Caesuras and hyphens in "Ode to a Nightingale"

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Caesuras and hyphens in "Ode to a Nightingale"

Postby Rachel » Fri May 20, 2005 2:55 am

I'm doing a project on Ode to a Nightingale and have to analyze sound in general. If anyone can help me make sense of Keat's use of caesura (how they contribute to the meaning) or what the significance of the many words paired together with a hyphen (musk-rose, Lethe-wards, spectre-thin, fast-fading, self-same, valley-glades, etc.)
I would really appreciate the input of others and feel free to comment on other sonic devices or poetic elements as you wish. I like the poem more and more as I read it over and over again. I especially enjoy the allusions (so if you have any interesting points that I may not have picked up on please share your knowledge.
Thanks, Rachel
A man mined the mountain, wishing to be strong. His wish was granted and he became a mountain himself. Then another man came along and the mountain felt the prick of a pick ax as the other man began to mine him - From a Japanese folktale
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Postby Saturn » Sat May 21, 2005 10:03 am

I don't know much about his use of caesuras but the combined words are often reffered to as "Huntisms" because these compound words were frequently employed by Keats' friend and fellow poet James Leigh Hunt in his own poetry which was derided as part of the "Cockney" school by dismissive critics of the time.

Hunt himself, and his poetry and political writings in The Examiner magazine were very influential on Keats early work before he broke free of his influence and began to develop his own personal style.
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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"Today we have the nameing of parts"

Postby regwhite » Sat May 21, 2005 5:48 pm

In Albion was there a voice heard,
lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning,
Johnny weeping for his poems,
and would not be comforted,
because they are not.

Take a bird, any bird, (a nightingale will do);
Rip off its head, tear open its throat. Behold.

See that trembling tissue; see that throbbing nerve;
See that pulsing tube of shining corpuscles.
See that quivering cord, its notes all stilled;
Lo! How beautiful is its song upon thy table!

Johnny’s tired little song –
A diddle, not a poem –
Intended for his eyes to see—
And never meant for autopsy.
Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye
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