Things that we may feel but not have knowledge of. I really attach myself to this because so much of our life is a conflict between what our heart feels and what our brain thinks. The second stanza talks about a painting where two lovers are about to kiss. I particularly enjoy this stanza because even though the two are forever young and beautiful they never quite taste the love they share. They are forever forced to be stuck in anticipation. In today’s world so much of our happiness is a result of instant gratification. This makes us happy but it tends to wear off as quickly as it was attained. If you have to wait real long or work real hard for something the payoff will be much greater. I am reminded of my mother always saying “good things are worth waiting for” and she was right. I like the analogy we discussed in class about the sports picture right being taken right before the play is complete. The excitement in not knowing, the anticipation and yearning to know. This poem is one of extreme passion and has won my approval.

  21. I would also like to make the point (upon more thought) that an urn is made as a resting place for those who have passed on. However, the markings on the outside suggest immortal life. Almost like the Egyptians with their passing on of blessings into the afterlife, so does the beautiful urn in the poem.

  22. kursteilnehmur

    Art is temporary, and the artists are as well. We all have to make that journey someday. The art that is left behind is a way to catch a glimpse of the thoughts, hopes, beliefs, dreams and aspirations of another human being that has made the journey you are on. The Grecian Urn, like all art, gives both a message of the past and the image of beauty. Really old stuff in museums can be extremely boring to young kids sometimes. I know this because my parents used to drag me along every time they wanted to go somewhere to look at mummified documents, old relics, dusty paintings, or statues. I never quite understood why it was so interesting until my 4th grade class when I saw some of the things I had seen in the museum portrayed in my history book. It wasn’t anything extremely special like the sword of Alexander the Great or the Magna Carta. I think it was something dull and boring like Eli’s cotton gin or some such device. The fact that it was of some importance intrigued me and I eventually came to the conclusion that there are some things in art that can be beautiful and others that are sort of mundane. Paintings of ugly people are not that beautiful to look at, but the way in which the painting was done, or how it has a history behind it can make the painting very valuable to our society. This Grecian Urn has frozen images of many scenes of ancient worlds that we will never see again. The man holding the knife about to make the sacrifice may very well have a gigantic wart on his nose, but society has chosen to look past warts on noses, ugly Rembrandts, silly Picassos, and even Sphinxes without a nose at all. We look at the item as a whole to appreciate both the craftsmanship, and the beauty surrounding the art. This poem has the craftsmanship required of a poem in spot number two. By addressing the art of the Grecian urn Keats creates another work of art, minus the wart.

  23. This poem is deserving of the number 2 spot. It describes such a stand still moment. Of course since the speaker is talking about the art on the urn it makes perfect sense because the art is not in motion. I feel that Keats could have spoke about maybe what the artist was feeling, or if the art on the urn were a movie what would be the next scene for each piece. Instead he describes each as it is and ponders about the state the paintings are in now. I love how he describes the two lovers never being able to kiss, that they will forever be stuck in that moment, but I cannot hello but wonder if maybe they already kissed and they are pulling away. Either way they will not get to experience the kiss again or for the first time in the way Keats describes. The way he describes the tree as well is very beautiful, the tree unlike the lovers though is in a happier state. It will forever hold onto its leaves, never have to “bid the Spring adieu.” My favorite line of the poem is, “When old age shall this generation waste, Thou shalt remain…” The words are beautifully put together and the idea is very strong. There are few things that remain the same as time passes, but art is one that does stay the same (if well kept of course) and that is something that makes me appreciate it so much more, and poetry, like art, is something that can last throughout the ages as we have seen throughout this semester.

  24. When I read this poem it was really hard for me to understand. As I was reading the poem I found this poem pretty interesting. I think this poem is talking about the beauty of life. In this poem an old man teaches in the classroom and he sees all these young girls. Maybe he is lonely and he needs some companionship. He thinks about how these young kids will be when they are his age. The writer also writes about the tree where I think the character old man in the poem observes the life of tree as growing old where there are four seasons in the year in which leaves falls off during the winter and grows back in the spring. So in life, we all begin in the spring and we end in the winter but no matter how many times we die spring will always come. This is what life is.

  25. Typo: “but I cannot *help* but wonder if maybe they already kissed and they are pulling away.

  26. I can understand this poem earning the number two spot just by the way Keats writes it. The lyricism of the poem is beautiful; I especially liked the first four lines. Throughout the poem the way Keats wrote it kept me invested in it and the ideas he expresses in the poem are great too. The way he writes the poem he seems almost sad and happy for the art at the same time. It is sad because they’re forever frozen, never able to fully continue in their action, only shown for that brief moment. The two lovers will never be able to meet their lips and share that kiss, but they are immortal, and will be able to look at each other for all time. The town in the poem will be forever empty but will always stand. Yet at the same time there is a tone of joy throughout, a celebration of the art in its ability to outlast us, able to be seen by generations and generations of people. The line “Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” in the poem is basically the greatest line in there. It goes from being an obvious statement in the regular world to being a profound one in this poem, after a discussion on the beauty and longevity of art, the statement is one that fits the poem and becomes a great way to finish it.

