Skip to main content
  1. Arts & Entertainment
  2. Books

Ode on a Grecian Urn - John Keats

See also

"Ode on a Grecian Urn"
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."

Advertisement

Arts & Entertainment

  • Iggy Azalea
    Iggy Azalea shakes things up at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
    Headlines
  • Bachelorette
    Andi Dorfman chose a man on 'The Bachelorette', but did he pop the question?
    Video
    TV Buzz
  • Jennifer Lopez
    Watch J.Lo transform from Fly Girl to one of the world's hottest women
    Camera
    18 Photos
  • Child stars
    You won't believe what some of these former child stars look like all grown up
    Camera
    26 Photos
  • Celebrity tattoos
    We're not sure what some of these stars were thinking when they got inked
    Camera
    23 Photos
  • Freddie Prinze Jr
    Freddie Prinze Jr. made jaws drop with some shocking admissions about Keifer Sutherland
    Video
    Pop Culture

Related Videos: