artistic illustration of a Grecian urn set against a backdrop of hills and columns

Ode on a Grecian Urn

by John Keats

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What is Keats' view of life in lines 19-30 of "Ode to a Nightingale"?

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By this point in the poem, the speaker has had it with the world and longs for the freedom and isolation and carefree existence.

Here are the lines you requested. I backed up to line 17, however, so you may understand the full allusion and metaphors that follow. My analysis appears in brackets below selected lines as necessary:

Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,

(Hippocrene is the name of the fountain of the Muses on Mount Helicon. It was produced by a stroke of the hoof of Pegasus.)

With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stainèd mouth;
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,

(Drinking from the fountain was said to give artists, esp poets, inspiration. Purple is the color of the gods and royalty.)

And with thee fade away into the forest dim: 20

(The speaker doesn't want fame, he wants artistic satisfaction.)

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;

(The real world, with all its cares, is too oppressive for the speaker. He wants to be left alone, like the Hippocrene is left alone, in the forest.)

Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs, 25
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;

(Man's lifetime is short and aging is unpleasant. The lake experiences none of this.)

Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
And leaden-eyed despairs;

(No one can live as a human on this planet and not experience pair and despair.)

Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.

(Beauty fades and men are fickle.)

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