PG TRB – John Keats’s Ode on a Grecian Urn

PG TRB (English) Coaching Class starts on 14.04.2019

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PG TRB EXAM

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for the post of

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Website: www.akshiraa.com

www.akshiraa.blogspot.com

Email: akshiraa@gmail.com

 

Contact: 9487976999

VENUE: The Little Flower Hr.Sec.School,

Four Roads,

Salem – 636 006.

John Keats’s Ode on a Grecian Urn

Life

English Romantic poet John Keats was born on October 31, 1795, in London. The oldest of four children, he lost both his parents at a young age. His father, a livery-stable keeper, died when Keats was eight; his mother died of tuberculosis six years later. After his mother’s death, Keats’s maternal grandmother appointed two London merchants, Richard Abbey and John Rowland Sandell, as guardians. Abbey, a prosperous tea broker, assumed the bulk of this responsibility, while Sandell played only a minor role. When Keats was fifteen, Abbey withdrew him from the Clarke School, Enfield, to apprentice with an apothecary-surgeon and study medicine in a London hospital. In 1816 Keats became a licensed apothecary, but he never practiced his profession, deciding instead to write poetry.

Around this time, Keats met Leigh Hunt, an influential editor of the Examiner, who published his sonnets “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer” and “O Solitude.” Hunt also introduced Keats to a circle of literary men, including the poets Percy Bysshe Shelley and William Wordsworth. The group’s influence enabled Keats to see his first volume, Poems by John Keats, published in 1817. Shelley, who was fond of Keats, had advised him to develop a more substantial body of work before publishing it. Keats, who was not as fond of Shelley, did not follow his advice. Endymion, a four-thousand-line erotic/allegorical romance based on the Greek myth of the same name, appeared the following year. Two of the most influential critical magazines of the time, the Quarterly Review and Blackwood’s Magazine, attacked the collection. Calling the romantic verse of Hunt’s literary circle “the Cockney school of poetry,” Blackwood’s declared Endymion to be nonsense and recommended that Keats give up poetry. Shelley, who privately disliked Endymion but recognized Keats’s genius, wrote a more favorable review, but it was never published. Shelley also exaggerated the effect that the criticism had on Keats, attributing his declining health over the following years to a spirit broken by the negative reviews.

Keats spent the summer of 1818 on a walking tour in Northern England and Scotland, returning home to care for his brother, Tom, who suffered from tuberculosis. While nursing his brother, Keats met and fell in love with a woman named Fanny Brawne. Writing some of his finest poetry between 1818 and 1819, Keats mainly worked on “Hyperion,” a Miltonic blank-verse epic of the Greek creation myth. He stopped writing “Hyperion” upon the death of his brother, after completing only a small portion, but in late 1819 he returned to the piece and rewrote it as “The Fall of Hyperion” (unpublished until 1856). That same autumn Keats contracted tuberculosis, and by the following February he felt that death was already upon him, referring to the present as his “posthumous existence.”

In July 1820, he published his third and best volume of poetry, Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems. The three title poems, dealing with mythical and legendary themes of ancient, medieval, and Renaissance times, are rich in imagery and phrasing. The volume also contains the unfinished “Hyperion,” and three poems considered among the finest in the English language, “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” “Ode on Melancholy,” and “Ode to a Nightingale.” The book received enthusiastic praise from Hunt, Shelley, Charles Lamb, and others, and in August, Frances Jeffrey, influential editor of the Edinburgh Review, wrote a review praising both the new book and Endymion.

The fragment “Hyperion” was considered by Keats’s contemporaries to be his greatest achievement, but by that time he had reached an advanced stage of his disease and was too ill to be encouraged. He continued a correspondence with Fanny Brawne and—when he could no longer bear to write to her directly—her mother, but his failing health and his literary ambitions prevented their getting married. Under his doctor’s orders to seek a warm climate for the winter, Keats went to Rome with his friend, the painter Joseph Severn. He died there on February 23, 1821, at the age of twenty-five, and was buried in the Protestant cemetery.

