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Ode on a Grecian Urn

Ode on a Grecian Urn


by John Keats

The Second Scene: A Young Musician

Symbol Analysis

The speaker and the beautiful young musician have a lot in common. They are both solitary artists trying to produce melodic lines. Their music is directed not at the ears but to the inner "spirit." But the musician has a leg up on the speaker: his songs are always as fresh as the first time they were played.

  • Line 11: The idea that a "melodies [. . .] unheard are sweeter" is a paradox. The melodies are heard by the "spirit" and not by the ears.
  • Line 12: Apostrophe. He tells "ye soft pipes" to "play on," as if the pipes could hear him.
  • Line 14: "Ditties of no tone" is another paradox, because it’s hard to imagine a song that has no notes.
  • Line 15-16: Apostrophe, this time in the address to the "youth." There is also parallelism in the structure of the phrase, "thou canst not leave they song, nor ever can those trees be bare."

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