Ode to a nightingale poem. Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats, a poem of beauty and intensity 2019-01-09

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624. Ode to a Nightingale. John Keats. The Oxford Book of English Verse

ode to a nightingale poem

Once again, the speaker struggles with the dissonance between his idealism and the realities of the world. I believe that the 'events' of the ode, as it unfolds in time, have more logic, however, than is usually granted them, and that they are best seen in relation to Keats's pursuit of the idea of music as a nonrepresentational art. I cannot see what flowers are at my feet, 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; And mid-May's eldest child, The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine, The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves. Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene, With beaded bubbles winking at the brim, And purple-stainèd mouth; That I might drink, and leave the world unseen, And with thee fade away into the forest dim: Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget What thou among the leaves hast never known, The weariness, the fever, and the fret Here, where men sit and hear each other groan; Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs, Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies; Where but to think is to be full of sorrow And leaden-eyed despairs; Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow. Keats is seen struggling against the inevitable impermanence of human beauty, youth and happiness.

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SparkNotes: Keats’s Odes: Ode to a Nightingale, page 2

ode to a nightingale poem

This is not to say that the song is a simple , but it is a complex image that is formed through the interaction of the conflicting voices of praise and questioning. In these opening lines, the identification is not total; Keats is aware of his self which explains his pains and aches , but gradually the self-consciousness fades as drowsy numbness overtakes him and the possibility of total identification is on the rise as the later lines in the stanza explain. Keats' earlier mood of despondency seems to be perverse in the context of what gives rise to it. As natural music, the song is for beauty and lacks a message of truth. Once the nightingale's song lulls him into a stupor, he fades into the atmosphere of a night in the forest, where he can hardly see a thing but can only smell the intoxicating plants around him.

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‘Ode to a Nightingale’: A Poem by John Keats

ode to a nightingale poem

No hungry generations tread thee down; The voice I hear this passing night was heard In ancient days by emperor and clown: Perhaps the self-same song that found a path Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home, She stood in tears amid the alien corn; The same that oft-times hath Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn. The poem inspired to name his first play. He wrote the poem in 1819, while visiting his friend Charles Brown, who later wrote about the morning of its composition: In the spring of 1819 a nightingale had built her nest near my house. The passion of the chase, the fairness of the youth, and the beauty of the beloved are all frozen for eternity. He asks for a draught of wine that can induce in him a state of druggedness so that he can fly away into the blissful world of the bird.

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Ode to a Nightingale

ode to a nightingale poem

The poem was later included in Keats' 1820 collection of poems, Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St Agnes, and Other Poems. He focusses on several sense impressions relating to an object and thereby gives the reader a full apprehension of it. It displays Keats' special talent for close observation and vivid description. Keats raises a question that operates on two levels. Ruth instead of turning to her father and mother after the death of her husband accompanied her widowed mother-in-law to the land of Bethlehem.


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ode to a nightingale poem

No hungry generations tread thee down; The voice I hear this passing night was heard In ancient days by emperor and clown: Perhaps the self-same song that found a path Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home, She stood in tears amid the alien corn; The same that oft-times hath Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn. Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene, With beaded bubbles winking at the brim, And purple-stainèd mouth; That I might drink, and leave the world unseen, And with thee fade away into the forest dim: Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget What thou among the leaves hast never known, The weariness, the fever, and the fret Here, where men sit and hear each other groan; Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs, Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies; Where but to think is to be full of sorrow And leaden-eyed despairs; Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow. Fled is that music:—Do I wake or sleep? Keats' mood is one of drugged languor and has been occasioned by his empathic response to the happiness of the bird. The first quatrain rhyming abab and the following sestet having a cdecde rhyme scheme. All these odes were written in his most creative year of 1819. Midway through the poem, there is a split between the two actions of the poem: the first attempts to identify with the nightingale and its song, and the second discusses the convergence of the past with the future while experiencing the present.

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Ode to a Nightingale

ode to a nightingale poem

The poet wishes to merge his identity with that of the bird. Historical Background In 1819, Keats left his paid position as a dresser at the hospital to devote himself to a career in poetry, and it was during the spring that he wrote the five major odes, before delving into a variety of other forms of poetry. One is Keats' evaluation of life; life is a vale of tears and frustration. Although the poem is regular in form, it leaves the impression of being a kind of rhapsody; Keats is allowing his thoughts and emotions free expression. These words give the onomatopoeic effect of the bees buzzing around. It is what happens in his mind while he is listening to the song of a nightingale.

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Ode To A Nightingale

ode to a nightingale poem

He wants to escape the worries and concerns of life, age, and time. Keats says that he is only half in love with death and we will discover Keats' offer of explanation to this in the last two lines. Can you trace the progression of thought and imagery in these two stanzas? Still wouldst thou sing and I have ears in vain To thy high requiem become a sod. The drowsiness comes from the longing to flee the world and join the nightingale — to become like the nightingale, beautiful and immortal and organic — and after rejecting joining the nightingale through Bacchanalian activity, he decides that he will attempt to join the bird through poetry. O, for a draught of vintage! Keats weaves this dense tapestry of vowel and consonant sounds in order to convey the sense of Dionysian abandon at the heart of the second stanza. He cannot see what flowers are growing around him, but from their odor and from his knowledge of what flowers should be in bloom at the time he can guess. My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk: 'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot, But being too happy in thine happiness— That thou, light-wingéd Dryad of the trees, In some melodious plot Of beechen green, and shadows numberless, Singest of summer in full-throated ease.


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SparkNotes: Keats’s Odes: Ode to a Nightingale, page 2

ode to a nightingale poem

No hungry generations tread thee down; The voice I hear this passing night was heard In ancient days by emperor and clown: Perhaps the self-same song that found a path Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home, She stood in tears amid the alien corn; The same that oft-times hath Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn. His family life was shattered by the departure of one brother to America and the death from tuberculosis of the other. The poem itself is very unhappy; Keats is stunned at the happiness of the bird, and despairs at the difference between it and its happiness and his own unhappy life. I cannot see what flowers are at my feet, 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; And mid-May's eldest child, The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine, The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves. The speaker wishes he had a special wine distilled directly from the earth.

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SparkNotes: Keats’s Odes: Ode to a Nightingale, page 2

ode to a nightingale poem

No hungry generations tread thee down; The voice I hear this passing night was heard In ancient days by emperor and clown: Perhaps the self-same song that found a path 65 Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home, She stood in tears amid the alien corn; The same that ofttimes hath Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn. It is contrasted, in the third stanza, by the reality of the world around him — sickness, ill-health and conflict. The rest is only Poetry. My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk: 'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot, But being too happy in thine happiness,-- That thou, light-wingéd Dryad of the trees, In some melodious plot Of beechen green, and shadows numberless, Singest of summer in full-throated ease. The dream image emphasizes the shadowiness and elusiveness of the poem. Keats' response to the sensuous beauty of the physical world is at its best in this stanza.

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Ode To A Nightingale Poem by John Keats

ode to a nightingale poem

But Keats's influence has resonated into the twentieth century on poets like , , and countless others. She worked in the field of Bo'az to earn her living and ultimately was rewarded for her devotion and kindness to her mother-in-law. Richard Fogle responded to the critical attack on Keats's emphasis on rhyme and language put forth by Garrod, Gerard, and others in 1953. He is left confused and bewildered, not knowing the difference between reality and dreams. We should note that some critics have questioned Brown's memory of the event, but it's a good story anyway.

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