Ode on a Grecian Urn
" is a poem written by the English
in May 1819 and published anonymously in the January 1820, Number 15 issue of the magazine Annals of the Fine Arts. The poem is one of several "
Great Odes of 1819
", which include "
Ode on Indolence
Ode on Melancholy
Ode to a Nightingale
", and "
Ode to Psyche
". Keats found earlier forms of poetry unsatisfactory for his purpose, and the collection represented a new development of the
form. He was inspired to write the poem after reading two articles by English artist and writer
. Keats was aware of other works on classical Greek art, and had first-hand exposure to the
, all of which reinforced his belief that classical Greek art was idealistic and captured Greek virtues, which forms the basis of the poem.
"Ode on a Grecian Urn" was not well received by contemporary critics. It was only by the mid-19th century that it began to be praised, although it is now considered to be one of the greatest odes in the English language. A long debate over the poem's final statement divided 20th-century critics, but most agreed on the beauty of the work, despite various perceived inadequacies.
Sir William Schwenck Gilbert
(18 November 1836 – 29 May 1911) was an English
, poet and illustrator best known for the fourteen
(known as the
) produced in
with the composer Sir
. The most famous of these include
The Pirates of Penzance
, and one of the most frequently performed works in the history of musical theatre,
. These, as well as several of the other Savoy operas, continue to be frequently performed in the English-speaking world and beyond by opera companies, repertory companies, schools and community theatre groups. Lines from these works have become part of the English language, such as "
short, sharp shock
", "What, never? Well, hardly ever!", and "Let the punishment fit the crime".
Gilbert also wrote the
Bab Ballads, an extensive collection of light verse accompanied by his own comical drawings. His creative output included over 75 plays and
libretti, numerous stories, poems, lyrics and various other comic and serious pieces. His plays and
realistic style of stage direction inspired other dramatists, including
Oscar Wilde and
George Bernard Shaw. According to
The Cambridge History of English and American Literature, Gilbert's "lyrical facility and his mastery of metre raised the poetical quality of comic opera to a position that it had never reached before and has not reached since".