Ode On A Grecian Urn; John Keats

Traducción. Poesía. Literatura inglesa. Romanticismo. Interpretación. Texto. Religiosidad. Oda

  • Enviado por: Rosyta K
  • Idioma: inglés
  • País: España España
  • 20 páginas

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ODE ON A GRECIAN URN

by John Keats

Ode on a Grecian Urn, John Keats

Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness,

 

  Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,

 

Sylvan historian, who canst thus express

 

  A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:

 

What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape

5

  Of deities or mortals, or of both,

 

    In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?

 

  What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?

 

What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?

 

    What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

  10

 

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard

 

  Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;

 

Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,

 

  Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:

 

Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave

  15

  Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;

 

    Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,

 

Though winning near the goal—yet, do not grieve;

 

    She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,

 

  For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

  20

 

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed

 

  Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;

 

And, happy melodist, unwearied,

 

  For ever piping songs for ever new;

 

More happy love! more happy, happy love!

  25

  For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,

 

    For ever panting, and for ever young;

 

All breathing human passion far above,

 

  That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,

 

    A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

  30

 

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?

 

  To what green altar, O mysterious priest,

 

Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,

 

  And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?

 

What little town by river or sea-shore,

  35

  Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,

 

    Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn?

 

And, little town, thy streets for evermore

 

  Will silent be; and not a soul, to tell

 

    Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.

  40

 

O Attic shape! fair attitude! with brede

 

  Of marble men and maidens overwrought,

 

With forest branches and the trodden weed;

 

  Thou, silent form! dost tease us out of thought

 

As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!

  45

  When old age shall this generation waste,

 

    Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe

 

  Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,

 

'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all

 

    Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.'

  50

I) APPRECIATION

A) COMPREHENSION

Historic, literary and biographic background

Following the common usage of historians of English literature, we will denote by the “Romantic period”, the span between the year 1798, in which Wordsworth and Coleridge published their Lyrical Ballads, and 1832 when Sir Walter Scott died.

England had been a primarily agricultural society, where wealth and power were largely concentrated in the landholding aristocracy, and became a recognizably modern industrial nation, with large scale employers, who focused themselves ranged against an immensely enlarging and increasingly restive working class. This change occurred in a context first of the American and then much more radical French Revolution, of Wars, of economic cycles of inflation and depression, and of the constant threat to the social structure from imported revolutionary ideologies to which the ruling classes responded by the Declaration of the Rights of the Man and the storming of the Bastille evoked enthusiastic support from English liberals and radical alike. Two influential books indicate the radical social thinking stimulated by the Revolution, “Tom Paine's Rights of Man” and “Reflections on the Revolution in France”.

In 1972 the accession to Power by the Jacobin extremists, the September Massacres followed by the execution of the Royal Family and the emergence of Napoleon first as dictator and then as emperor of France were important events to mention.

For all the English of liberal inclinations, these events posed a dilemma which has become familiar since the 1920's, in our parallel era of wars, revolutions and the struggle by competing social ideologies - liberal had no clear choice.

In England this period of the wars against France and of the terrifying threat of the Revolutionary spirit at home was one of harsh repressive measures Public meeting were prohibited, and advocates of even moderate measures of political change were persecuted as Jacobins. In effect the Napoleonic wars put an end to reform and to almost all genuine political life in England, for more than three decades.

By the 1770 the population was becoming increasingly polarized into what Disraeli later called the “Two Nations” - the two classes of capital and labour, the large owner or trader and the possession less wageworker, the rich, and the poor.

In 1815 the conclusion of this war, when the enlargement of the working force by demobilized troops coincided with the fall in the wartime demand for goods, brought on the first modern industrial depression.

Gradually the working-class reformers acquired the support of the middle class and the liberal Whigs. Finally, at a time of acute economic distress, and after a period of unprecedented agitation and disorders that threatened to break out into revolution, the first Reform Bill was carried in 1832. It eliminated the rotten boroughs, redistributed parliamentary representation, and extended the vote, at the end England acquired universal adult suffrage.

