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The Keatsian or English Ode


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The Ode 
English Verse

The Keatsian or English Ode is a stanzaic form which appears to be the result of John Keats' experimentation with the sonnet. It reflects a merging of the Sicilian quatrain and Italian sestet from the same-named sonnets. In theme, purpose, and sincerity it follows that of all Odes.

The Keatsian Ode differs from the Horatian Ode in that its structure of line and stanza is a set pattern of meter, rhyme, and length, while the Horatian Ode's is "nonce" stanzaic, the structure patterned is at the discretion of the poet.

The elements of the Keatsian or English Ode are:

  1. metered, accentual-syllabic verse, primarily in iambic pentameter.  In exception, Ode to a Nightingale written with L8 of each stanza in trimeter.
  2. stanzaic, composed in 10 line stanzas. Usually written with between 3 and 8 stanzas.
  3. rhymed. This strict version of the ode stanza combines a Sicilian quatrain (rhyme abab) with the Italian sestet (rhyme cdecde).
  4. tranquil or contemplative.
    Ode on Melancholy
    No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist
           Wolf's-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
    Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kiss'd
           By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine;
                   Make not your rosary of yew-berries,
           Nor let the beetle, nor the death-moth be
                   Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl
    A partner in your sorrow's mysteries;
           For shade to shade will come too drowsily,
                   And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.
    But when the melancholy fit shall fall
           Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
    That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,
           And hides the green hill in an April shroud;
    Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,
           Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,
                   Or on the wealth of globed peonies;
    Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows,
           Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave,
                   And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.
    She dwells with Beauty—Beauty that must die;
           And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips
    Bidding adieu; and aching Pleasure nigh,
           Turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips:
    Ay, in the very temple of Delight
           Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
                   Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
           Can burst Joy's grape against his palate fine;
    His soul shalt taste the sadness of her might,
                   And be among her cloudy trophies hung.
                                        ~~ John Keats English Poet, 1785-1821

    Ode to Poet John Keats  (1795 - 1821)
                        " Beauty is truth, truth beauty,' -- that is all
                            Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know"*

    Too soon a young and gifted poet died
             but left behind his love for symmetry.
    His sonnet, ode and classic epic cried
             with vivid color, tone,  in harmony.
    Appealing to our senses, sight, and sound
             an ancient Grecian Urn he paints in Ode,
                    a Cricket's song in English Sonnet frame.
    A Nightingale in measured verse is crowned
              and through his Melancholy he bestowed
                     to us a truth in beauty to proclaim.
                                               ~~~Judi Van Gorder 
    *from Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats













    The Ode

    Odes named for poet or culture of their origin:

    Thematic Odes:

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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