  27. I, like some of the others that have commented so far, feel that this poem gives a perfect example of why art is very much appreciated in our society. Although I wasn’t able to completely understand and interpret this poem, being able to do so wasn’t really necessary. Although the couple mentioned in the poem will never be able to kiss, the feeling of lust and happiness that they were feeling at that time will never fade away. It will be there forever.
    As much as I did like this poem, I don’t see why it ranked so high on the countdown. I feel that there were for more deserving poems that placed too low on the list. There were also some poems that I thought I’d see on the countdown, but I haven’t seen them yet. I can’t wait to see what the number 1 poem is!

  28. “Ode on a Grecian Urn” by John Keats comes off as a very happy poem that surprisingly lacks much darkness. The line at the end pretty much sums up this whole work of art. “Beauty is truth, truth is beauty,-that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” That line is amazing, and can’t get any clearer. The appreciation for art in this poem is also very cool. It kind of adds to the whole idea about art being timeless. I liked this poem, and didn’t have to contemplate why this is so high. The Ignorance is knowledge thing is still hard to comprehend, but in the right mindset it can make sense. This poem also seemed to transport me to my memories of the Smithsonian in DC. The soundless urn putting off a sweet melody speaks volumes of Keats love for the art. It also shows you how all forms of art blend into all your senses to overwhelm you till you realize how powerful it is. Hearing of such love and respect, makes you really think of the impact art can have on a person.

  29. The progression of the poem is what is of interest of me in this poem. I also found it somewhat interesting that the ode is to an object which houses remains of dead humans which seems to be a great irony. The hopeful tone in the poem is also thrilling. I like the humanistic approach to the essence of love and what it is to be happy. I believe this is reached through a negative capability, in that it leaves in my mind the question of what is greater to love yet never consummate or be totally fulfilled, or to love and die. I dont think yeates would agree with the idea that the phrase/ idea that beauty is truth and truth beauty is cliche. If it were so “common knowledge” more people would take head of it and perhaps one would not overlook such beautiful concepts or things in ones own life. Other than the actual content of what is being said the way in which it is expessed is also magnificent. To Capture this image and eloquently describe it is what i think gives this poem its rank. The line “does tease us out of though as doth eternity” i think fills the reader with the desire to rethink and mull over the image presented by the author. It brings up a great point though how great life is that we are able to conceive thoughts.

  30. This another one of those poems in which a man speaks out his love and passion for a woman. The man is obiously madly in love with his mate. He is off in the sky among the clouds whenever she comes across his mind. Love poems have done a millions times. This is just another one with complex words. He uses strong details to his feelings of her. He makes us feel that he can’t and wont go on without her. That the mear thought will kill him. A detail romantic. Many women still eat this up. Those are the best ones.

  31. spontaneous12

    Ode on a Grecian Urn
    In the first stanza, the speaker makes it a point to let the audience know that he/she is talking to a bride, a foster child of silence and slow time. As men, we are unaware at times of women and all of what she has gone through. Who can tell her story better than she can? The speaker also suggest that knowing his bride and all that is peculiar and everything in between, “who canst thus express a flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme. In other words, what two amount to a greater being than we? As too, people are unaware of every blooming thing that has come about in our lives. However, whether we were parented in a foster home, or the question as to how we arrived, thus on the scene in countless lives.
    I am encouraged by the speaker’s choice of words. The speaker describes these individual events of life and love as little as a little town is. It speaks about the possibility of events that I remember about acquaintances walking to and fro being little to me but being possibly vital to others. A small thought to others about me is in some cases is an ongoing thought for me through life though we all think of others and continue to go merrily along. “And, little town, thy streets for evermore will silent be; and not a soul to tell why thou art desolate, can e’er return.” It allowed me to really get the concept of what the speaker was trying to say. Furthermore, about stories untold, deaths unheard about, a kiss never embraced. Who could deserve thou (such a) kiss from you nevertheless, from me as well? Also, “What little town by river or sea-shore, or mountain-built with peaceful citadel, is emptied of its folk, this pious morn?” This sentence sums up Keats’ best line of the poem for me. It seems as if many towns are dumped in a town and gathered out through death to mourn a gracious but saddened event. I will end this poem with a quote from our very own Mrs. Belinda, to you I’m part of the world, yet to me you are my world.

  32. I enjoyed this poem and I really liked the language used and the word choices that the author made. At first after the professor finished reading it, I had no clue what it was about. I found myself not paying attention to the actual wording of the poem but rather to the rythm and the flow of the poem. It had a very special flow to it and it reminded me about a poem that was written in another language that the professor read to us at the beginning of the semester. I obviously did not understand that one at all but just the melody that came out of it after putting all the sounds together just came out and gave me like an inner peace. Having this feeling after reading a poem is what makes the poem great, so I agree with this poem being placed at the top of our list :)

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