John Keats was born in Finsbury Pavement near London on October 31st, 1795. The first son of a stable-keeper, he had a sister and three brothers, one of whom died in infancy. When John was eight years old, his father was killed in an accident. In the same year his mother married again, but little later separated from her husband and took her family to live with her mother. John attended a good school where he became well acquainted with ancient and contemporary literature. In 1810 his mother died of consumption, leaving the children to their grandmother. The old lady put them under the care of two guardians, to whom she made over a respectable amount of money for the benifit of the orphans. Under the authority of the guardians, he was taken from school to an be apprentice to a surgeon. In 1814, before completion of his apprenticeship, John left his master after a quarrel, becoming a hospital student in London. Under the guidance of his friend Cowden Clarke he devoted himself increasingly to literature. In 1814 Keats finally sacrificed his medical ambitions to a literary life.

He soon got acquainted with celebrated artists of his time, like Leigh Hunt, Percy B. Shelley and Benjamin Robert Haydon. In May 1816, Hunt helped him publish his first poem in a magazine. A year later Keats published about thirty poems and sonnets printed in the volume "Poems".

After receiving scarce, negative feedback, Keats travelled to the Isle of Wight on his own in spring of 1817. In the late summer he went to Oxford together with a newly-made friend, Benjamin Bailey. In the following winter, George Keats married and emigrated to America, leaving the consumptuous brother Tom to the John's care. Apart from helping Tom against consumption, Keats worked on his poem "Endymion". Just before its publication, he went on a hiking tour to Scotland and Ireland with his friend Charles Brown. First signs of his own fatal disease forced him to return prematurely, where he found his brother seriously ill and his poem harshly critisized. In December 1818 Tom Keats died. John moved to Hampstead Heath, were he lived in the house of Charles Brown. While in Scotland with Keats, Brown had lent his house to a Mrs Brawne and her sixteen-year-old daughter Fanny. Since the ladies where still living in London, Keats soon made their acquaintance and fell in love with the beautiful, fashionable girl. Absorbed in love and poetry, he exhausted himself mentally, and in autumn of 1819, he tried to gain some distance to literature through an ordinary occupation.

Comprehension questions

KEATS'S LIFE

  • Was Keat´s family reach?

  • Keat´s family was not rich. His father worked as an employee at a London livery satable and his mother was his father's employer's daughter.

  • Why was he able to study when he was a child?

  • Keats was able to study because his parents inherited his grandfather's business, where his father worked.

  • Why was he fortunate in school?

  • He was fortunate in school because he had as a teacher Charles Cowden Clarke, who was son of the headmaster and tater became himself a man of letters. Keat's passion for reading was encouraged by his teacher, and he also was introduced to Spenser and other poets to music, and to the theatre.

  • What was Keats's professional career?

  • Keats was qualified to work as an apothecary, but he abandoned medicine for poetry almost immediately, because of his guardian's protests.

  • Why is the year 1818 important in Keats's life?

  • The year 1818 was important to Keats because he fell in love with Fanny Brawne, whom he got engaged, but did not finally marry.

  • Name some of the main features of Keat´s poetry.

  • Some of the features of Keats's poetry are a slow paced, gracious movement; a concreteness of description in which an experience; an intense delight at the sheer existence of things outside himself; and a concentrated felicity of phrasing.

  • What was called " posthumous existence" by Keats?

  • Keats called !pothumous existence" the last months of his life, since he coughed up some blood and he was very weak, so he went to live in Italy.

  • Why did he go to Italy ?

  • He went to Italy in order to seek a milder climate, persuaded by Joseph Severn, because of his weakness.

  • Was Keat's death a great loss? Why?

  • Keats's death was not a great loss, because he achieved great success at the age of 24, exceeding that at the same age of Chaucer, Shakespeare, or Milton.

