• Gravestone of John Keats
  • Works Cited Keats, John.
  • SparkNotes: Keats’s Odes: Ode to a Nightingale

Keats describes the song as timeless, especially in his description of the nightingale continuing to sing after his (the narrator's) death.

Ode to a Nightingale - The Tudors, Lord Byron & John Keats

Ode To A Nightingale by John Keats

So here Keats is perhaps conveying a bit of the frustration he feels at being alone able to be enraptured by this dryad-like nightingale while also emphasizes its purity and idealized beauty.

Keats’ Poems and Letters “Ode to a Nightingale” and …

This also emphasizes how meaningless and short the narrators life is because the nightingale is timeless.
With "Ode to a Nightingale," Keats's speaker begins his fullest and deepest exploration of the themes of creative expression and the mortality of human life. In this ode, the transience of life and the tragedy of old age ("where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs, / Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies") is set against the eternal renewal of the nightingale's fluid music ("Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird!"). The speaker reprises the "drowsy numbness" he experienced in "Ode on Indolence," but where in "Indolence" that numbness was a sign of disconnection from experience, in "Nightingale" it is a sign of too full a connection: "being too happy in thine happiness," as the speaker tells the nightingale. Hearing the song of the nightingale, the speaker longs to flee the human world and join the bird. His first thought is to reach the bird's state through alcohol--in the second stanza, he longs for a "draught of vintage" to transport him out of himself. But after his meditation in the third stanza on the transience of life, he rejects the idea of being "charioted by Bacchus and his pards" (Bacchus was the Roman god of wine and was supposed to have been carried by a chariot pulled by leopards) and chooses instead to embrace, for the first time since he refused to follow the figures in "Indolence," "the viewless wings of Poesy."


Ode to Nightingale: Critique and Analysis/ Keats’s Ode …

1. The first three verses express Keats' reasons for wanting to follow the nightingale into the forest. What are they?
The nightingale has traditionally been associated with love. The influential myth of Philomela, turned into a nightingale after being raped and tortured, stresses melancholy and suffering in association with love. It has also been associated with poetry. Keats no doubt knew Coleridge's two poems `To the Nightingale' (1796) and `The Nightingale: "A Conversation Poem"', and, according to his letters, only days before writing this ode he had talked with the older poet on such subjects as nightingales, poetry and poetical sensation.

Here we look at the life of John Keats and try to understand why and how this great poet ROCKS
The poem is basically structured around the contrast between the poet, who is earthbound, and the bird, which is free. A related opposition is that between the mortal world, full of sorrow and marked by transience, and the world of the nightingale, marked by joy and immortality. One of the points that has troubled many critics is this claim of immortality for the nightingale: 'Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!' (line 61). The nightingale is, after all, a natural creature. It has been suggested that Keats is referring not to the individual bird, but to the species. This solution has been strongly criticised, however, as humanity, the `hungry generations' (line 62), could also be credited with such immortality as a species. An alternative suggestion is that the nightingale addressed in stanza 7 is purely symbolic; is this solution more convincing? If so, what does the nightingale symbolise? A further interpretation might be that, since the nightingale sings only at night and was traditionally thought of, therefore, as invisible, it, through its `disembodied' song, transcends the material world (so in that sense is immortal); and here Keats is talking of `embalmed darkness', an atmosphere of death.

BBC - History - Historic Figures: John Keats (1795-1821)

ALLUSION More Figurative Language and Literary Devices ALLUSION and METONYMY The Nightingale The nightingale is important as it symbolizes immortality and freedom.

In Greek mythology, a woman named Procne was turned into a nightingale in order to be free from her husband.

Hear Benedict Cumberbatch Read John Keats’ "Ode to …


Throughout the poem, Keats describes this idea of the nightingale being free and timeless, emphasizing his own desire to be free of society and humanity.

John Keats Ode to a nightingale - Poetry By Heart

“Perhaps the self-same song that found a path Through the sad heart of Ruth”

The speakers uses an allusion to Ruth of the Old Testament of the bible which points to the immortality of the nightingales song and the immortality of nature which continues on with the nightingale's song.

Poetry & Immortality: John Keats' 'Ode to a Nightingale'

Why did Keats choose the nightingale's song as the basis of meditation in this poem? Is he drawing upon its traditional associations or not? Such critics as Helen Vendler believe that in the choice of music Keats finds a symbol of pure beauty, non-representational, without any reference to ideas, to moral or social values. The nightingale's song is vocal, but without verbal content, and can serve as a pure expressive beauty. Others have argued that it represents the music of nature, which can be contrasted with human art, verbal or musical.