Truth remains a mysterious essential: sought out, created, and destroyed in countless metaphysical arguments through time. Whether argued as being absolute or relative, universal or personal, no thought is perceived or conceived without an assessment of its truth. In John Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn" and E.E. Cummings' "since feeling is first" the concern is not specifically the truth of a thought, but rather, the general nature of truth; the foundation which gives truth is trueness . Both poets replace investigation with decision, and that which would be argumentation in the hands of philosophers becomes example and sentiment in their poems. Each poet's examples create a resonance within the reader, engineered to engender belief or provoke thought. Employing images of unconsummated actions on an ancient urn carved with scenes from life, Keats suggests that "Beauty is truth, truth beauty"; Cummings, on the other hand, offers emotion as the foundation of truth, and supports living life fully through diction, theme-suggestive syntax, and images of accomplished action.
Cummings' "since feeling is first" compares the beauty of emotion and the inadequacy of mental analysis. In line three, attention to "syntax," synonymous with literary construction and order, ruins emotional spontaneity, symbolized by a kiss. "Wholly to be a fool while Spring is in the world" ignores social convention in seeking pleasure while "fool" and "Spring" complement each other and suggest the blossoming of love. Line six, "my blood approves," focuses on the physical root of life and evades the hackneyed connotative baggage that arrives with the word "heart." Cummings then swear...
... middle of paper ...
...ing reality and easily equated to the story told by the "Sylvan historian." Thus, the urn as historian provides the truth spoken of in the final line. Literally, the truth of the urn (its representation of life) is its beauty. The derived equivalence of truth and beauty allows the concluding statement: "Beauty is truth, truth beauty." Through similar rhetorical features, "since feeling is first" celebrates love and extols the virtue of intuitive, spontaneous emotion. Cummings' use of sensual imagery discounts methodical analysis and offers emotion as truth. Both poems arrive at seperate conclusions and reflect the diversity of perspectives regarding the nature of truth.
Brooks, Cleanth. The Well Wrought Urn. New York: Harcourt Brace Johanovich, 1975.
Prentice Hall Literature: The American Experience. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1991.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Keats's "Ode on a Grecian Urn" offers a paradoxical concept of Beauty. It describes the frozen beauty portrayed on the Urn as sweeter than reality, for its expiration is a locked impossibility. The lover's kiss is sweeter when in waiting, and her timeless beauty and devotion are worth the kiss's impossibility. Thus, the observation of beauty is more sweet than its reception, and objects in their prime are best just before their expiration. This poem is reminiscent of Shakespeare's sonnets in its zeal for permanent youth and disdain for time's drain on youth's beauty.... [tags: Ode on a Grecian Urn Essays]
394 words (1.1 pages)
- John Keats ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ is one of the most enduring, timeless, romantic poems of 1819. It defines ‘romanticism’ not just in the literary sense, but in a modern sense filled with passion, imagination and individuality. I will examine how the idea of romanticism is portrayed through the beauty of art and nature, in contrast with the writer’s perspective on romanticism as a melancholic emotion. Furthermore, as Keats wrote the poem during his last few years on this Earth-whilst he was ill- it is said that he felt “like a living ghost”, so it is not surprising that the poem speaker is obsessed with the ideas of immortality, survival and death which I will be further examining in relatio... [tags: Poetry, John Keats, Sonnet, Romanticism]
1057 words (3 pages)
- Born on October 31st, 1895 John Keats was the eldest of four siblings to his two parents, Thomas and Frances Jennings Keats, in the town of Moorgate, England. His family was finically stable early in his life due to his father’s job as a manager and then later owner of his father-in-laws stable. With this income they had the ability to purchase a home and to also send John and his siblings to a small liberal academy nearby their home (Contemporary Authors Online). While at school, he met and befriended a boy named Charles Clarke who was the son of the head master.... [tags: John Keats, Biography, Poet]
1281 words (3.7 pages)
