Ode To Nightingale By Keats

In Ode to a Nightingale, John Keats, the author and narrator, used descript
terminology to express the deep-rooted pain he was suffering during his battle
with tuberculosis. This poem has eight paragraphs or verses of ten lines each
and doesn’t follow any specific rhyme scheme. In the first paragraph, Keats
gave away the mood of the whole poem with his metaphors for his emotional and
physical sufferings, for example: My heart aches, and drowsy numbness pains My
sense (1-2) Keats then went on to explain to the reader that he was speaking to
the "light-winged Dryad" in the poem. This bird symbolizes a Nightingale
that to many, depicts the happiness and vibrance of life with the way it seems
to gracefully hover over brightly colored flowers to get nectar but, to Keats
death, because his was becoming. "Shadows numberless" at the end of the
paragraph signifies the angel of death and spirits that had surrounded Keats.

Keats vividly and beautifully described wine: ... for a beaker full of the warm

South... With beaded bubbles winking at the brim, And purple stained mouth; That

I 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, Where
youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies... (24-26) He felt that youth was a
time 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 was
afraid of death because of the loved one’s he had to leave behind. He
expresses 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 one
would’ve had to be bothered by him. In paragraph four, Keats had spoken to the

Nightingale and told it to go off and leave him alone because he already had
known 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 soft
incense hangs upon the boughs, But, in embalmed darkness... (41-43) This meant
he didn’t know what was about to happen, only that he was going to die. He
then illustrated all the creatures and things that would live long past him; The
grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild... (45) In paragraph six, Keats had
listened to the "Darkling" or Nightingale singing and this had reminded him
of how at one time in his life he questioned death and was even infatuated by it
because death was an unknown universe when he composed: ...for many a time I
have 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 thou
sing, and I have ears in vain- To thy high requiem become a sod. (59-60) Here he
was saying how the "Darkling" sounded beautiful when it sang but that was
just a mask for the fate that it was taking him to; death. Thou was not born for
death, immortal Bird! (61) The immortal Nightingale wasn’t put on this earth
to bring people to their deaths, according to Keats. Over generations, the bird
has warned "emperors and clowns" that death can not be cheated. ...the fancy
cannot cheat so well As she is fam’d to do... (73-74) Here he had stated that
the rich could not buy their way out of death because that was all the

Nightingale had come to do. The song of the Nightingale had faded and Keats
composed, ...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 whole
thing. Keats wasn’t sure if he was still alive or had died. –Do I wake or
sleep? (80)