15 de mayo de 2009


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-fringed 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, unwearièd,
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 its 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.'

6 comentarios:

Lidia 5º C dijo...

When we are visiting an archaelogical museum and we gaze at vessels, urns, ornaments from old civilizations, we try to imagine what this objects can have witnessed and what they want to tell us. Very beautiful this romantic poem.

Paloma dijo...

The poem is quite difficult to understand and I’ve needed three days and two dictionaries to catch the meaning. I’ll summarise what I’ve understood, although I’m not sure whether I’m right. First of all the poet is speaking with a carved urn and with the figures sculpted on its surface. There seems to be two different scenes, the first one would be a mythological one, or at least something very similar, because the poet is not sure whether the people are gods or humans or both. In this scene there are people dancing and others playing old types of flutes, the same we usually see in Greek engravings. There are trees and also some people, of which the poet thinks they are lovers. The second scene is a procession; people coming from a citadel are going to attend the sacrifice of a calf decorated with garlands and with its mouth wide open, with makes the poet think “she” is mooing.
In I the poet speaks with the closed urn and shows the quietness and eternity it belongs to, then he begins to speak about what it’s seen around it, the tale this urn tells us and how vivid the scene is. He inquires where this scene is taken place or what does it really mean.
In II he speaks first abut the music we may imagine coming out of the pipes and how beautiful it is, and then he talks with a young lover forever in love with his petrified beloved. He’ll never kiss her, but he’ll always be in love with her and she’ll always be fair, because the carved scene will never change.
In III the poet speaks again with the unchanged trees, living an eternal Spring, with the musician, playing for ever new songs according with the imagination of those looking at him, and whit the perfect eternal carved love, comparing this with the real one.
In IV we are told about the sacrifice of the calf, the people coming to it and the town they belong to.
An, finally, in V the poet tells the urn about its eternity and how it will show to the next generations the meaning of beauty.
Lidia your are right, I feel the same when being in museums. I agree with you, the poem is difficutl but very beautiful.

Carmen dijo...

A very good job, Paloma!
The poem is a masterpiece, the poet uses the urn, which has been one for so long, to think about mortality and immortality, that´s what makes it so beatiful. There are some wonderful images like that of the lovers for ever wishing to kiss and forever incapable of achieving it which also represents the essence of everlasting love, which is so because it is not fulfilled.
"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!"

Jesus A1B dijo...

So complicated a poem! In vain I struggled (like Mr. Darcy) in order to grasp the main meaning of the text. I was able o catch a glimpse of the main images, but I couldn´t identify any story line which do as a conection of every stanza. If I had to select one part, it would be
"Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu"

I think will try again, because I am still disconcerted about the fliying-lowing heifer!

Jesus A1B dijo...

I feel so clumpsy! I finally understood what the heifer lowing at the skies means!

It seems to be much easier after the Marta's review.

It is great to realize how sensitive poets can be, to create a brand new world of images and metaphores from an object which probably would be unappreciated by the rest (at least for me). In my opinion the most appealing thing is that it does not matter whether the urn is beauty and interesting or not, but it is his particular view. It was the same with the dafodils landscape poem: it may not be as beatuiful as it is described, but it shows precisly the mood of the writer.

marta dijo...

Jesús, thank you for calling me THE MARTA!!!,the urn is beautiful or not.
You have now understood the poem perfectly I see, it is that exactly. It is not how things are but the way we see them.
I´m very glad that you can, of course a little guidance helps, but so it does always.

Wilkie Collins

Wilkie Collins