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by John Keats (1795 - 1821)
Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness
Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness, Thou foster-child of silence and slow time, Sylvan historian, who canst thus express A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme: What leaf-fring'd legend haunts about thy shape Of deities or mortals, or 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 sweet, but those unheard Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on; Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd, Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone: Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare; Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss, Though winning near the goal yet, do not grieve; She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss, For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair! Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu; And, happy melodist, unwearied, For ever piping songs for ever new; More happy love! more happy, happy love! For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd, For ever panting, and for ever young; All breathing human passion far above, That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd, A burning forehead, and a parching tongue. Who are these coming to the sacrifice? To what green altar, O 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 folk, this pious morn? And, little town, thy streets for evermore Will silent be; and not a soul to tell Why thou art desolate, can e'er return. O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede Of marble men and maidens overwrought, With forest branches and the trodden weed; Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral! When old age shall this generation waste, Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st, "Beauty is truth, truth beauty,--that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."
B. Moore sets stanza 3 only
About the headline (FAQ)First published in Annals of the Fine Arts, January 1820 under the title "On a Grecian Urn", signed with a cross, revised same year.
- by John Keats (1795 - 1821), "Ode on a Grecian Urn" [author's text not yet checked against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive):
- by George Antheil (1900 - 1959), "Ode on a Grecian Urn", 1950. [reciter and piano] [text not verified]
- by Ernest Austin , "Ode on a Grecian Urn", 1922. [text not verified]
- by Ronald P. Citron , "Ode on a Grecian Urn", 1976. [narrator, soprano, flute, violin, violoncello, percussion and piano] [text not verified]
- by Gustav Holst (1874 - 1934), "Ode on a Grecian Urn", published 1926. [soprano, SATB chorus, and orchestra] [text not verified]
- by Jack Marius Jarrett (b. 1934), "Ode on a Grecian Urn", 1970. [soprano, baritone, SATB chorus, and orchestra] [text not verified]
- by Philip Napier Miles (1865 - 1935), "Ode on a Grecian Urn", published 1931. [chorus and orchestra] [text not verified]
- by John Mitchell (b. 1941), "Ode On A Grecian Urn", op. 94 (1993). [text verified 1 time]
- by Ben Moore (b. 1960), "Ah, happy, happy boughs", stanza 3 only [voice and piano], from Eight Songs, no. 7. [text not verified]
- by Reginald Chauncey Robbins (1871 - 1955), "Ode on a Grecian Urn", published 1922. [bass or baritone and piano] [text not verified]
- by R. T. Woodman , "Ode on a Grecian Urn", first performed 1920. [text not verified]
Researcher for this text: Victoria Brago
This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 50
Word count: 372