Romantic Poetry John Keats
Outline • John Keats; the odes • Ode on a Grecian Urn • Notes • To Autumn
John Keats • October 31, 1795-February 23, 1821; died at the age of 25 of tuberculosis . Published only 54 poems. • Originally a surgeon (apothecary-surgeon) and changed his mind in 1813-1814. • Literary Creation: 1816 – 1821 [love with Fanny Browne 1818- the odes 1819] poverty • 1820 –symptoms of TB; • 1821 -- "Here lies one whose name was writ in water." • Major Ideas: Life as “the Vale of soul-making.” Shakespeare with “negative capability” (like a chameleon—imaginative identification with the other).
“Ode to Psyche” --the goddess Psyche in the arms of Cupid “Ode on a Grecian Urn” – art 3. “Ode to a Nightingale” --art 5. “Ode on Indolence” 6. 'To Autumn‘ – a finale 4. “Ode on Melancholy” She dwells with Beauty—Beauty that must die; And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips Bidding adieu and aching Pleasure nigh, Turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips Keats’ Great Odes • Journey to (or Quest) artistic eternity and transcendence and return to the mortal world
Ode on a Grecian Urn • Pay attention to a) the form of address (apostrophe) and the object of address in different stanzas, which imply the speaker’s different relations with the urn; • Pay attention to the use of metaphors in calling/describing the urn; • The two sides of the urn: their differences and similarities • The closing lines—how to interpret them.
STANZA I Blue—metaphor; Orange – sound Underline-- rhetoric skills: questions Thou still unravish'd bride ofquietness, Thou foster-child of silence and slow time, Sylvan historian, who canst thus express A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme: What leaf-fring'd legend haunts about thy shape Of deities or mortals, or of both, In Tempe or the dales of Arcady? (1) Whatmen or gods are these?Whatmaidens loth? What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape? What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?
Blue—metaphor; Orange – sound Underline-- rhetoric skills: Imperative, concession, repetition STANZA II 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: Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare; Bold Lover, never,never canst thou kiss, Though winning near the goal--yet, do not grieve; She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss, For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!
Blue—metaphor; Orange – sound Underline-- rhetoric skills: Exclamation; repetition STANZA III Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu; And, happy melodist, unwearied, For ever piping songs for ever new; More happy love! more happy, happy love! 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.
Blue—subjects; Orange – sound Underline-- rhetoric skills: Exclamation; repetition STANZA IV Who are these coming to the sacrifice? To whatgreen altar, O mysterious priest, Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies, And all her silken flanks with garlands drest? Whatlittle town by river or sea shore, Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel, Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn? And, little town, thy streets for evermore Will silent be; and not a soul to tell Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.
Blue—metaphor; Orange – sound Underline-- rhetoric skills: Exclamation; repetition STANZA V O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede Of marble men and maidens overwrought, With forest branches and the trodden weed; Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral! When old age shall this generation waste, Thoushalt remain, in midst of other woe Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty,"--that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
Ode on a Grecian Urn • Using apostrophe to address and speak to the Urn in order to “enter” its realm (the realm of art and permanence); • The Emphathic（神入﹚/Ekphrastic (讀畫／藝術作品) Process: 1) approach: question understanding confirmation 2) differentiation between the human and the artistic • A Creative Process: * After all, the urn is just an ancient utensil; Keats creates its “artistic” meanings by teasing out the dualities between (time and timelessness/frozen moments, sound and silence, thinking and thoughtlessness, the static and the eternal)
Note (1) • Tempe and Arcady: considered as heavenly paradise in Greece, frequently mentioned in pastoral poems; symbol of artistic realm. • Sylvan – of the forest; shady
Note (2) • Ekphrasis: poetic writing concerning itself with the visual arts, artistic objects, and/or highly visual scenes (source) • Examples: “Musee des beaux arts” “Ozymandias” “My Last Duchess” • Issues: • art and life; • different languages of art (an inter-art approach): temporal/kinetic arts (verbal, filmic) art vs. static (visual vs. plastic) • Possibilities of re-creation with different messages.
Ode on a Grecian Urn as an Ekphrastic poem • Keats first appreciates the values of plastic art which eternalizes one (frozen) moment; • With the reading of the funeral procession, he places it back to the temporal flow. • There is then a contrast between the urn’s beauty and truth, and those of humans’ mortal world.
TO AUTUMN (1819) Pay attention to: • How autumn is presented; personified and addressed to. • Different focuses of ideas and image patterns of the three stanzas; • How the stanzas develop
TO AUTUMN (1819) Underline– subject –verb; orange- alliteration , rhyme and other recurrent sounds (e.g. [f], [m], [o] and [s]). Tactile images of fruition (softness and fullness)--boldface 1. • SEASON of mists and mellowfruitfulness, Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; Conspiring with him how toload and bless With fruit thevines that round the thatch-eves run; To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees, And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells With a sweet kernel; to set budding more, And still more, later flowers for the bees, Until they think warm days will never cease, For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammycells.
Underline– object/possessive pronoun –verb (inactive, or passive); orange- alliteration, rhyme and other recurrent sounds (e.g. [th], [wi], [ft]/[st] and [u]/[au]). Action images of rest (sleep, drowsed, spare the hook, keep steady, watch)--boldface 2. Who hath not seen theeoft amid thy store? Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may findTheesitting careless on a granary floor, Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep, Drows’d with the fume of poppies, while thy hookSpares the next swath and all its twined flowers: And sometimes like a gleaner thoudostkeep Steady thy laden head across a brook; Or by a cyder-press, with patient look, Thou watchest the last oozingshours by hours.
Underline– subject (thou) –verb (singing, or passive); orange- alliteration, rhyme and alteration of long and short sounds (e.g. [ourn/ong], [oo], [t] and [oft]). Audio images of singing (mourn, bleat, whistle and twitter)--boldface 3. Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they? Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,— While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day, And touch the stubble plains with rosy hue; Then in a wailful choir the small gnatsmourn Among the river sallows, borne aloft Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies; And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; Hedge-cricketssing; and now with treble soft The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft; And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.