Genre: ode.
Form: five 10-line stanzas.
Meter: iambic pentameter.
Rhyme scheme: abab(cdecde) (last six lines vary from stanza to stanza; never couplets).

1. This poem was first published in Annals of the Fine Arts, a journal interested mainly in painting and sculpture. Its subject is another work of art (the urn) rather than something natural, like a nightingale. What consequence do these facts have in terms of the meaning and effect of the poem?

2. Compare this poem with Wordsworth's poem based on his contemplation of the landscape near Tintern Abbey. Of course the poems differ, but what differences can you attribute to the difference in type of subject?

3. Who speaks the last two lines of the poem, and to whom? Poet to reader? poet to urn? poet to the figures on the urn? Urn to reader?

[More reading and discussion questions.]

Incorporated in the Victorian Web July 2000