    ODE ON A GRECIAN URN'S QUESTIONS

    1.- Match definitions with words:

  • vase: a container, usually shaped like a pot, with a rather narrow opening at the top and made of glass or braked clay, used either to put flowers in or as an ornament.

  • bottle: a container, typically of glass or plastic, with a rather narrow neck or mouth and usually no handle.

  • vessel: any of several kinds of round vessel in baked clay, metal, glass, etc. with or without handle, cover, etc. made to contain liquids or solids, especially for cooking.

  • pot: a usually round container, such as a glass, pot, cup, bottle, etc. used especially for holdings liquids.

  • urn: a large vase with handles in which the ashed of a burnt dead body are kept.

  • 2.- Draw a picture of words 1 and 5 in the previous exercise:

    3. Identify two words in the next which fit the following definitions:

  • A sculpture that is carved out of a flat vertical surface: vase

  • An extreme emotional feeling of very great happiness: ectasy

  • 4. Read the instruction and say whether the following satetements are true or false, and give reasons in each case:

  • This urn appeared in various paintings. False, because this urn has only been created by Keats's imagination.

  • Keats was worried about the immobility of the marble. True, since he found the perfect correlative in marble for his concern with the longing for permanence in a world of changes.

  • Literary critics have arguments (quarrels, discussions) about the meaning of this poem. True, because the text says that the details developed in the poem about the duality of permanence us change are hostly disputed.

  • Give the referent (the antecedent) in the introduction to the expression "this concept":

  • The referent at "this concept" is the longing fot permanence in a world of change".

  • Give the referent in the introduction to the expression "these disputes":

  • "These disputes" refers to ' is "still" an adverb = "as yet" or an adjective = motionless" '.

    Translation into Spanish

    Oda a una urna griega

    Tú aún inviolada novia de la quietud,

    Tú hija adoptiva del silencio y del tiempo tardío,

    Historiadora selvática, que así puede expresar

    Una floral historia de un modo más dulce que nuestra rima;

    ¿ Qué leyenda orlada con flores ronda tu forma

    De dioses o mortales, o de ambos, En Tempe o en los valles de Arcadia?

    ¿ Qué hombres o dioses son éstos? ¿ Qué reacias doncellas?

    ¿ Qué loca persecución? ¿ Qué lucha por escapar?

    ¿ Qué flautas y tamboriles? ¿ Qué salvaje éxtasis?

    Las melodías escuchadas son dulces, pero aquellas no escuchadas

    Son más dulces; por tanto vosotras suaves flautas, seguid tocando;

    No al oído sensual, sino más querido,

    Tocad al espíritu cancionetas sin tono:

    Hermosa juventud; bajo los árboles, no puedes abandonar

    Tu canción, ni jamás pueden esos árboles estar desnudos;

    Valiente amante, nunca, nunca puedes besar;

    Aunque estando cerca de la meta aún, no aflijas;

    Ella no puede desaparecer, aunque no tengas tu felicidad,

    ¡ Para siempre tu amor, y ella hermosos serán!

    ¡ Ah, afortunadas, afortunadas ramas! que no os podéis despojar

    De vuestras hojas, ni jamás os podéis despedir de la primavera;

    Y, afortunado músico, infatigable,

    Para siempre tocando canciones, para siempre nuevos;

    ¡ Más feliz amor! ¡ Más feliz, feliz amor!

    Para siempre cálido y aún por disfrutar,

    Para siempre jadeante y para siempre joven:

    Todas las pasiones del ser humano que respira allá lejos,

    Que deja un corazón muy triste y hastiado,

    Una ardiente frente y una abrasadora lengua.

    ¿ Quiénes son estos que vienen al sacrificio?

    ¿ A qué verde altar, oh misterioso sacerdote,

    Llevas a esa vaquilla mugiendo a los cielos,

    Y todas sus sedosas caderas vestidas con guirnaldas?

    ¿ Qué pequeño pueblo cercano a la orilla del río o a la orilla del mar,

    O construido en la montaña con pacífica ciudadela,

    Se ha quedado sin su gente, esta piadosa mañana?

