John Keats

(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821 / London, England)

Ode On A Grecian Urn - Poem by 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-fring'd legend haunts about thy shape
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?

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
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!

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!
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.

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,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of this 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.

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!
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."

Form: Ode


Comments about Ode On A Grecian Urn by John Keats

  • Gold Star - 8,890 Points Douglas Scotney (2/16/2015 11:59:00 PM)

    Eternity's got nothing on form (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Silver Star - 3,227 Points Luis Estable (2/16/2015 10:05:00 PM)

    This is a beautiful and powerful poem with many poetic words. I think that it starts powerfully and ends so, too.

    Here the poet has done a marvelous job at diction and poetic creativity. A great poem indeed! I read it thrice

    I have read John Keats many times, and to me he is of of the master of the English language of any language for that matter.

    Read this splindit poem, reader of this site. You will enjoy its beauty and power.

    Luis Estable (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 33,343 Points Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (2/16/2015 9:39:00 PM)

    Beauty is truth and truth beauty the great sayings of great English poet who passed away in his 26th year of age. He had actually having the knowledge of human suffering and woes of human life in family and surroundings of that period which came to read in his Biography. In fact he is the foremost poet of that time whose contribution of poetry is great and his name is not to be written in water but to be carved in golden letters among the poets and a very good poem and I likes the poet very much with tributes. (Report) Reply

  • Silver Star - 3,481 Points Godfrey Morris (2/16/2015 8:49:00 PM)

    Lovely poem such great powerful lines (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 39,822 Points Aftab Alam Khursheed (2/16/2015 8:07:00 AM)

    John Keats the master of Ode - This is one of the among and last but one line is so famous- Beauty is truth, truth beauty, - that is all in this poem he talked about the eternity where as beauty is having fleeting tendency like coin in which molded the pic of queens and her beauty so nice my best poet (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 39,822 Points Aftab Alam Khursheed (2/16/2015 8:07:00 AM)

    John Keats the master of Ode - This is one of the among and last but one line is so famous- Beauty is truth, truth beauty, - that is all in this poem he talked about the eternity where as beauty is having fleeting tendency like coin in which molded the pic of queens and her beauty so nice my best poet (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 22,472 Points Kim Barney (2/16/2015 5:22:00 AM)

    I've often wondered:
    How much does a Grecian urn, anyway? (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Jane Zhu (6/5/2012 7:02:00 AM)

    A personal favourite though brings a hint of sadness to me, the urn lovers though immortal- young and in love, they can never be in reach of another as the distance seems never to get any closer. Everything is frozen yet... Seemingly everything is very much alive~ maybe not to the human eye.. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Roisin Murphy (5/23/2012 6:01:00 PM)

    What a great man. Endless quotes to remember from him.
    This poem has one of my personal favourites...
    Beauty is truth, truth beauty, -that is all
    Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know. (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 1,327 Points Saadat Tahir (1/17/2012 4:04:00 PM)

    amazing
    they arent called the masters for nothing

    striking lines. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Olayinka Oregbemi (12/29/2011 6:09:00 AM)

    One of those timeless poems that never fades..love it (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Danny Archer (12/20/2008 9:50:00 AM)

    there's no better poem about exploratiuon of your imagination. keats presents negative capability beautifully here... best poem (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Rich Hanson (1/22/2006 10:54:00 AM)

    One of the poems on my 'personal favorites' list. (Report) Reply

Read all 13 comments »




Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Read poems about / on: happy, truth, beauty, passion, river, kiss, silence, spring, ode, child, song, friend, green, sea, tree, sky, children



Poem Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002



[Hata Bildir]