In the fourth stanza, the speaker tells the nightingale to fly away, and he will follow, not through alcohol ("Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards"), but through poetry, which will give him "viewless wings." He says he is already with the nightingale and describes the forest glade, where even the moonlight is hidden by the trees, except the light that breaks through when the breezes blow the branches. In the fifth stanza, the speaker says that he cannot see the flowers in the glade, but can guess them "in embalmed darkness": white hawthorne, eglantine, violets, and the musk-rose, "the murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves." In the sixth stanza, the speaker listens in the dark to the nightingale, saying that he has often been "half in love" with the idea of dying and called Death soft names in many rhymes. Surrounded by the nightingale's song, the speaker thinks that the idea of death seems richer than ever, and he longs to "cease upon the midnight with no pain" while the nightingale pours its soul ecstatically forth. If he were to die, the nightingale would continue to sing, he says, but he would "have ears in vain" and be no longer able to hear.
'To Autumn' is often interpreted as a peaceful evocation of the beauties of the English countryside, To me, it is more a subtle, troubled attempt by Keats to make some kind of sense out of dying young. It is hard to determine how much of this comes from a consciousness of his own impending death, and how much derives from more general thoughts about mortality. Nevertheless, it seems evident that the poem has a sense of conflict and ambiguity similar to the earlier, more obviously dramatic and questioning odes. The season of autumn is presented as a fertile and beautiful woman ('thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind') but, as with other beautiful female presences in Keats's poems (La Belle Dame Sans Merci, the personified Grecian Urn, Lamia), the charm co-exists with a potential cruelty and indifference.
Explain the critical appreciation of john keats ode to a
The nightingale has traditionally been associated with love. The influential myth of Philomela, turned into a nightingale after being raped and tortured, stresses melancholy and suffering in association with love. It has also been associated with poetry. Keats no doubt knew Coleridge's two poems `To the Nightingale' (1796) and `The Nightingale: "A Conversation Poem"', and, according to his letters, only days before writing this ode he had talked with the older poet on such subjects as nightingales, poetry and poetical sensation.
To Autumn - John Keats Poetry - Keats' Kingdom
A major concern in "Ode to a Nightingale" is Keats's perception of the conflicted nature of human life, i.e., the interconnection or mixture of pain/joy, intensity of feeling/numbness of feeling, life/death, mortal/immortal, the actual/the ideal, and separation/connection.
In this ode, Keats focuses on immediate, concrete sensations and emotions, from which the reader can draw a conclusion or abstraction. Does the experience which Keats describes change the dreamer? As reader, you must follow the dreamer's development or his lack of development from his initial response to the nightingale to his final statement about the experience.
The poet falls into a reverie while listening to an actual nightingale sing. He feels joy and pain, an ambivalent response. As you read, pick out which words express his pleasure and which ones express his pain and which words express his intense feeling and which his numbed feeling. Consider whether pleasure can be so intense that, paradoxically, it either numbs us or causes pain.
What qualities does the poet ascribe to the nightingale? In the beginning the bird is presented as a real bird, but as the poem progresses, the bird becomes a symbol. What do you think the bird comes to symbolize? Possible meanings include
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2. hemlock: a poisonous plant which produces death by paralysis.
4. Lethe: a river of the lower world from which the shades drank, and thus obtained forgetfulness of the past.
7. Dryad: a wood nymph.
9. beechen: of the beech tree.
11. draught: what can be swallowed in a single drink.
13. Flora: the goddess of flowers, here used for flowers themselves. Cf. Keats' letter to Fanny Keats ca. May 1, 1819: "O there is nothing like fine weather ... and, please heaven, a little claret-wine cool out of a cellar a mile deep -- with a few or a good many ratafia cakes -- a rocky basin to bathe in, a strawberry bed to say your prayers to Flora in" (Letters, II, 56).
14. Provençal song. In the early Middle Ages the poets of southern France, the troubadours of Provence, were particularly famous for their love lyrics.
15. warm South: a southern wine.
16. Hippocrene: a fountain on Mount Helicon in Boeotia, sacred to the Muses.
26. Tom Keats died of consumption on Dec. 1, 1818.
32. Bacchus and his pards: the Roman god of wine, whho traditionally is shown in a conveyance drawn by leopards.
33. viewless: invisible. This phrase appears in half a dozen poems from 1765 to Mary Robinson's "The Progress of Liberty" in 1806 (II, 426).
37. Fays: fairies.
43. embalmed: full of balms, or perfumes. Lines 43-49 appear to echo Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, II.i.249-52 The Riverside Shakespeare, ed. G. Blakemore Evans and J. J. M. Tobin, 2nd edn. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997):