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Romanticism in John Keats' Ode on Melancholy

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The Romantic period was about the beautiful things in life. How nature was beautiful and people should notest and take that into consideration more. To be able to appreciate nature and what it has to offer. John Keats captures that in Ode on Melancholy. How people should look at nature and beauty and not flu ya on problems and death; everything wrong with the world.

Ode on Melancholy was only three stanzas long, it is the shortest of the Ode’s that John Keats wrote. It had a different form and also style from all the other Odes. It had not been written in the first person like the rest of the Ode’s. In his poem he was giving advice from his own experiences to the people who were suffering. Keats was mainly explaining how to deal with the sadness one feels. He wrote about what not to do when you are feeling sad and miserable. “For its poisonous wine; Nor suffer thy pale forehead…” Do not let yourself suffer for anything no matter how big or small it. To not let that thing make you suffer or feel devastated, to never let your soul go dark. John Keats tells the reader that they should not have bad thoughts such as suicide or to become obsessed with death and objects such as that. “Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud, That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,” down comes a cloud that may cloud our judgment and keep us from seeing what we should and the beauty of our surroundings (Keats p.981). The beautiful flowers that lay in the meadow that one can not see because of the cloud that is blocking your view. Then he explains what they should do in situations where one feels unhappy. Instead of feeling gloomy and miserable they should go and do things that make them feel hopeful and overcome that sadness. “Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose, Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,” People should not be caught up in their problems and death like situations but look at the bright side of things. To look at the beauty and everything nice and sweet that life has to offer. Keats talks about how the pain one feels and pleasure are both emotions that can be linked together and people do not knowdess that.

Ode on Melancholy was not published when John Keats was alive but twenty-seven years after his death. They assume that Ode on Melancholy was written during the month of May, although no one is actually certain it is the real date, they just go based on observations. Ode on Melancholy had a piece that was taken out as part of the poem. It was the first stanza that was taken out. It was removed prior to the publication. Keats has later cancelled that stanza probably because it was unnecessary. He was probably trying to remove anything he thought should not be included in the poem so it can sound better and get his point across. This poem is not simply associated with emotions but also with the hidden truth of cruel logic of human desire and fulfillment. It could be said that his writing was reflected off of his frustration toward the relationship he could not have with Fanny Brawne. He could have felt that he could never have anything happen with her because of the career he had and soon his health would also get in the way of him ever attempting to have a relationship with her. This would have been the perfect reason to write this particular poem. He felt miserable and he had to learn how to control it and make it into something positive. That is how he was writing from experience and how he could give advice to people in a similar situation as his.

John Keats was born on October 31, 1795 and died on February 23, 1821 he lived a very short life of twenty-six years. He lived in London where he was a stableman. His mother was not the best mother out there she had left small eight year old Keats with his brothers and sister that were all left with their grandmother and she did not return for four years. All of this was consequence to their father having a very bad fall that killed him and their mother marrying right after the event happened. When his mother came back she was very ill and she did not last long until she died from tuberculosis. Before his father had that accident John Keats had gone to a school Reverend John Clarke’s private school at Enfield. At that school, he had a mentor where he got the inspiration to read and write from Charles Cowden Clark. That same mentor helped him get out there in the world of poetry by him introducing him to different people. John Keats did not start to write poetry until the year 1816. He had felt that he would die soon so he was completely committed to his poetry.

The Romantic Period was a movement of people trying to prove that nature is everything a human needs and can solve many problems. John Keats captures the aspects of nature and everything life has to offer. How ones problems should not get in the way and clouding your judgment toward nature. Everyone should look at the flowers in the meadow and breath positivity.

Works Cited

  1. “An Introduction to ‘Ode on Melancholy’.” The British Library,27 Mar. 2014,
  2. Greenblatt, Stephen , ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 10Th ed. Vol. 2 (D-F). New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2012,”John Keats,” p. 950-952.
  3. Greenblatt, Stephen , ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. 10Th ed. Vol. 2 (D-F). New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2012,”Ode on Melancholy,” p. 981-982.
  4. Hough, Graham Goulder. “John Keats.” Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 21 Aug. 2019,
  5. “John Keats.” Poetry Foundation,  

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