Ode to a Nightingale In Ode to a Nightingale, John Keats, the author and narrator, used descriptterminology to express the deep-rooted pain he was suffering during his battlewith tuberculosis. This poem has eight paragraphs or verses of ten lines eachand doesn’t follow any specific rhyme scheme. In the first paragraph, Keats gaveaway the mood of the whole poem with his metaphors for his emotional andphysical sufferings, for example: My heart aches, and drowsy numbness painsMy sense (1-2) Keats then went on to explain to the reader that he was speakingto the “light-winged Dryad” in the poem.
This bird symbolizes a Nightingale that to many, depicts the happinessand vibrance of life with the way it seems to gracefully hover over brightlycolored flowers to get nectar but, to Keats death, because his was becoming.
“Shadows numberless” at the end of the paragraph signifies the angel of deathand spirits that had surrounded Keats. Keats vividly and beautifully describedwine: for a beaker full of the warm South With beaded bubbles winking atthe brim, And purple stained mouth; That I might drink, and leave the he usedto bury his fears and emotions about death. In verse three, Keats expressed that most people enjoy a full life and dieold, when he pens: Here, men sit and hear each other groan; last gray hairs,Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies (24-26) He felt that youthwas a time in one’s life to enjoy. According to him, being rich, popular, beautiful, funny and smart didn’tmatter because the angel of death was blind. Keats was afraid of death becauseof the loved one’s he had to leave behind. He expresses that with the phrase:And with thee fade away into the forest dim (20) Keats explained that he hadwanted to wander off into the forest so no one would’ve had to be bothered byhim. In paragraph four, Keats had spoken to the Nightingale and told it togo off and leave him alone because he already had known that death wascoming and didn’t want to be reminded of his sad fate. Keats went on to say: Icannot see what flowers are at my feet, Nor what soft incense hangs upon theboughs, But, in embalmed darkness (41-43) This meant he didn’t know whatwas about to happen, only that he was going to die. He then illustrated all thecreatures and things that would live long past him; The grass, the thicket, andthe fruit-tree wild (45) In paragraph six, Keats had listened to the “Darkling” or Nightingalesinging and this had reminded him of how at one time in his life he questioneddeath and was even infatuated by it because death was an unknown universewhen he composed: for many a time I have been half in love with easefulDeath, Call’d him soft names (51-53) But quickly after he had recalled thatmemory he stated: Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain- To thy highrequiem become a sod. (59-60) Here he was saying how the “Darkling” sounded beautiful when itsang but that was just a mask for the fate that it was taking him to; death. Thouwas not born for death, immortal Bird! (61) The immortal Nightingale wasn’tput on this earth to bring people to their deaths, according to Keats. Overgenerations, the bird has warned “emperors and clowns” that death can not becheated. the fancy cannot cheat so well As she is fam’d to do (73-74) Here he had stated that the rich could not buy their way out of deathbecause that was all the Nightingale had come to do. The song of theNightingale had faded and Keats composed, thy plaintive anthem fadesand now tis buried deep (75 & 77) and he didn’t know if it was real or if hehad dreamed the whole thing. Keats wasn’t sure if he was still alive or had died.
-Do I wake or sleep? (80)