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Creating Meaning in Ode to a Nightingale

            The poem "Ode to a Nightingale" by the romantic poet John Keats is about a man sitting alone outside at night listening to a nightingale sing somewhere in the woods. As he listens to the nightingale's song he laments about how he wishes he could leave the world he belongs to and become a part of the nightingale's world. The poem creates this meaning through strong imagery, rhyme, and allusions to common mystical images that were well-known in the time period, all of which can be found in the fourth stanza of the poem. .
             The fourth stanza of the poem is filled with a lot of strong imagery. Keats describes flying to the nightingale on "the viewless wings of Poesy" (Keats line 33). "Poesy" is another word for poetry and the wings with which poetry will carry him to the bird on are "viewless" - they can't be seen. He describes the world of the nightingale as having "verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways" (Keats 40). It's a world that is very green but he also describes it as having "no light, Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown" (Keats 38). The nightingale's world is dark except for the light "from heaven," from the sky above filtering down through the leaves of the trees in the forest. The world sounds very beautiful with the mossy paths and the light from the stars and the moon coming in slightly which may explain one reason why the speaker wishes to leave his own world behind. .
             It is interesting in this stanza to follow the rhyme pattern, as it allows the reader to make many new connections between lines. For example line 32 mentions Bacchus and ends with "his pards." Bacchus was the god of wine and the last word of that line, "pards" rhymes with the last word of line 34 which is "retards." What does wine do to one's senses but dull them? Another example would be that Keats rhymes the word "night" on the end of line 35 with the word "light" on the end of line 38.

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