ODE ON A GRECIAN URN
by John Keats
Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness
Thou foster-child of silence and slow time
Sylvan historianwho canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fring'd legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortalsor of both
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy? -
Heard melodies are sweetbut those unheard
Are sweeter; thereforeye soft pipesplay on;
Not to the sensual earbutmore endear'd
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youthbeneath the treesthou canst not leave
Thy songnor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold Lovernevernever canst thou kiss
Though winning near the goal- yetdo not grieve;
She cannot fadethough thou hast not thy bliss
For ever wilt thou loveand she be fair! -
Ahhappyhappy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leavesnor ever bid the Spring adieu;
For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happyhappy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd
For ever pantingand for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd
A burning foreheadand a parching tongue. -
Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altarO mysterious priest
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea shore
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel
Is emptied of this folkthis pious morn?
Andlittle townthy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
Why thou art desolatecan e'er return. -
O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thousilent formdost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste
Thou shalt remainin midst of other woe
Than oursa friend to manto whom thou say'st
"Beauty is truthtruth beauty- that is all
Ye know on earthand all ye need to know." - -