Saturday, December 09, 2006

"Ode on a Grecian Urn" (1819) by John Keats

The Museum Store has this reproduction of the Townley Urn (ca. 2nd century AD). According to the Museum Store, the Townley Urn "was excavated by Sir Gavin Hamilton and restored in the 18th century. It was made famous by the inspired poem, Ode on a Grecian Urn, by John Keats (1795-1821). The figures on the vase are followers of the wine god, Bacchus, and are shown dancing in revelry."

The real Townley Vase is actually Roman, and is in the British Museum.

Here is Keat's famous poem by Great Books Online.

Wikipedia has some background and links about Keats and about the poem.

Ode on a Grecian Urn (1819)

THOU still unravish’d bride of quietness,

Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,

Sylvan historian, who canst thus express

A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:

What leaf-fring’d legend haunts about thy shape

Of deities or mortals, or of both,

In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?

What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?

What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?

What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy? [Full text]


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