'Ode to a Nightingale'

John Keats (1795-1821) composed this poem one morning in early May 1819, when he was still mourning the death of his brother Tom. The world of nature features prominently in Romantic verse, because the poets believed in its healing, restorative qualities and its ability to help people transcend their restricted circumstances. Here Keats reflects upon a nightingale’s spontaneous, exuberant singing. Its ecstatic outpouring is alluring, offering relief from stress, pain and suffering. The power of the imagination can facilitate temporary escape from problems; ultimately, however, the speaker accepts the limitations of mortality. Pleasures are fleeting; change and decay are inevitable.

Manuscript of 'Ode to a Nightingale' by John Keats

Manuscript of 'Ode to a Nightingale' by John Keats

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Usage terms: Public Domain

Creator:
John Keats
Published:
1819-1820
Forms:
Poem
Genre:
Romantic literature
Literary period:
Romantic