Ode on a Grecian Urn
stanza 1: Keats addresses the urn as an "unravished bride of
quietness" and a "foster-child of silence and slow time" perhaps to
indicate that the urn's scenes are not consummated or completed. The urn is also a
"Sylvan historian" who presents Attic scenes which can be identified in general
but not in particular; thus, the poet asks "What men or gods are these? What
stanza 2: The poet begins to address the scenes on the urn: the
musicians' music cannot be heard, but the music of the imagination ("spirit ditties
of no tone") is better. The lovers who are just about to kiss remain forever
without touching lips but also forever young and beautiful.
stanza 3: Being beautiful images, the trees can never shed their
leaves and are always in Spring; equally, human passion and desire never descends to
sorrow and lust and pain.
stanza 4: In the same way, the scene of a priest processing with a
heifer to a pagan sacrifice against the background of a town near a body of water, will
always keep secret its reasons for the sacrifice.
stanza 5: Such a static, unchanging form as the urn, like Eternity,
causes the speaker of the poem to reflect and hear the urn's message: "Beauty is
truth, truth beauty."
Ode on Melancholy
stanza 1: The speaker warns against giving way to poisons or other
means and charms of death.
stanza 2: Instead, when you experience a melancholy moment, engorge
yourself (so to speak) on the experience, whether it be a rainy April day or the
standoffishness of your true love.
stanza 3: Melancholy exists with beauty and joy because everything
must pass away and die. Melancholy is a goddess who is available to those who know
how to experience her delights. The one who does will be like a war trophy in her