Could I have a detailed explanation of sections 4 and 5 of "Ode on a Grecian Urn?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Stanza 4 of the poem describes another scene on the Grecian Urn. It is a scene where people are on their way to present a heifer [cow] as a sacrifice to one of their Gods. A priest leads the animal to be killed as a sacrifice. In lines 35-30, the speaker imagines the town from where the people came as being quiet and empty. He says:
"And little town thy streets forevermore/Will silent be; why thou art desolate". In other words, we will never know why the sacrifice is being made because the people in the scene are now gone. However, their actions will live on forever because they are emblazoned on the urn.
Stanza 5 shows the effect the urn has on the speaker. He says it is like looking at eternity. "Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought/As doth eternity. ( lines 44-45). Then the speaker realizes both the sadness and the strange peace he experiences because he is brought face to face with idea that life is short. As the poem ends, the speaker sees the fact that even though the beauty of the urn is timeless, it also reminds us of the brevity of our own lives.