The Ode on a Grecian Urn
is more lovely now than when it was written, because for a hundred years lovers have read it and the sick at heart taken comfort in its lines."
Here are some verses from his ode On a Grecian Urn
. You have seen such a vase, perhaps, with beautiful sculptured figures on it, dancing maidens and piping shepherds.
His Romantic glow and emotion never fade or cool, but such poems as the Odes to the Nightingale and to a Grecian Urn
, and the fragment of 'Hyperion,' are absolutely flawless and satisfying in structure and expression.
Now, there is a Grecian urn
erected in the centre of a lonely field; now there is a woman weeping at a tomb; now a very commonplace old gentleman in a white waistcoat, with a thumb thrust into each arm-hole of his coat; now a student poring on a book; now a crouching negro; now, a horse, a dog, a cannon, an armed man; a hunch-back throwing off his cloak and stepping forth into the light.
This is the role Keats would like to attribute to the Grecian Urn
as representative work of art, claiming in stanza 5 that "[w]hen old age shall this generation waste, / Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe / Than ours, a friend to man" (46-48).
On the surface none of that seems particularly poetic, which makes Fusco's clever handling of the material that much more noteworthy; whipping up a poem about a Grecian urn
now seems comparatively simple after listening to Fusco poetically riff on snow-throwers and gas grills.
During the summer of 1998, I taught a summer school World Literature class at Tyler Junior College, and my class focused on John Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn
." As we explored Stanza II, in which Keats proclaims, "Heard Melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on" (Norton, p.604), I told the class about the record in the furrow, and how I often wonder if it contained the "Sicilian Tarantella" or the Meisterbrau Showcase theme.
WHAT'S a Grecian urn
? About a million quid thanks to TV money from the Old Trafford game, actually.
46); a chapter on 'Ode on a Grecian Urn
' and Mandel'shtam's 'Kuvshin' apparently proposes instead 'vigorous comparison of a specific case of correspondence and affinity' (p.
Keats's declaration in the Ode on a Grecian Urn
that "Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard / Are sweeter" understandably resonates through After the Heavenly Tune, and that poem and the Ode to a Nightingale receive much attention in the section on Keats.
Walls: Grecian Urn
6 vinyl silk emulsion, pounds 14.50 for 2.5 litres; column: Lime Fizz satinwood from the Fresh Collection, pounds 8.10 for 750ml, Dulux (01753 550 555).
("The Lippizaners" has neither of these qualities, yet it is not only a major poem but an oblique survey of Slovenian history and a statement of Kocbek's vision and method.) "In a Torched Village," "Hands," and "Fishnet" resist the tendency to leap to the cosmic and either imply or earn their generalizations, and "Standing by a Vessel" offers a corrective to Wallace Stevens's "Anecdote of the Jar" or, for that matter, Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn
." Kocbek's vessel is a jug.