Selected Bibliography

Poetry

The Poems of John Keats (1978), The Poems of John Keats (1970), The Poems of John Keats (1970), Collections: The Poetical Works of Coleridge, Shelley, and Keats (1831), Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems (1820), Endymion: A Poetic Romance (1818)

Poems (1817)

Prose

Letters of John Keats: A New Selection (1970), The Letters of John Keats (1958), Life, Letters, and Literary Remains of John Keats (1848)

Drama

Otho The Great: A Dramatic Fragment (1819), King Stephen: A Dramatic Fragment (1819)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ode on a Grecian Urn

Text

  • 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.”

 

Summary:

Stanza 1:                              

  • The Grecian urn is still unravished bride of quietness; it is wedded to quietness.
  • It is the foster child of silence and slow time; it is a sylvan historian who expresses a flowery tale more sweetly than the poem.
  • The poet asks a series of questions such as ………
  • What is the legend or story of carved leaves on the urn?
  • Is it a story about Gods or human beings or both?
  • Does the story take place in Tempe or in the valley of Arcady?
  • Are they men or gods?
  • Why do the maiden pretend to be spurning their lovers?
  • Why are the men madly pursuing the women?
  • Why do women struggle to escape?
  • What do pipes and timbrels signify?
  • What is the cause for wild ecstasy?

Stanza 2:

  • Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter.
  • The poet asks musicians to play the soft pipes.
  • The unheard music no particulars tone and it appeals to the spirit rather than to the bodily ear.
  • The poet turns to the fair youth who plays pipes under the tree.
  • He will never stop his song.
  • The trees never shed their leaves.
  • The poet turns to the bold lover who tries to kiss his beloved.
  • Though he seems very near to her, he can never kiss her.
  • He need not be unhappy because she cannot fade
  • He will always love her and she will be fair forever.
  • The imagined world on the vase is superior to the real world of experience.

Stanza 3:

  • The boughs of the trees are happy because they will never shed their leaves; they will enjoy permanent spring.
  • The happy melodist will never get tired; he will play forever fresh and new songs.
  • The lover is more happy because their love is always warm
  • Their love will forever remain young and passionate to be enjoyed.
  • It is different from human love in the living world.
  • Human love leads to a heart high sorrowful and cloyed.

Stanza 4:

  • The poet asks, who are the people coming to the sacrifice?
  • A mysterious priest leads a heifer to the sacrifice on some green alter.
  • The heifer looks up and lowing to the sky.
  • Has soft sides are decorated with garlands.
  • The poet asks whether the little town is situated by a river as on a sea shore or on a mountain with fort.
  • Its streets are empty, it will be forever silent.
  • None of the citizens will ever return to explain why the town is empty and desolate.

Stanza 5:

  • The poet addresses urn as attic shape, fair attitude.
  • It has the pictures of men and maidens forest trees, the trodden weeds.
  • It perplexes the human mind as eternity does itself.
  • When the present generation has died out, the urn will live in the midst of future generation.
  • The poet sees the urn as a friend to humanity; It will try to lessen their sufferings by its friendly message ‘Beauty is truth, Truth is beauty”
  • This principle is alone sufficient for man during his earthly existence.

