Ode on a Grecian Urn and Ode to a Nightingale and a part of Keat’s Greatest Odes of 1819. This paper will attempt a close reading first of Ode to a Nightingale and then a close reading of Ode on a Grecian Urn. A comparison of the two will follow the close readings.
Keat’s Ode to a Nightingale opens with a declaration of the heartache and “drowsy numbness pains” that the speaker feels. He speaks to an unseen “light-winged Dryad of the trees,” a nightingale, of feeling a “drowsy numbness” from sharing in the nightingales happiness because it is singing of summer while sitting hidden in a plot of trees and shadows.
Continuing, in the second stanza, we hear the speaker speak of wanting alcohol, a “drop of vintage,” to allow him to fade away with the nightingale. Using alcohol as a way of escape, the speaker does not write as a drunk, but rather as someone who has been enlightened and is seeking joy by way of a “beaker full of the warm South.”
In the song of the nightingale, the speaker hears a foreign joy, one created by beauty, which he wants to get into. He wants to
“ Fade far away, dissolve and quite forget
What thou among the leaves has never known.” (lines 21-22)
To escape the worldly troubles the human life has, that are absent from the life of the nightingale he so wishes to follow. It is in the third stanza he realizes the world of the nightingale is very different from the world he was born into. The bird has never had to feel “the weariness, the fever, and the fret” of human life or had to experience the immortality of it.
Realizing this, the speaker begs the bird to fly away and that he will follow through his imagination as opposed to through an alcohol induced stupor, as stated in lines 31 to 34.
“Away! Away! For I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards.” (lines 31-34)
To prove his point, he states he is already with the nightingale, describing...