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Mar 25, 2011

Classical Mythology: Keats

The odes embody the single final achievement of Keats. The “Ode to Nightingale” personifies the very spirit of Old Romance. It is “The most voluptuous and passionate in emotion.” The idea of intoxication in the first stanza is associated with the idea of poetic inspiration on the second stanza. Classical mythology comes to Keats’ service and he refers to “blushful Hippocrence” ir Mount Helicon sacred to the Muses. The Lovely image of Ruth is brought in, in connection, with the song of Nightingale. The poet says that she too must have heard the song Nightingale:
“When sick for home,
she stood in tears amid the alien corn.”
Keats discards all physical stimulants to reach the world of nightingale.
“Not Charioted by Bacchus and his pards” but on the “viewless wings of poesy”. His imagination transports Keats in a trice, to the Nightingale’s realm of paradisiac happiness. Bacchus according to Greek Mythology is the god of wine and the presiding deity for the followers who are called Bacchanalia.

Keats “Ode of a Grecian Urn” was inspired by the sight of a particular urn or by the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum which Keats used to visit. Keats makes use of the Grecian urn and the motifs and figures inscribed on it to drown a distinction between transitory love and immortal love, temporary earthly existence and immortality of art—“are Longa vita brevis”—as we call it. The figure of the woman “she cannot fade, though thou hast thy bliss.” “Forever will thou love and she be fair.” The phrase ‘Attic Shape’ suggests Albanian perfection. “Beauty is truth and truth beauty” is the central idea running through the ode.

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