- The twenty-four old romantic poet John Keats, “Ode on a Grecian Urn” written in the spring of 1819 was one of his last of six odes. That he ever wrote for he died of tuberculosis a year later. Although, his time as a poet was short he was an essential part of The Romantic period (1789-1832). His groundbreaking poetry created a paradigm shift in the way poetry was composed and comprehended. Indeed, the Romantic period provided a shift from reason to belief in the senses and intuition. “Keats’s poem is able to address some of the most common assumptions and valorizations in the study of Romantic poetry, such as the opposition between “organic culture” and the alienation of modernity”.... [tags: Poetry Analysis ]
1142 words (3.3 pages)
- Examining the Grecian Urn” John Keats’ poem “Ode on a Grecian Urn” tells the story of a man who finds an ancient urn and examines the images depicted on it marveling at the state of the urn’s beauty. He thinks of the urn as some kind of storyteller. As he inspects the images he wonders about the legends they recount and the place they came from. As he slowly turns the urn he first views a depiction of a group of men that seem to be following a group of women, he wonders what story the picture could be telling.... [tags: Poetry, John Keats, Sonnet, Rhyme]
1250 words (3.6 pages)
- Ode to a Nightingale One must be armed with a little knowledge of Greek mythology before taking on Keats; Hyperion, for example, is filled with allusions to Milton's Paradise Lost. After reading and re-reading Ode on a Grecian Urn I decided that it would be best to only comment on Ode to a Nightingale (because I'm baffled with Keats). I found him very hard to understand. You can't just sit down and read Keats like a Grimm's fairy tale. Keats must be read with great scrutiny; otherwise, you'll miss his point.... [tags: Ode Nightingale Essays]
586 words (1.7 pages)
- Imagery Used in Keats' Poems Strong imagery is the basis of structure in many poems. Literal and metaphorical imagery words aid the reader with interpreting the main ideal of the poem. Ode to a Grecian Urn, Ode to a Nightingale and On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer are three of John Keats’ poems which contain this descriptive imagery to give structure and meaning. Keats makes the decorative language as the medium for the passion that he holds for his subject. Ode to a Grecian Urn is a poem in which Keats makes imagery explain the physical aspects of an urn as well as the message behind its appearance.... [tags: John Keats Ode to a Grecian Urn Essays]
532 words (1.5 pages)
- Mood and Theme in “Ode on a Grecian Urn” The first stanza of a poem plays a vital role in developing the theme and mood of a poem. It gives insight on what the poem is going to be about. In John Keats work, “Ode on a Grecian Urn”, a poem describing the life of a picture on an old urn, the first stanza of the poem does just that. The first stanza is written in Keats poem is an introduction to the old stories and pictures the urn displays: “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,... [tags: Poetry, John Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn]
978 words (2.8 pages)
- Physical Value in Keats' Ode on a Grecian Urn The poetry of John Keats contains many references to physical things, from nightingales to gold and silver-garnished things, and a casual reader might be tempted to accept these at face value, as simple physical objects meant to evoke a response either sensual or emotional; however, this is not the case. Keats, in the poem Ode Upon a Grecian Urn, turns the traditional understanding of physical objects on its head, and uses them not solid tangible articles, but instead as metaphors for and connections to abstract concepts, such as truth and eternity.... [tags: Ode on a Grecian Urn]
1384 words (4 pages)
- Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats Summary In the first stanza, the speaker, standing before an ancient Grecian urn, addresses the urn, preoccupied with its depiction of pictures frozen in time. It is the "still unravish'd bride of quietness," the "foster-child of silence and slow time." He also describes the urn as a "historian," which can tell a story. He wonders about the figures on the side of the urn, and asks what legend they depict, and where they are from. He looks at a picture that seems to depict a group of men pursuing a group of women, and wonders what their story could be: "What mad pursuit.... [tags: Ode Grecian Urn John Keats Essays]
1531 words (4.4 pages)
- Aging in Matthew Arnold's Growning Old and Robert Browning's Rabbi Ben Ezra
- Reality of War in Crane's War is Kind and Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade
- Discontinuity in Self-Reliance and When I Consider How My Light Is Spent
- Coexistence of Contrary States in Blake’s The Tyger
- Yeats’ Second Coming and Cummings’ what if a much of a which of a wind
- Power of the Oppressed in George Orwell's Shooting an Elephant