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Word Count: 3,790
Summary of Ode to a Grecian Urn In the first stanza the speaker standing before an ancient Grecian urn addresses the urn preoccupied with its depiction of pictures frozen in time It is the still unravishd bride of quietness the foster-child of silence and slow time He also describes the urn as a historian which can tell a story He wonders about the figures on the side of the urn and asks what legend they depict and where they are from He looks at a picture that seems to depict a group of men pursuing a group of women and wonders what their story could be What mad pursuit What struggle to escape What pipes and timbrels What wild ecstasy In the second stanza the speaker looks at another picture on the urn this time of a young man playing a pipe lying with his lover beneath a glade of trees The speaker says that the pipers unheard melodys are sweeter than mortal melodies because they are unaffected by time He tells the youth that though he can never kiss his lover because he is frozen in time he should not grieve because her beauty will never fade In the third stanza he looks at the trees surrounding the lovers and feels happy that they will never shed their leaves he is happy for the piper because his songs will be for ever new and happy that the love of the boy and the girl will last forever unlike mortal love which lapses into breathing human passion and eventually vanishes leaving behind only a burning forehead and a parching tongue In the fourth stanza the speaker examines another picture on the urn this one of a group of villagers leading a heifer to be sacrificed He wonders where they are going To what green altar O mysterious priest and where they have come from He imagines their little town empty of all its
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