There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, The earth, and every common sight To me did seem The glory and the freshness of a dream. The cataracts blow their trumpets from the steep,— No more shall grief of mine the season wrong: I hear the echoes through the mountains throng. The winds come to me from the fields of sleep, And all the earth is gay; Land and sea Give themselves up to jollity, And with the heart of May Doth every beast keep holiday;— Thou child of joy, Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy Shepherd-boy! O evil day! Where is it now, the glory and the dream?
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Indeed, his illness was so acute that his friend and confidant Severn, who nursed him through the worst of the illness, wrote that Keats would sometimes wake up, and sob to find himself still alive, he was in so much pain. Ode to Psyche Summary The myth of Cupid and Psyche was the first of his odes, although it was only published a year later. Throughout, the staple Keatsian imagery of imagination, mythology, and sensuality reign supreme.
The story of Cupid and Psyche goes as thus: there was once a king and queen who had three beautiful daughters. The youngest of which, Psyche, was the most beautiful, and was considered by many to be the second coming of Aphrodite, which annoyed the real goddess Aphrodite, who commissioned her agent, Cupid for her revenge.
Cupid, by accident, scratches himself, with his own dart, and falls in love with Psyche. Her father the king, suspecting that they have caused some offence to the gods, and worrying as his youngest daughter is still not married, consults the oracle of Apollo, who tells him that Psyche is to be taken to a meadow and left there to meet her husband, who is a beast.
Her father does as he is told, abandoning her in a beautiful meadow, and leaving Psyche alone to wander on until she finds a beautiful house. Cupid, unseen, tells her to make herself comfortable, and she is allowed to enjoy herself at a feast, with an invisible lyre.
There she lays with Cupid, and soon becomes pregnant. As this is Greek mythology, and there is no such thing as a happy ending in Greek mythology, things escalate. Cupid, in a panic, flies away from her. The myth then continues on to the staples of Grecian myth: trials, angry gods, and ultimately, a happy ending where Cupid and Psyche end up together.
However, Keats, in his poem, does not follow the traditional and lauded tale of Cupid and Psyche, but instead concerns a narrator witnessing the life of the neglected goddess Psyche, who is new, but mostly ignored while other goddesses are worshipped ahead of her. O Goddess! This is as close to sexual imagery as Keats gets in this poem, but, after all, Keats is one of the most sensual Romantic poets.
There is an almost seamless shift from reality to fantasy, as Ode to Psyche moves from the real world — the world where the poet wanders — to fantasy, or a dream world.
This was not strange to Keatsian poems, and in fact a similar shift took place in Ode to a Nightingale. His Psyche true! Keats uses the senses heavily in all his poetry, relying on synaesthetic description to draw the reader into the poem. Near the end of the stanza, the poet recognizes who the figure in the grass is: Psyche.
This is in line with the original myth, where Psyche was the youngest daughter of the unnamed king, and far more beautiful than the goddess Aphrodite, whose enmity of her leads to the myth of Cupid and Psyche.
Here, the Narrator laments the fact that, although Psyche is the most beautiful of the goddesses and gods, she is the poorest in terms of worship: she has nothing to her name, no altar, no choir, no praying public or shrine or grove. Here, there is reference to zephyrs and dryads, and sleeping again — though it is well worth pointing out that ode to a Nightingale is a far more unhappy poem than Ode to Psyche.
Background Information Critics have been divided whether or not Ode to Psyche is as deserving of acclaim as the other Keatsian odes. This may be another way of saying that it is the most architectural of the odes, as it is certainly the one that culminates most dramatically. Join the conversation by commenting We make sure to reply to every comment submitted, so feel free to join the community and let us know your thoughts below.
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Ode to Psyche
He answers his own question: She was Psyche. In the second stanza, the speaker addresses Psyche again, describing her as the youngest and most beautiful of all the Olympian gods and goddesses. He believes this, he says, despite the fact that, unlike other divinities, Psyche has none of the trappings of worship: She has no temples, no altars, no choir to sing for her, and so on. The stanzas vary in number of lines, rhyme scheme, and metrical scheme, and convey the effect of spontaneous rhapsody rather than considered form. Lines are iambic, but vary from dimeter to pentameter; the most common rhymes are in alternating lines ABAB , but there are abundant exceptions, and there are even unrhymed lines.
Ode to Psyche by John Keats; An introduction, annotations & summary
There is little evidence of his exact birthplace. Although Keats and his family seem to have marked his birthday on 29 October, baptism records give the date as the 31st. His father first worked as a hostler  at the stables attached to the Swan and Hoop Inn, an establishment he later managed, and where the growing family lived for some years. Keats believed that he was born at the inn, a birthplace of humble origins, but there is no evidence to support his belief. The small school had a liberal outlook and a progressive curriculum more modern than the larger, more prestigious schools.
Ode to Psyche by John Keats
Background[ edit ] Keats was never a professional writer. At the age of 23, Keats left the hospital, losing his source of income, in order to devote himself to writing poetry. The early products of this effort included La Belle Dame sans Merci and "Ode to Psyche", the first of a series of odes that he would write that year. It is uncertain as to when the poem was actually completed,  but Keats sent the poem to his brother on 3 May with an attached letter saying, "The following poem, the last I have written, is the first and only one with which I have taken even moderate pains; I have, for the most part, dashed off my lines in a hurry; this one I have done leisurely; I think it reads the more richly for it, and it will I hope encourage me to write other things in even a more peaceable and healthy spirit. After reading the work and realizing that the myth was established during the twilight of Roman mythology, Keats wrote to George:  "You must recollect that Psyche was not embodied as a goddess before the time of Apuleius the Platonist who lived after the Augustan age, and consequently the Goddess was never worshipped or sacrificed to with any of the ancient fervour—and perhaps never thought of in the old religion—I am more orthodox than to let a heathen Goddess be so neglected.
Indeed, his illness was so acute that his friend and confidant Severn, who nursed him through the worst of the illness, wrote that Keats would sometimes wake up, and sob to find himself still alive, he was in so much pain. Ode to Psyche Summary The myth of Cupid and Psyche was the first of his odes, although it was only published a year later. Throughout, the staple Keatsian imagery of imagination, mythology, and sensuality reign supreme. The story of Cupid and Psyche goes as thus: there was once a king and queen who had three beautiful daughters. The youngest of which, Psyche, was the most beautiful, and was considered by many to be the second coming of Aphrodite, which annoyed the real goddess Aphrodite, who commissioned her agent, Cupid for her revenge. Cupid, by accident, scratches himself, with his own dart, and falls in love with Psyche.