Ode to a Nightingale Questions and Answers
by John Keats

Ode to a Nightingale book cover
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What is a stanza-by-stanza explanation of "Ode to a Nightingale"?

In "Ode to a Nightingale," the speaker is captivated by the song of a nightingale. He longs to be part of the nightingale's magical world and to escape from the worries of human existence. The nightingale's song has been heard for centuries, and the speaker reflects on this timelessness as he considers his own death.

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Stanza 1: The speaker opens by establishing his own mood. He feels that an "opiate" has dulled his senses, and he is left feeling numb and drowsy. The speaker addresses the nightingale of the title, telling it that he isn't envious of its joy but instead shares those sentiments for the bird. The "full-throated" song of the nightingale makes the world more beautiful because of its melodies.

Stanza 2: The speaker longs for a good "vintage," or wine, that has been cooled in the earth. He describes the way the bubbles of the wine "wink," or burst, at the brim of the glass and the way the wine stains his mouth purple. He longs to drink enough to "fade away" with the nightingale into the forest, leaving his own world behind.

Stanza 3: The speaker longs to forget those worldly concerns the nightingale has never been concerned with. His own world is full of weary people, sick people, and stressed people. People complain to each other endlessly about their troubles. The beauty of youth fades and...

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