Ode on Indolence: Stanza 3 - Summary

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A third time pass’d they by, and, passing, turn’d
Each one the face a moment whiles to me;
Then faded, and to follow them I burn’d
And ached for wings, because I knew the three;
The first was a fair Maid, and Love her name;
The second was Ambition, pale of cheek,
And ever watchful with fatigued eye;
The last, whom I love more, the more of blame
Is heap’d upon her, maiden most unmeek,—
I knew to be my demon Poesy.

Summary

      A third time.....demon poesy. The three figures came round for the third time while they were passing before the eyes of the poet, they turned their faces for a moment towards him. After that, they disappeared. Keats at once recognized them to be his three dear passions—Love, Ambition and Poetry. This knowledge produced in him a very strong desire to devote himself to their service again. He ardently wished to have wings so that he could fly after them and catch them up. In other words, he was filled with a very great eagerness to become devoted to them again as he was in past.

      Keats then gives a description of the three figures recognized by him. The first was a beautiful maiden called Love. She represented the passion of Love which Keats as a young man of emotional nature and finest sensibility had flowed with great ardor. The second figure was a man with a pale face. Constant alertness as to know and learn new things had exhausted him and taken away the luster very proud. She was Poetry, the guardian spirit of Keats. The more he loved her, the more she was blamed. What Keats means is that his devotion to poetry has been, very bitterly criticized. And in fact, it was so. His early poetry was criticized without compassion by the Blackwood Magazine Quarterly Review and Domestic Critics.

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