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

  • Sasikala KamandulaSasikala Kamandula (5/4/2020 6:46:00 AM)

    Heard melodies are sweet
    But unheard melodies are sweeter! !(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Sasikala Kamandula (2/7/2020 6:48:00 PM)

    My student presented this poem in paint on a clay urn in the English workshop at nalanda, Vijayawada. That is the greatest trybute and crown to me. I fly worthy of my teaching post. His name is, I remember, Sai, CBSE,2005, probably.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Mamunur Rahman KayesMamunur Rahman Kayes (11/5/2019 3:27:00 AM)

    I just read these verse and read.Amazing totally amazing(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Parameswaran Nair Damodaran NairParameswaran Nair Damodaran Nair (1/12/2019 7:06:00 AM)

    Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard Are sweeter. A herd of sweeter melodies were to dart from him, but destiny decided otherwise(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Prabir GayenPrabir Gayen (12/17/2018 4:37:00 AM)

    Timeless fragrance.............(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Prabir GayenPrabir Gayen (12/17/2018 4:35:00 AM)

    Lovely poem of timeless beauty of art...(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Alexander RajuAlexander Raju (10/25/2018 4:29:00 PM)

    Philosophy of truth Alexander Raju(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Jamal (7/29/2018 10:17:00 AM)

    Heard melodies are sweet ,those unheard Are sweeter .(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Britte NinadBritte Ninad (5/30/2018 10:47:00 PM)

    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,
    ....

    Beauty is truth, truth beauty, - that is all
    Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    1 person did not like.
  • Bailey Robison (3/23/2018 9:40:00 AM)

    This poem is descent but i can do a way better poem than this. Like 10x better than this.(Report)Reply

    Sucks(4/20/2018 12:09:00 PM)

    Sucksssssssd

    0 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Abhimanyu Kumar.sAbhimanyu Kumar.s (11/24/2017 8:41:00 PM)

    Beauty is truth, truth beauty..(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Rishabh Mishra AmoristRishabh Mishra Amorist (10/4/2017 1:28:00 PM)

    Such a beautiful work by John Keats, he had merged life into the dead Grecian Urn, when you read it feels like you're experiencing the very sense of being into the time. Awesome poet! !(Report)Reply

    0 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Dr.subhendu KarDr.subhendu Kar (7/31/2017 4:42:00 PM)

    O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
    Of marble men and maidens overwrought, wonderful write!(Report)Reply

    1 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Douglas Scotney (2/16/2015 11:59:00 PM)

    Eternity's got nothing on form(Report)Reply

    4 person liked.
    7 person did not like.
  • 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

    6 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • 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

    6 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • Godfrey MorrisGodfrey Morris (2/16/2015 8:49:00 PM)

    Lovely poem such great powerful lines(Report)Reply

    3 person liked.
    4 person did not like.
  • Aftab Alam KhursheedAftab 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

    4 person liked.
    2 person did not like.
  • Aftab Alam KhursheedAftab 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

    3 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
  • Kim BarneyKim Barney (2/16/2015 5:22:00 AM)

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

    6 person liked.
    3 person did not like.
Read all 27 comments »




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



[Report Error]