Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats

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What is Keats's description of nature in "Ode to a Nightingale"?

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Like William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Keats is often identified as a romantic poet. One of the most distinctive aspects about romantic poetry is, of course, its treatment of nature. In the works of the romantic poets, nature is sanctuary, guide, truth, perfection, imagination, and more. However, Keats, who was a generation younger than the high romantics, has some very distinctive ways of using nature in his poems. I’d like to explore a few of these uniquely Keatsian methodologies as they play out in "Ode to a Nightingale" (1819), one of Keats’ three great romantic odes.

To begin with, Keats’s sensibility in “Ode to a Nightingale” is remarkably devoid of ego. The real experience of listening to a nightingale's song triggers in the poet a longing to dissolve into nature. This longing is not merely sensual, but goes much deeper: the poet wishes to merge his self with the larger consciousness of nature so he can experience everything. Unlike Wordsworth and...

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