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ODE ON A GRECIAN URN

by John Keats

 

I. -

Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness

Thou foster-child of silence and slow time

Sylvan historianwho canst thus express

A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:

What leaf-fring'd legend haunts about thy shape

Of deities or mortalsor 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? -

II. -

Heard melodies are sweetbut those unheard

Are sweeter; thereforeye soft pipesplay on;

Not to the sensual earbutmore endear'd

Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:

Fair youthbeneath the treesthou canst not leave

Thy songnor ever can those trees be bare;

Bold Lovernevernever canst thou kiss

Though winning near the goal- yetdo not grieve;

She cannot fadethough thou hast not thy bliss

For ever wilt thou loveand she be fair! -

III. -

Ahhappyhappy boughs! that cannot shed

Your leavesnor ever bid the Spring adieu;

Andhappy melodistunwearied

For ever piping songs for ever new;

More happy love! more happyhappy love!

For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd

For ever pantingand for ever young;

All breathing human passion far above

That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd

A burning foreheadand a parching tongue. -

IV. -

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?

To what green altarO 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 folkthis pious morn?

Andlittle townthy streets for evermore

Will silent be; and not a soul to tell

Why thou art desolatecan e'er return. -

V. -

O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede

Of marble men and maidens overwrought

With forest branches and the trodden weed;

Thousilent formdost tease us out of thought

As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!

When old age shall this generation waste

Thou shalt remainin midst of other woe

Than oursa friend to manto whom thou say'st

"Beauty is truthtruth beauty- that is all

Ye know on earthand all ye need to know." - -

THE END