‘Ode to a Nightingale’ is an ode by one of the most popular romantic poets John Keats. An ode is a short lyric poem composed to praise an individual or an idea or an event in life. Keats was fond of the Greek odes, and the Hellenic features of the odes inspire this poem. Keats begins a confession. He says that he feels an ache in his heart, and he is drowsy. The nightingale that sings to him is not responsible for his condition; rather, he is feeling ecstatic after hearing the nightingale's happy song. He yearns for opium to get rid of his pain but soon realizes that his imagination can take him to a world of fantasy where he will not feel any pain.
The immortal song of the nightingale will keep on giving happiness to the world. It is a source of solace for lamenting men. The beauty of the sweet song is the permanent cure to the sadness of the world. The same song was heard by Ruth (a character from the Old Testament), and the men in future will also hear it. The poet reaffirms that beauty is permanent, it is immortal, and it always gives joy to people.
The poem uses death as a symbol of relief. The nightingale acts as the connection between the mortal world and the immortal world. The poet draws a parallel between the two kinds of beauty that exist in the world. The first one is created by nature, and the second one is artificial. The poet cannot decide which beauty is better; he makes the reader search for the answer himself.
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