The physical object in John Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn" written in 1819 is the Greek vase or urn. The voice of the speaker in this ode is extenuated as he unifies himself to the urn to indicate the idea of eternity. The tone of the ode starts out to be light and flowery with image ries of the supernatural. However, when looking into the deeper meaning, the tone is actually quite morbid. During this time, Keats's health was failing. The idea of death is reflected in this work.
He discusses the urn's immortality and the images on the urn frozen in a state of perfection. Knowing that he can never have this immortality, Keats seems to be longing for this power. This ode has two separate levels. There is a level of superficial happiness and joy presented by the human figures carved into the side of the urn who do not have to confront the ideas of aging and death. However, it is in this happiness and joy that acts as the facade for the deeper level of death and morbidity. This parallels Keats's own situation with the death of his brother in 1818 and his love for Fanny Brawn e.
The personal emotions of Keats fuse with the urn through its imagines. He illustrates that nature unlike art is not timeless, and can never be. He compares the urn to an "unravish'd bride of stillness" (Keats, 1) which potentially symbolize his inability to consummate his love. The ode's deeper meaning is death. The urn is an artificial piece of art that is timeless, and the only idea it needs to know is of beauty. It is a replication of perfection, and Keats hopes this message will be passed to future generations.
It is in the second stanza that the images of eternity and sorrow are displayed through the odes on the urn. Keats's ode follows a regular stanza pattern and rhyme scheme. This creates a pattern and continues the argument from one stanza to the next. Each of the five stanzas in "Ode on a Grecian Urn" is ten lines long. They are metered in an iambic pentameter. The first seven lines of each stanza follow the rhyme scheme of AB ABCDE.
The last three lines vary. In the second stanza, the last three lines follow CED. It is also in the first and last stanza that the last three lines follow DCE which bring a sense of conclusion in the ode. In the second stanza, Keats observes the piper playing to his love beneath the trees. He images the music being played in this scenery because music that is heard is never as ideal and perfect. In the beginning of the second stanza, it says, "Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard/Are sweeter" (Keats 11-12).
As all actions are frozen in time, the image of the piper about to kiss the maiden also indicates the positive side of art. The anticipating kiss is better than the reality. Therefore, art can be perfect and unchangeable. "Bold Lovers, never, never canst thou kiss/... yet do not grieve; /She cannot fade" (Keats, 18-20). Even though art seems positive, negativity is used to reveal the art's timelessness.
For example, "Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave/... nor ever can those trees be bare" (Keats, 16-17). The second stanza reflects the difference between the artificial and the natural. Art is of beauty and it represents eternity, the natural world changes and dies and repeats the cycle over and over again. By the repetition of negative words, Keats reveals the deeper and morbid level of the poem and that is death which is the opposite of eternity. Keats's message in the second stanza is that art lives outside the sense of time.
As the lovers will never kiss, his lover, Fanny and he will also never consummate their love either. The ode illustrates that art is not natural, but artificial.