4.3 Ode on a Grecian Urn

  • ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ is _________ (PT – 2006)
  1. a lyrical description of an urn
  2. about the loss of love
  3. about the inevitability of death
  4. the eternal quality of art

 

  • Who is John Keats’s ‘Sylvan Historian’? (Engg – 2016)
  1. The Grecian Urn
  2. Fanny Browne
  3. The Bridge of Quietness
  4. The Nightingale

 

  • What is the prediction made by the poet for the Grecian Urn?
  1. It will remain unchanged, as generations pass in the living world
  2. It will gather dust, neglected in a museum
  3. It will break and be forgetten
  4. It will inspire poets of the future to write poetry about it

 

  • In ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ Keats asks the lover not to feel sad at his inability to kiss the girl because _______ (DIET – 2009)
  1. he will go near her soon
  2. she will come near him soon
  3. she will never grow old
  4. she will grow old soon

 

  • What animal is to be sacrificed in the poem ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’?
  1. Pig
  2. heifer
  3. Lamb
  4. Tadpole
  • The speaker praises that the “unheard melodies are sweeter” because _________
  1. He has tasted the melodies before
  2. Melodies unheard are more meaningful to the spirit
  3. The urn sings to his soul
  4. He gets solace from those melodies
  • What does the author feel towards the urn?
  1. The author praises each scene depicted on the urn happily
  2. The author is mournful that the urn is so plain
  3. The author is sad that the events in the urn aren’t going anywhere at all
  4. The author does not appreciate the beauty of the urn
  • Why does the speaker praise the urn’s immortality so much?
  1. He does not like some scenes pictured on the urn
  2. He praises the urn because it is so unique
  3. He praises it because it has everlasting beauty
  4. He praises it because it reminds him of his own life
  • Why does the speaker go from a jubilant and ecstatic tone to one of mourning and despair?
  1. He is unhappy with the damage on different parts of the urn
  2. He does not approve of the image on the urns
  3. He is bi-polar
  4. He is looking at different scenes on the urn

 

  • What does citadel mean in the context of the poem?
  1. Fortress occupied by soldiers
  2. A wooden podium
  3. Coarse dirt
  4. The city the urn depicts
  • What does the speaker refer the urn to?
  1. “An unravished bride of quietness”
  2. “leaf-fring’d legend haunts”
  3. “sylvan author”
  4. “bold lover”
  • What literary device is this? “What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?”
  1. Alliteration
  2. Irony
  3. Paradox
  4. Oxymoron

 

  • What is the technique used in the poem ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’?
  1. Carpe diem
  2. Ekphrasis
  3. Enjambment
  4. Ambiguity

 

  • The poem ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ was composed in _________
  1. 1816
  2. 1817
  3. 1819
  4. 1821
  • John Keats’s ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ is a __________ ode.
  1. Horatian
  2. Lesbian
  3. Pindaric
  4. Irregular
  • Complete the following line: “Who are these coming to the sacrifice? / To what green altar, __________”.
  1. lowing at the skies
  2. O mysterious priest
  3. garlands drest?
  4. pious morn?

 

  • Who says, “Beauty is truth, Truth beauty”?
  1. Wordsworth
  2. Southey
  3. Shelley
  4. Keats

 

  • “All breathing human passion far above, / That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy’d”. These lines occur in ________
  1. Ode on a Grecian Urn
  2. Ode to a Nightingale
  3. Ode to Psyche
  4. To Autumn
  • The poet asks a series of questions in the poem. Which is not true?
  1. What are the temples or beautiful trees on the urn?
  2. Does the story take place in Tempe or in the valley of Arcady?
  3. Why are the men madly pursuing the women?
  4. What is the cause for wild ecstasy?

 

  • The boughs of the trees are happy because they will enjoy permanent _________
  1. summer
  2. autumn
  3. spring
  4. winter

PG TRB (English) Coaching Class starts on 14.04.2019

AKSHIIRAA COACHING CENTRE

PG TRB EXAM

(English only)

for the post of

Post Graduate Assistants

 

SALIENT FEATURES

  • Well Trained Professors
  • Excellent Coaching
  • Unit wise Materials
  • Model Exams
  • All Previous TRB Questions

Website: www.akshiraa.com

www.akshiraa.blogspot.com

Email: akshiraa@gmail.com

 

Contact: 9487976999

VENUE: The Little Flower Hr.Sec.School,

Four Roads,

Salem – 636 006.

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