Rhyme in Ode on a Grecian Urn

For the five odes Keats composed in 1819—“Ode on a Grecian Urn” included—he devised a new style, with a unique structure and rhyme scheme. Each ode consists of five ten-line stanzas. Each stanza begins with an ABAB quatrain, followed by a variable sestet. In “Ode on a Grecian Urn,” the first and fifth stanzas end with CDEDCE, the second ends with CDECED, and the third and fourth end with CDECDE. This tight, though somewhat shifting, structure allows Keats to play with the final lines of each stanza.

Rhyme Examples in Ode on a Grecian Urn:

Ode on a Grecian Urn 1

"express..."   (Ode on a Grecian Urn)

Keats writes this poem in iambic pentameter and uses an alternating rhyme scheme in the first four lines of each stanza. The rhymes are not always perfect rhymes, and the best example of this is the slant rhyme in the fourth stanza. Although he uses rhyme throughout the piece, he does not use a strict rhyme scheme anywhere else, except in the first four lines of each stanza.