    Y pequeña ciudad, tus calles para siempre

    En silencio estarán, y ni un alma para contarle

    Por qué tu arte desolado, jamás puede volver.

    ¡ Oh forma ática! ¡ Hermosa actitud! con bordado

    Marmóleo de hombres y doncellas, forjadas

    Con ramas del bosque, y la mala hierba pisada;

    Tú, forma silenciosa, sí nos incitas fuera del pensamiento como hace la eternidad: ¡ Fría pastora!

    Cuando esta generación pueda malgastar vejez,

    Tú permanecerás, en medio de otra aflicción

    Que la nuestra, amiga para el hombre, a quien dirás,

    " La belleza es verdad, la verdad, belleza", eso es todo

    Lo que sabes en la Tierra, y todo lo que necesitas saber.

    MEANS EMPLOYED

    Choice of words:

    • VERBS:

    Can (canst/canst not) modal verb (6 times)

    To express transitive verb (1)

    To haunt intransitive verb (1)

    To be copulative verb (5)

    To scape intransitive verb (1)

    To play transitive verb (1)

    To pipe transitive verb (2)

    To leave transitive verb (1)

    To kiss transitive verb (1)

    To win transitive verb (1)

    To grieve transitive verb (1)

    To fade intransitive verb (1)

    To have (hast not) intransitive verb (1)

    To love transitive verb (1)

    To shed intransitive verb (1)

    To be adieu intransitive verb (1)

    To come intransitive verb (1)

    To lead transitive verb (1)

    To low intransitive verb (1)

    To enjoy transitive verb (1)

    To tell transitive verb (1)

    To return intransitive verb (1)

    To tease transitive verb (1)

    To waste transitive verb (1)

    To remain intransitive verb (1)

    To say transitive verb (1)

    To know transitive verb (1)

    To do ( doth=does) transitive verb (1)

    The most frequent tense used in verbs is the present simple, mainly with the second person form. It may be because Keats wanted to emphasize that this poem is timeless, there are events coursing at the same moment.

    • NOUNS:


    Bride

    Quietness

    Silence

    Foster-child

    Time

    Historian

    Fale

    Rhyme

    Legend

    Shape (2)

    Deities

    Mortals

    Tempe

    Dales

    Arcady

    Men (2)

    Gods

    Maidens

    Pursuit

    Struggle

    Pipes

    Timbrels

    Ectasy

    Melodies

    Ear

    Spirit

    Ditties

    Youth

    Trees (2)

    Song

    Lover

    Goal

    Bliss

    Boughs

    Leaves

    Spring

    Melodist

    Songs

    Love (2)

    Human

    Passions

    Heart

    Forehead

    Tongue

    Sacrifice

    Altar

    Priest

    Heifer

    Skies

    Flanks

    Garlans

    Town

    River

    Sea

    Shore

    Citadel

    Folk

    Morn

    Streets

    Soul

    Art

    Attitude

    Brede

    Forest

    Branches

    Weed

    Form

    Eternity

    Thought

    Pastoral

    Tone

    Age

    Generation

    Woe

    Friend

    Man

    Beauty

    Earth


    • PRONOUNS:

    Thou (9)

    Who (relative "sylvan historian")

    What (8)

    Both (refering to "deities" and "mortals")

    These (refering to "men" and "goods")

    Those (referring to "melodies")

    Ye (3)

    She (2)

    That (referring to "boughs)/(referring to "passions")

    Who

    Us

    Ours

    Whom

    That (referring "beauty...beauty-line 49)

    • ADJECTIVES:


    Unravished

    Slow

    Sylvan

    Flowery

    Leaf-fringed

    Loth

    Mad

    Sweet/sweeter

    Overwrought

    Heard

    Soft

    Sensual

    Fair (4)

    Bare

    Bold

    Happy (6)

