How do you paraphrase stanza 4 of "Ode to a Nightingale"?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The fourth stanza of this excellent poem sees a distinct change of tone compared to the somewhat somber content of the previous stanzas. It begins by the speaker declaring that he will "fly" to join the nightingale, and therefore escape the pain and suffering mentioned in stanza 3 on the wings of poetry. The rest of the stanza features a beautiful comparison between the night sky and the earthly realm. The moon is depicted as an enthroned queen surrounded by her fairy star attendants, but the earthly realm where Keats and we live is characterised by its darkness and gloom:

But here there is no light,

Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown

Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.

Thus this stanza is an important part of the poem as it presents another comparison between the realm of the nightingale and the realm of humans.

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