What is a brief stanza-by-stanza explanation of the basic meaning of "Ode on a Grecian Urn"?

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teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are five stanzas in Keat's poem:

Stanza 1:  The speaker is looking at an old Grecian urn thinking that the urn is able to better tell a story than a poem is.  The speaker questions what the tale might be about in the string of rhetorical questions.

Stanza 2:  The speaker sees a song being played and a pair of young lovers beneath a tree who are about to kiss.  The speaker comments on the everlasting nature of beauty and youth frozen in the image.

Stanza 3:  The speaker comments on the lovers' happiness and passion that revolves around the tree.

Stanza 4:  A heifer is being lead to a sacrifice and a quiet town is set near the shore.

Stanza 5:  The speaker comments on the everlasting nature of time and beauty frozen on the urn that is wasted in actual life.

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Ode on a Grecian Urn

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