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9/25/2018

What is ode? “To Autumn” as an ode.

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An ode is a kind  of lyric that deals with a sad theme. It begins with an  address to some one and ends with consolation. Its theme may be public or private. The ode that deals with public theme is called ‘public ode’. It is also called Pindaric ode after the name of Pindar, a Greek poet, who first wrote this kind of odes. Thomas Gray’s  ”Progress of Poesy” is an example of this kind of the odes. The private odes are those that deal with private experiences of the poet. All the stanzas of a private ode have equal number of lines and they are written in the same rhyming pattern. It is also called Horatian ode after the name of Horace who innovated it. Shelley’s  “Ode to the West Wind” is a good example of this kind of ode. There is still another type of odes, which are called irregular odes. The odes, which do not follow the specific codes of Pindaric and Horatian odes, are called irregular odes. Wordsworth’s “Ode:   Intimation of  Immortaliy“ is an example of it.
“To Autumn” is written in the form  of an ode. An ode opens with an address to some one. The  poem has been addressed to ‘Autumn’, the personification of a season. This ode is a private ode written on the model of the Horatian ode. It has three regular or uniform stanzas, each consisting of eleven lines. Its lyrical quality or its music has been achieved by the use of rhyme, onomatopoeia, alliteration and assistance. The rhyme scheme, with a little variation in the last four lines of the first stanza,is abab cde cdde. There are several lines producing musical effect by the use of onomatopoeia, alliteration and assistance.
The main recurrent figures of speech used to create music in the poem are alliteration and assistance. Almost every line has them. For instance, the  alliteration in  “And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn“  (repetition of ‘I’)  and the alliteration in  ”oozings,  hours by hours”  (repetition of ‘s’)  impart music to the poem. Keats has also used onomatopoeia in several lines. For examples, the onomatoppeia in the line  ”With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run“  imitates the serpentine movement of the vines along the edge of the roofs of cottages. The iambic meters (alternatively accented syllables) in the line create an up and down movement of the sound that reflect the up and down movement of the vines. Similarly, the onomatopoeia in the following lines suggests the buzzing sound of bees:

“And still more,  later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
Fore Summer has o’or-brimmed their clammy cells.“

The repetition  of “z” sound suggests the sound of bees. These lines enhance the musical effect by the repetition of the buzzing sound. So, “To Autumn”  is a lyric, a major condition to be an ode. Next, an ode ends with a kind of consolation.  “To Autumn” also offers consolation in its last stanza. Autumn may not  have the sweet songs of spring but it has its own music. They may sound more like funeral dirge, but they are its own. Moreover, the image of  “soft-dying day“  does not only suggest the end of a day,  It also suggests the beginning of a new day. Similarly,  the  ”gathering swallows twitter in the skies”  do not only suggest the end of a year,  they also suggest the beginning of a new yet. So there is a note of consolation. ”To Autumn”,  therefore, is a private ode comprising of address to Autumn, lyrical element and consolation for her.

“To  Autumn“  breathes the spirit of Greek poetry. It is objective in nature, calm and serene in mood. The tone is impersonal, free from any kind of bitterness or  philosophy. It just presents a picture of English Autumn as it is. However, there are critics who think that there is a personal touch in the poem. They think that images of death in the poem indicate  Keats’ own preoccupation with death. However, there are also some critics who do not agree with this interpretation. It is perhaps better to consider “To Autumn” as an excellent ode that simply presents the natural course of seasons without any personal anguish. The truth about life cycle has been presented objectively in the poem.

2 comments:

  1. Very interesting and valuable topic indeed.If possible ,pl.post some other net related topics .

    ReplyDelete

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