Ode on a Grecian Urn: Poem Stanza 3 - Summary

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Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unweari-ed,
Forever piping songs forever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
Forever warm and still to be enjoyed,
Forever panting, and forever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloyed,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.


      The passage reveals Keats’s keen appreciation of the permanence of Ait as contrasted with the transitoriness of human life. Whatever loveliness and freshness of Nature may be lost in its art form, it attains permanence, which Nature, in its real-life does not attain. The poet contemplates with joy the happiness of the trees that cannot shed their leaves nor take leave of the spring season. He congratulates the happy musician who sings untiringly new songs forever and ever. Even more happy is the lover represented on the urn. His love is eternally fresh and enjoyable, eager, zestful and unique. The love of the bold lover never actually materializes but he is always, as painted on the surface of the vase, in a mood of expectancy and this expectancy is more delightful than fruition. This mood of expectancy does not know “loves sad satiety”. Everything in this picture betokens a love which is higher than human love in real life as much as it is free from the latter’s not so palatable after-effects. Human passions or earthly love leaves behind a heart steeped in sorrow and worries. Earthly love generally results in sorrow and weariness caused by unsatiety and great physical agony. Hence, sculptured love is above all earthly passions.

      In these lines, an undercurrent of deep sorrow is perceptible. We know about the frustrations of the poet and his passionate love for Fanny Browne.

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