The writer I have chosen to speak about is the romanticist John Keats. I chose this particular poet as I believe his ideas are the best expressed of the composers we have studied. I have looked at “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” “Ode on Melancholy” and “Ode to Autumn” and I think some important comparisons can be drawn from them. Each poem has been chosen because I think that the ideas conveyed in them are among the more significant in Keats’s works.
“Ode on a Grecian Urn” discuses the idea of immortality in a picture, and how if a moment is captured on an urn then does it exist always? It seems the theme of this poem came from a phrase of Leonardo DiVinci: “Cosa bella mortal passa e non d’arte.” Translated, this means mortal beauties pass away, but not those of art. “Ah, happy, happy boughs! That cannot shed your leaves, nor ever bid the spring adieu.” Keats uses personification in this example to make the tree branches seem like they are happy and enjoying the situation. In the third stanza the word “forever” is repeated: “And, happy melodist, unwearied. Forever piping songs forever new. More happy love, more happy, happy love. Forever warm and still to be enjoyed. Forever panting, and forever young.” This repitition is done to draw attention to the word forever which makes the reader appreciate the true meaning of the poem, which is the debate over immortality and death and what immortality means.
The second poem I have studied is “Ode on Melancholy.” The idea behind this poem is that with any intense feeling of joy and happiness, a sad and melancholy feeling must accompany it. Or to simplify this, what goes up must come down. This poem is an escape from the inevitable pain as to expect a light not to cast shadows. Keats uses personification in this poem. “Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud.” And, “Veiled melancholy has her sovran shrine.” These two examples use personification to exaggerate the feelings being expressed and to help explain Keat’s thoughts. To help explain joys and melancholy’s interactions Keats personifies joy to be a male and melancholy to be female. This helps the reader understand how joy and melancholy are contributing factors to each other.
The third and final poem I have studied is “Ode to Autumn.” This poem seems to be closely linked with Ode on Melancholy and could even be a retelling of an experience of that type. Ode to Autumn is a very objective and descriptive poem. There is no conflict or questions posed like most of Keats poetry. It describes the season cycle and how Autumn is the most beautiful season. I think that the stanzas may also represent time of day. The first stanza represents morning, the second evening and the final represents night. There is a use of illiteration in the phrase, “Winnowing wind.” Also onomatopoeia is used in the second stanza, “Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.”
An example of later romantisism I have found is a song lyric written by a band called Hed P.E. The song is titled Jesus of Nazareth. I believe that this is classified as romantisism as it is about a mans dealings with his faith. The lyric is based on the man fighting his addictions (“I just don’t know when to quit”) and turning for help. Most of the lyrics are about him calling out to God for help and to “make everything alright.” He is unsure what to do and doesn’t know where to turn. “I’m afraid of the crucifix hanging on my wall,” signifies his doubts of religion and where to turn.
Another example of modern romantisism is also a lyric by Hed P.E. This song is titled “The Meadow.” This song is classified as romantisism as it delves into a spiritual place that is visited to escape reality. “The Meadow,” is a place that you go to get away from troubles and talk to god.
In all of Keats’s poems there is a generally aesthetic view of the world. His odes delve into beauty and joy with a full realisation of beauty and the pain that its disappearance will bring. The odes come to no conclusion and make no synthesis therefore can hardly be labeled as philosophical poems. Many of Keats odes can be connected in some way and some even carry on from another one. I think that Keats is a valued writer because his poetry can be related to, it gives people insights into common feelings and thoughts. John Keats is classified a romanticist because his poems are based on nature, the human soul and the human mind. He makes references to god and religion.