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Ode To Psyche Essay Research Paper Ode

Ode To Psyche Essay, Research Paper Ode to Psyche O Goddess! hear these tuneless numbers, wrung By sweet enforcement and remembrance dear, And pardon that thy secrets should be sung

Ode To Psyche Essay, Research Paper

Ode to Psyche

O Goddess! hear these tuneless numbers, wrung

By sweet enforcement and remembrance dear,

And pardon that thy secrets should be sung

Even into thine own soft-conched ear:

Surely I dreamt to-day, or did I see

The winged Psyche with awaken’d eyes?

I wander’d in a forest thoughtlessly,

And, on the sudden, fainting with surprise,

Saw two fair creatures, couched side by side

In deepest grass, beneath the whisp’ring roof

Of leaves and trembled blossoms, where there ran

A brooklet, scarce espied:

Mid hush’d, cool-rooted flowers, fragrant-eyed,

Blue, silver-white, and budded Tyrian,

They lay calm-breathing, on the bedded grass;

Their arms embraced, and their pinions too;

Their lips touch’d not, but had not bade adieu,

As if disjoined by soft-handed slumber,

And ready still past kisses to outnumber

At tender eye-dawn of aurorean love:

The winged boy I knew;

But who wast thou, O happy, happy dove?

His Psyche true!

O latest born and loveliest vision far

Of all Olympus’ faded hierarchy!

Fairer than Ph{oe}be’s sapphire-region’d star,

Or Vesper, amorous glow-worm of the sky;

Fairer than these, though temple thou hast none,

Nor altar heap’d with flowers;

Nor virgin-choir to make delicious moan

Upon the midnight hours;

No voice, no lute, no pipe, no incense sweet

From chain-swung censer teeming;

No shrine, no grove, no oracle, no heat

Of pale-mouth’d prophet dreaming.

O brightest! though too late for antique vows,

Too, too late for the fond believing lyre,

When holy were the haunted forest boughs,

Holy the air, the water, and the fire;

Yet even in these days so far retir’d

From happy pieties, thy lucent fans,

Fluttering among the faint Olympians,

I see, and sing, by my own eyes inspir’d.

So let me be thy choir, and make a moan

Upon the midnight hours;

Thy voice, thy lute, thy pipe, thy incense sweet

From swinged censer teeming;

Thy shrine, thy grove, thy oracle, thy heat

Of pale-mouth’d prophet dreaming.

Yes, I will be thy priest, and build a fane

In some untrodden region of my mind,

Where branched thoughts, new grown with pleasant pain,

Instead of pines shall murmur in the wind:

Far, far around shall those dark-cluster’d trees

Fledge the wild-ridged mountains steep by steep;

And there by zephyrs, streams, and birds, and bees,

The moss-lain Dryads shall be lull’d to sleep;

And in the midst of this wide quietness

A rosy sanctuary will I dress

With the wreath’d trellis of a working brain,

With buds, and bells, and stars without a name,

With all the gardener Fancy e’er could feign,

Who breeding flowers, will never breed the same:

And there shall be for thee all soft delight

That shadowy thought can win,

A bright torch, and a casement ope at night,

To let the warm Love in!

The original myth of Psyche is quite a late product of Greek mythology. In the myth, Aphrodite, goddess of love, is jealous of the beautiful mortal, Psyche, and commands Eros to make her fall in love with a low creature. But Eros himself falls in love with her. But since he is a god he can only visit her unidentified at night. Finally, overwrought with loving curiosity, she identifies him with a light and he is forced to flee. She searches desperately for him but the same curiosity which lost her Eros almost causes her to be dragged into the underworld. Eros saves her and persuades Zeus to immortalize her. She gives her name to the human spirit.

‘Ode to Psyche’ is the first of Keats’s odes. He wrote it in April 1819. He had tried to write some odes before. There are for example two in Endymion (’To Pan’, and ‘To Sorrow’). The ode is a form of lyrical poem which Keats learned from Greek literature. Originally it was a poem intended to be sung, having a metrical structure and celebratory themes.

Ode to Psyche is less well known than the famous later odes. It is ofted excluded from anthologies. Maybe its varied stanza length and conversational rhythm implies casualness. But that is a quality that appeals to me. It takes place in a territory between sleep and wakefulness:

Surely I dreamt to-day, or did I see

The winged Psyche with awaken’d eyes?

Keats chooses Psyche as the subject of his celebratory ode because she stands for the human soul, searching for the unknown and for a home at the same time. His first two stanzas celebrate the goddess. The movement of the verse is peaceful and gentle: the pair is seen:

Their lips touched not, but had not bade adieu

In the second stanza he catalogues with the same tenderness as before the proper dues to Psyche which she was never paid.

O latest born and loveliest vision far

Of all Olympus’ faded hierarchy

Fairer that Phoebe’s sapphire-region’d star

Or Vesper, amorous glow-worm of the sky…

In the third stanza he continues his strongly felt regret that mystery has drawn back from earth and the human spirit.

O brightest! though too late for antique vows,

Too, too late for the fond believing lyre,

When holy were the haunted forest boughs,

holy the air, the water, and the fire;

Yet even in these days so far retired

From happy pieties, thy lucent fans,

Fluttering among the faint Olympians,

I see, and sing, by my own eyes inspired

In the second part of the stanza he repeats the second half of the second stanza, contradicting the earlier negatives and repeating the list of sacred equipment. The repetition is part of the firm structure behind the soft surface. It leads into the fourth stanza:

Yes, I will be thy priest, and build a fane

The stanza is full of decision and confidently rises to a tender climax. The landscape is indistinct, because he is describing a landscape of the mind. Yet the result is extremely beautiful. The rich landscape is made full by the entrance of ‘warm love.’

And in the midst of this wide quietness

A rosy sanctuary will I dress

With the wreath’d trellis of a working brain,

With buds, and bells, and stars without name

In this ode Keats is defining the human qualities which he sees threatened and wishes passionately to preserve.

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