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URGENT HELP on a few lines of Ode To Psyche

PostPosted: Thu May 25, 2006 5:32 pm
by Bright Star
Hi. Wish I could write more in this first post - but I have no time!

So am going to have to skip writing an intro and about the forum and about Keats in general today.

I am finishing a University essay right now and I became a little stuck on Ode to Psyche. I'm trying to finish the work off and submit it and so am working like crazy at Uni right now before I leave.

'No voice, no lute, no pipe, no incense sweet
From chain-swung censer teeming;
No shrine, no globe, no oracle, no heat
Of pale-mouthed prophet dreaming'.

I want to know about the repetition of 'no' in the above lines and I am hoping that there is someone out there who can connect it in some way somehow to this paragraph of my essay, which I give here:

Ode to Psyche can be linked to the subject matter of the idea that the soul is developed and becomes individualised through suffering: As Keats wrote:

Do you not see how necessary a World of Pains and troubles is to school an Intelligence and make it a soul? A Place where the heart must feel and suffer in a thousand diverse ways! (Keats: 1810)

Psyche in ‘Ode to Psyche’ can be interpreted as representing the soul, Psyche being the Greek for breath, and therefore, for life or the soul itself. Psyche can also be interpreted as ‘imagination’. Psyche, like imagination, ‘crosses the boundary separating the mortal and the immortal, the transitory and the eternal, because she has been both mortal and immortal’. In this is again seen the importance of the idea of death – it is a concept which precipitates a search for something that transcends it in some way - a philosophical exploration. Keats sees the world as a place of suffering but takes this on with the idea that it develops and cleanses the soul. Here is the beginning of the exploration of life and its nature – and it leads also to the consideration of death, with the place of the soul in these considerations.

Not sure about the last bit and teh paragraph needs polishing and editing but I need to work out what those lines of the poem are saying and then try and link the use of the word 'no' in with the theme and claims of my essay paragraph above.

Haven't got time to write more...hope someone can help. By the way, my essay is on 'the importance of the idea of death’ with reference to Keats' poems.

I have focused on the other more obvious poems to tackle this but I have written about the concordance of the word 'no' (it occurs 14 times in total or something in his Odes) as being indicative of Keats looking upon real life in a poignantly meditative and perturbed sense - the perturbation prompted by death and life’s transitory nature because of it. The trouble is some of the lines with the use of the word 'no' come in 'Ode to Psyche' and so you see how I'm trying to connect it, otherwise my work will be weak there.

Thanks. Hope it makes sense. Any help appreciated.

Am working on essay now and will be done in the next hour if someone can post before then...

PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2006 4:47 am
by dks
Damn. I'm sure you've had to finish your essay by now...

Interesting that you pick "Ode to Psyche" as it is probably the earliest written that famous Spring and it is the least like the others in that it includes a thematic element which borders on religiosity; since you asked for insight with regard to his utilization of the negative ("no") I'll integrate that into my comments and interpretations. This ode is Keats's definitve "no" to organized religion, for sure--the stanza you quoted emphasizes this squarely--Keats was adamant in his distrust and disbelief in religion--this stanza says "no" to all the ceremonial, old world (primarily Catholic) religious rites-- as it is his "no" to giving up inspiration or poesy, as it is also his "no" to surrendering that glorious "blank amazement" he once felt and wrote about in earlier works ("I Stood Tip-Toe") where he could catapult himself into another state without grafting any thought or philosophy onto it--here in this ode he actually 'sees' the Cupid and Psyche come alive before him--it is a vision he has that makes the assertion that he will not give up the ultimate "wonder of discovery" that helped shape him as a poet. This ode captures his matured sense of vision and by then "full ripened" genius in expressing these 'waking dreams'--I could go on and on, but I think I'll stop here as it's late and I'm droopy--maybe it's the wine...

Have I mentioned today to anyone how much I LOVE John Keats?? :wink:

PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2006 10:27 am
by Saturn
dks wrote:Have I mentioned today to anyone how much I LOVE John Keats?? :wink:

No, never...really?? :lol:

PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2006 2:25 pm
by dks
Saturn wrote:
dks wrote:Have I mentioned today to anyone how much I LOVE John Keats?? :wink:

No, never...really?? :lol:

:lol: :lol:

I just don't know how to temper it...


PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2006 10:19 pm
by Bright Star
Thank you, Dks, for your post. It was really helpful. I was working on another essay at the same time for a different module - you know, trying to get that done as well as the Keats' essay, working double - so in the end, I finished the other one off and submitted it and left the Keats' one to submit the next day so I could think over it a final time. So what you wrote was really helpful, because it gave me ideas...

What you posted was really well written I thought.

Anyway, it's the weekend but still working away ~ sigh ~I've promised myself a treat when this torture of deadlines is over.

But thank you again! I really appreciate it.

Yours gratefully,

a drowning in deadlines student

PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2006 5:29 am
by dks
I'm so glad I could help at's a labor of love, you know... :wink: