In Ode to a Nightingale, John Keats, the author and narrator, used descriptterminology to express the deep-rooted pain he was suffering during his battlewith tuberculosis.
This poem has eight paragraphs or verses of ten lines eachand doesn’t follow any specific rhyme scheme. In the first paragraph, Keatsgave away the mood of the whole poem with his metaphors for his emotional andphysical sufferings, for example: My heart aches, and drowsy numbness pains Mysense (1-2) Keats then went on to explain to the reader that he was speaking tothe “light-winged Dryad” in the poem. This bird symbolizes a Nightingalethat to many, depicts the happiness and vibrance of life with the way it seemsto gracefully hover over brightly colored flowers to get nectar but, to Keatsdeath, because his was becoming. “Shadows numberless” at the end of theparagraph signifies the angel of death and spirits that had surrounded Keats. Keats vividly and beautifully described wine: . .Order now
. for a beaker full of the warmSouth. . . With beaded bubbles winking at the brim, And purple stained mouth; ThatI might drink, and leave the he used to bury his fears and emotions about death.
In verse three, Keats expressed that most people enjoy a full life and die old,when he pens: Here, men sit and hear each other groan; . . . last gray hairs, Whereyouth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies. .
. (24-26) He felt that youth was atime in one’s life to enjoy. According to him, being rich, popular, beautiful,funny and smart didn’t matter because the angel of death was blind. Keats wasafraid of death because of the loved one’s he had to leave behind. Heexpresses that with the phrase: And with thee fade away into the forest dim (20)Keats explained that he had wanted to wander off into the forest so no onewould’ve had to be bothered by him.
In paragraph four, Keats had spoken to theNightingale and told it to go off and leave him alone because he already hadknown that death was coming and didn’t want to be reminded of his sad fate. Keats went on to say: I cannot see what flowers are at my feet, Nor what softincense hangs upon the boughs, But, in embalmed darkness. . . (41-43) This meanthe didn’t know what was about to happen, only that he was going to die. Hethen illustrated all the creatures and things that would live long past him; Thegrass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild.
. . (45) In paragraph six, Keats hadlistened to the “Darkling” or Nightingale singing and this had reminded himof how at one time in his life he questioned death and was even infatuated by itbecause death was an unknown universe when he composed: . .
. for many a time Ihave been half in love with easeful Death, Call’d him soft names. . . (51-53)But quickly after he had recalled that memory he stated: Still wouldst thousing, and I have ears in vain- To thy high requiem become a sod.
(59-60) Here hewas saying how the “Darkling” sounded beautiful when it sang but that wasjust a mask for the fate that it was taking him to; death. Thou was not born fordeath, immortal Bird! (61) The immortal Nightingale wasn’t put on this earthto bring people to their deaths, according to Keats. Over generations, the birdhas warned “emperors and clowns” that death can not be cheated. . .
. the fancycannot cheat so well As she is fam’d to do. . . (73-74) Here he had stated thatthe rich could not buy their way out of death because that was all theNightingale had come to do.
The song of the Nightingale had faded and Keatscomposed, . . . thy plaintive anthem fades. . .
. . . and now ?tis buried deep (75& 77) and he didn’t know if it was real or if he had dreamed the wholething. Keats wasn’t sure if he was still alive or had died. ?Do I wake orsleep? (80)