    Unwearied

    Warm

    Trodden

    Unheard

    Young

    Breathing

    High.sorrowful

    Cloyed

    Burning

    Parching

    Green

    Mysterious

    Cold

    Silken

    Little (2)

    Peaceful

    Mountain-built

    Pious

    Silent (2)

    Attic

    Marble

    Old


    Adjectives can be grouped up in terms of objectivity or subjetivity. In this poem, most adjectives are subjective meaning, as we can count twenty-four adjectives with subjective meaning, so they come from the writer's point of view. We can, on the other hand, consider twelve objective adjectives, which are related to intrinsic qualities of the nouns, or measurable properties. We list the adjectives following this classification below:

    • Subjectives: unravished, slow, sylvan, loth, mad, wild, sweet, sweeter, soft, sensual, fair (used four times), unwearied, warm, young, high-sorrowful, cloyed, burning, parching, mysterious, silken, pious, cold, peaceful.

    • Objectives: flowerly, leaf-fringed, bare, breathing, green, little (used twice), mountain-built, silent (twice), Attic, marble, overwrought, trodder, old, heard, unheard.

    • ADVERBS:

    Still (2)

    Thus

    Sweetly

    Endeared

    Yet

    For ever (6)

    Ever (2)

    Far above

    For evermore

    As we can appreciate, there is a quantitative difference among each group of words. There are seventy-eight nouns, five of which are repeated; fourteen different pronouns; twenty-eight verbs, three repeating several times; thirty-eight adjectives, of which four are repeated; and only nine different adverbs.

    The most numerous group is the group of nouns, followed by adjectives and verbs. However, there are less adverbs, and they are mainly used to place the poem in time, not in a synchronic point, but in a diachronic plane, through the years.

    Most adjectives are related to the suggestion of "flowerly addorns" that create a bucolic atmosphere within the whole text in the poem.

    Nouns and verbs can be grouped in many different ways, but we will study them below, classified in lexical fields.

    We can find some lexical fields in the poem, such as:

    NATURE:

    Boughs

    Leaves

    Forest

    Branches

    Weed

    Trees

    Spring

    River

    Sea

    Shore

    Earth

    Skies

    Dales

    SPIRITUAL FEELINGS:

    Soul

    Heart

    Quietness

    Ecstasy

    Spirit

    Bliss

    Love

    Sacrifice

    Eternity

    Thought

    Beauty

    Kiss (verb)

    Love (verb)

    RELIGION:

    Dieties

    Mortals

    Gods

    Spirit

    Love

    Sacrifice

    Altar

    Priest

    Skies

    Soul

    Eternity

    MUSIC:

    Pipes

    Timbrels

    Melodies

    Ear

    Ditties

    Song

    Melodist

    Songs

    Piping

    Tone

    PERSONS:

    Men

    Man

    Human

    Folk

    Priest

    Mortals

    Citadel

    Bride

    Maidens

    Foster-child

    Lover

    Pastoral

    Friend

    ART:

    Rhyme

    Art

    Historian

    Tale

    Legend

    B) MEANS EMPLOYED

    Choice of verbs

    Sounds of words and literary figures

    In this ode, Keats uses some resources in order to intensify the meaning of some words. For example, we can appreciate many repetitions:

    • Parallelism

    The repetition of a same structure within a same verse and in different verses is produced, in example:

    What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?

    What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?

    What pipes and timbrels? What wild ectasy?

    There is a same structure per verse (two “wh-questions”) and a same structure (“wh-question”) repeated in each verse.

    Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness

    Thou foster-child of silence and slow time

    Again, a same structure (a vocative), made up by a head and a modifier is repeated in two verses.

    Ah happy, happy boughs! That cannot shed

    And, happy melodist, unwearied

    This example shows us another vocative structure (qualifier + head + modifier), whis is repeated.

    For ever piping songs for ever new

    For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd

    For ever panting, and for ever young

    These verses present the structure “adjunct + qualifier + head + modifier”. The head of these structure is always songs and the adjunct for ever is repeated (it appears twice in the first and third examples and once in the second one).

