Summary of “Ode on Indolence” by John Keats
The poem, “Ode on Indolence” is a beautiful ode composed by John Keats. In the poem, the poet’s imaginative power is at its heights.
In the first stanza, he tells that he has a vision in the morning in which he comes across three figures wearing white robes. They are passing by him. They look as if they were the figures made on a marble urn. These three figures do not appear together at the same time. If he is observing the one figure, the other disappears. They are moving as if the urn were being turned around.
In the second stanza, the poet doubts their appearance and addresses them. He thinks that perhaps they have appeared to steal his ‘idle days.’ He tells them how he has spent his morning before they appear before him. He asks them why they have not vanished to leave him in his state of ‘nothingness.’
In the third stanza, the poet becomes anxious and decides to follow them. He is able to recognize them. He has found at last what actually they are. These three fissures are love, ambition and poetry.
In the fourth stanza, we see that the figures disappear. But the poet wishes to follow them. No doubt, he is aware of the fact that it is foolishness to follow them because these figures have no solution to the problems that a man faces. Love cannot last longer. Ambition has also very short existence. In the same way, poetry does not have the ability of having a competition with the joys of lazy days untroubled by busy common sense.
In the fifth stanza, we see that the poet is disturbed to see that the figures have come back. He again narrates how he has spent the morning before their arrival. He openly declares to these figures that their departure has actually disappointed them not the poet because they have utterly failed in rousing his passions.
In the last stanza, the poet says them ‘good-bye.’ He again openly tells them that all the three figures i.e love, ambition and poetry are not worthy of making him raise his indolent head. He further says that he has already had plenty of visions. He means to say that they should vanish and never come back.
To be brief, with his imaginative faculty and the use of sensuous language, the poet has made the poem a master-piece. With the help of unique and exemplary imagery, he has made idleness a positive thing for a young man who is not ready to leave it and is happy to live with it. (Words: 435)