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Vocabulary in Ode to a Nightingale

Vocabulary Examples in Ode to a Nightingale:

Ode to a Nightingale

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"Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain— To thy high requiem become a sod...."   (Ode to a Nightingale)

Keats reimagines the nightingale’s song as a requiem—a funeral song—for the speaker. The reference to “a sod”—which refers to both an unfavorable person as well as a plot of earth—is a self-effacing means for the speaker to imagine being dead.

"But on the viewless wings of Poesy,..."   (Ode to a Nightingale)

The speaker now identifies as a poet, having found an escape from the world’s suffering “on the viewless wings of Poesy” rather than in pleasure. It is important that Keats uses the word “Poesy”—the craft of writing poems—rather than “poetry.” Poesy can be lofty, “viewless,” and ignore the world as it is. Poetry in its truest form cannot. The irony is that, while the speaker entertains the notion of escape through poesy, the poem itself does not turn its gaze from the world.

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