Ode to a Grecian Urn

Y’all, I gotta get this procrastination thing under control. Senior project presentations are in less than one week (I know you didn’t need that reminder) and guess what I’m doing instead of finishing our website. Yay. But I really like this poem from John Keats, and I feel like it kind of fits in with the theme of my blog posts lately. I’m going to avoid the multi-faceted, in-depth analyses that the stanzas of this poem beg for because of time constraints, but I really do love your assertion about the longevity of art, Allpass.


Though love is an enigma to mankind, John Keats, in his poem “Ode to a Grecian Urn,” contemplates the curiously eternal nature of true love and beauty through elysian diction and the perpetual juxtaposition of innocence and unbridled passion.

Through the stanzas of the poem, the speaker illuminates the paradox of love to make the assertion of true love’s immortality. Initially, love is revealed to be an “unravish’d bride of quietness” and “a flowery tale [told] more sweetly than our rhyme” (1; 4). The delicate diction and gentle imagery of a flower portrays a sense of innocence and endearment. In addition, the phrase “more sweetly than our rhyme” sets love apart from the typical human condition, establishing its purity and immortality beyond the depravity and mortality of mankind. Love’s ethereal, eternal existence is further expressed by the description “foster-child of silence and slow time” (2). “Foster-child” again suggests an image of innocence, and its character of slow time clarifies love’s eternal timeline.

The innocent, gentle feel of love is immediately juxtaposed in the end of the stanza, when love becomes a “mad pursuit” and “wild ecstasy” (9; 10-11). The emotion is characterized as reckless and uncontrolled, but just as strong as its opening portrayal. Through this paradox of innocence and unbridled passion, the speaker illustrates the strength and versatility of love. Even as “old age shall this generation waste, / Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe” (52-53).  True love’s limitless character allows it to withstand all things, including time.

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