    - Apostrophe

    This figure is used very often along the poem. We could even dare to say that the whole poem is an apostrophe, because Keats is talking to an urn, so he is continuously using the vocative. Nevertheless, we can see more examples of apostrophes, as some of the following:

    • Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness

    • Thou foster-child of silence and slow time

    • Sylvan historian, who canst thus express

    • Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave

    • Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed

    • Ah, happy melodist, unwearied

    • O mysterious priest

    • O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede

    • Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought

    • Cold Pastoral!

    • Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe.

    - Anaphor

    We can see this figure at the beginning of some verses starting the same way, as we see the two first examples of parallelism and in the last one.

    - Epizeuxis

    This figure is presented in several examples in which the meaning of some words is emphasized by the repetition of them, for instance:

    Bold lover, never,never canst thou kiss

    Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed

    More happy love! More happy, happy love!

    Regarding to literary figures related to sound, we find no samples of figures that suggest, intensify or imitate what the writer means. The same way, there are no samples of figures related to the impression created in readers by sounds.

    II) INTERPRETATION OF THE TEXT

    The poem Ode on a Grecian Urn follows the romantic ideals, which can be appreciated in the search of human and heroic images, as well as in the divine and extraordinary resources.

    The writer looks for freedom to express those things what are in his mind. This fact makes him to use the metaphor, because eternity, which seems to be perfect for Keats, only can be expressed by means of art, because art is the only means to express atemporality.

    Youth, as one of beauty forms, is linked to Literature, since there is also a search of intrepid spirits, that must shine, instead of being studied in depth.

    In our view, beauty is the most important thing for the poet. The last lines of the are a conclusion that sum up all the poet means in the lines before. For him, the biggest truth is beauty.

    This beauty is opposed to time, that damages everything. Keats loves the eternal, what cannot be damaged by time.

    We think the urn represents perfection, beauty, truth, and, of course, eternity. The poet praises everything that is not affected by time, because time means a loss of beauty, it spoils everything, and everything finally dies because of time.

    Within this urn a dichotomy is presented. It is that of the duality between the life in the urn and the immutability of the urn. The urn represents an object by which time never passes and it is because of this that the urn is always beautiful, young and eternal, so it is exalted.

    In our opinion, the poet prefers the spiritual part to the sensorial one, as we can see in the opposition of some words, for example unheard songs are preferred to the heard ones; he prefers music to be piped to the spirit, not to the sensual ear, and the songs of no tone; he also mentions an unravished bride of quietness, which could support what we have said as well.

    This leads us to think the poet prefers the absence of contact, which is consumption, and consumption involves weakening, because time is consumption.

    In the poem, we think there is a concern about persons, since the poet uses a big lexical field referred to people, for instance, priest, maidens, men, folk, melodist, bride, etc. This concern could have some relation to the fleetingness of human life, that is opposed to eternity.

    Nevertheless, these human beings are not movable ones, they are not parts of a live scenario, but motionless beings, that are trapped in the urn, having to suffer that immobility because of their eternal condition.

    From the analyses we made before, we can conclude in several points:

    • There is a big amount of words that reflect a bucolic image of the urn. The ode is a pastoral evocation of human world. They are words related to nature, music and arts, as we mentioned in the distinction of the lexical fields.

    • The author makes use of many tactile and visual textures in order to express his own ideas by means of images (silken, marble, shape…). This is, in our view, related to beauty too.

    • Duality is expressed along the poem by the opposition of terms such as heard/unheard, young/old, etc.

    • There is a religious worry, which is expressed by a wide lexical related to the spiritual world, as well as the explanation of a religious ritual.

    • The use of adjectives is very important, because these move the poet's mental world to the poem, since the meaning of the adjectives is not intrinsic in the meaning of the nouns they are accompanying.

    In conclusion, we can say the whole poem is a metaphor, because we think the urn is seen as a metaphor of eternity, and because of this fact, it can be explained the lack of metaphors within the text.