Thursday, October 27, 2022

What is an ode? Consider Ode to the West Wind' as an ode and compare it with other odes - particularly the odes of Keats included in your syllabus.

Ans. The word Ode is simply the Greek for 'song, and was applied by the Greeks to any kind of poetic composition that was written to be sung to music, from a dirge to drinking song - that is to say, to any kind to lyric verse. The Greek idea of lyric poetry was simply "poetry written to be sung to music", i.e., the lyric. Greek odes were of two kinds: those written for a single voice, such as the lyrics of Sappho and Alcaeus, and those written for a choir, of which the best examples are the Odes of Pindar. The former were regular and fairly simple in metre, the latter highly elaborate.

The great English writers of odes before Shelley and Keats were Spenser, Milton, Dryden, Gray, Collins and Wordsworth. The idea of musical accompaniment was lost. It is now applied to one type of lyric poetry. So the definition may be restated as "a lyric poem of elaborate metrical structure, solemn in tone, and usually taking the form of an address", very often to some abstraction or quality.

English odes fall roughly into three classes: regular and Pindaric, regular and simple, and irregular. Gray's Progress of Poesy and The Bard belong to the first group. To the second group belong Spenser's Four Hymns, Milton's Nativity Hymn. Collins' Ode to Evening. To the third group belong Spenser's Epithalamion and Prothalamion, Dryden's Song for Saint Cecilia's Day and Alexander's Feast and Wordsworth's Ode on the Intimations of Immortality.

Shelley's To a Skylark and Ode to the West Wind are written in regular stanzas. Keats' odes are also written in regular stanzas. They consist of a group of stanzas of highly complex structure, but regular, or nearly regular, in their resemblance to one another. Ode to a Nightingale consists of regular stanzas of ten lines each: all lines are lambic Pentameter except the eighth in each stanza, which is Iambic Trimeter. The last line of the second stanza is an Alexandrine i.e., Iambic Hexameter. The Ode to the West Wind is an ode of regular type-stanza consisting of fourteen lines with intricate rhyme scheme ending with a couplet. The poem has the solemn grandeur, the stately march of music that characterise the ode. But by its intense personal note, its sweep of elemental passion and magnificent self-revelation, it is a lyric. Keats' Ode to a Nightingale, like Shelley's Ode to the West Wind is a lyric par excellence, rather than the formal type of the ode. It is a poem of genuine personal emotion, enshrining the longings that wring the poet's inmost soul. Ode to Autumn has, however, the objectivity and equable temper of an ode. Here subjective element is totally absent and the poet has made his imaginative surrender to Autumn. Keats, like the Greeks personifies Autumn in the figures of the reaper, the gleaner, cider-maker and a musician. Shelley's Ode to a Skylark is characterised by intense personal emotion than an ode.

No comments:

Post a Comment