“Ode to a Nightingale” by John Keats is among his most personal and longest odes and describes the poet’s voyage into a condition of negative capability. The essential premise of the text explores mortality, humanity, and the natural world and these themes honestly submit to his brother, Tom’s death. The arrangement of this text is made up of 2 types of lyrics, an odal hymn and an inquiring tone that responds to the former hymn, and this combination gives the poem its dramatic characteristic. The ode illustrates the conflict present between Romantic ideals and truth. The largest part or overriding image of this ode is the tone of voice of the nightingale. A metrical unit used in this poem is a spondee with alternate stressed-stressed syllables as in,
“Cool’d a long age in the deep delved earth”
The poem has 8 stanzas each having 10 lines. The dominant rhyme scheme of the poem is ABABCDECDE and hence, is sometimes even linked to the form of sonnets. Each stanza unites a Petrarchan sextet, CDECDE, with that of a Shakespearean quatrain, ABAB.
Keats has used an alternating pattern of short and long vowel form in this ode, as in the following which has 5 pairs of vowel alterations.
“Away! away! for I will fly to thee”
Keats has also heavily relied on the use of assonances in this ode and has incorporated an internal vowel sound repetition for this, as in,
“Already with thee! tender is the night”
Here we find a connection between the “ea” of “Already” and “e” of tender and between “i” of “with” and “i” of “is”.
Keats has also used double and triple caesuras, i.e. a pause or break, in his ode, as in the given, where the pauses following the comas are masculine pauses,
“The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild”
Keats has reduced the use of Latin syntax and words in this ode, thus shortening the length of the expressions dominating the poem. He has also emphasized the words that begin with consonants, like “b”, “v”, and “p”, thus adding a musical tone to the ode.