What is ode? meaning, origin and example

The Ode was originally chorals songs, often comparatively long, describing in elaborately formal language the feats of a God or a hero. The terms ode is now usually reserved for a long lyric poem, serious in the subject, elevated in style and elaborate in stanza structure.

 it now calls to mind the lyric which is public in its proclamations.  sir Edmunds Goose in the introduction to his English odes has described a fixed purpose and dealing progressively with one dignified theme,”   and in the words of goodman

the cold is a lyric poem that expresses exalted or enthusiastic emotion in respect of a theme which is dignified, and it does so in a metrical form which is as a rule complex or irregular. An ode is expected to show an unusually free flow of feeling and imagery;  in view of this the poet,  who must be full of his subject, if he has any real warmth of genius,  will sing without restaurant or control and the structure of his verse will be such as I will allow him to do so.

The new English dictionary defines it as “  a rimed lyrics, often in the form of an address, generally dignified or exalted in the subject. that the ode is not specifically differentiated by any constant feature or combination of features, from other kinds of lyrics.  the term is in fact and more ambiguous one and there has always been an extreme diversity of opinion regarding the characteristics.

Origin of the Ode

Talking about the origin of these forms of poetry,  Shipley observes that the Greek melos or song got diversified Into forms of lyric and ode. The Ode however More elaborate in workmanship than the pure lyric.  it is also longer because it depends partly on its appeal in the orderly e development of its theme.

Features of the Ode

  1. one of the main features of the Ode is the dignity of its subject matter. Whatever may be its subject be it an experience or feeling or an external object- it must be dignified and exalted. Wordsworth’s ode on intimations immortality deals with the immensity of the child soul. 
  2. The second main feature of An Ode is it’s being generally in the form of an address. the ode is generally addressed directly to the thing it deals with. but we must remember that the ode is not the only form of poetry that processes with characteristic.  there are many lyrics (for example Wordsworth’s  London 1802, which is composed at Neidpath  Castle etc. 
  3. the third future and perhaps the most important feature of the ode is its leisurely.  Slow winding moment and it is his feature which distinguishes it from the lyric proper it which is characterized by rocket-like a moment. Again while the lyric is marked by a concentration of thought the ode is characterised by the diffusion of the same.
  4. The fourth feature of the ode and the one which distinguishes it from the lyric proper is its overelaborate and spacious planning. in some odes, the elaboration of thought or feeling is carried to such a length that a poem within the poem comes into existence.

in his Ode, on the intermediation of immortality e Wordsworth elaborates his idea of a child’s glorious birth and divine heritage so much that some independent poem might be said to have been born. in odd to the west wind Shelley deals,  in great length with the Mighty Power of the west wind.

The last stanza of the ode may be easily read as an independent poem.  we may also read the second and third stanza each as a self-sufficing poem if we only e substitute West wind for thou.

The other feature of the ode it’s musically quality. in spite of its long spacious planning, and elephant-like( slowly lazily)  moment it is metrical arrangement is such as to produce on us an effect similar to that of music.

Kinds of Ode

  1. Pindaric Ode
  2.  Horatian odes

What is Pindaric Ode

such odes also called Dorian odes so called from the district and dialect in which they arose.  it was Pindar,  the ancient Greek poet,  who use the form most brilliantly. e that is why it is known as the Pindaric ode.  the structure of this type was borrowed from the movement of the dancers.  the stanzas of the  Pindaric ode are multiple of 3 because it consists of three parts which together are called a triad.  

the first stanza of the triad is known as the strophe. During its recitation, of this part, the Chhori dancer made a turn from the right to the left off the stage.  it is followed by another stanza similar to the first one in form. this second stanza called antistrophe.

During its Recitation the Chorus made a counter turn from the left to the right. the third stanza Epode Is always different in structure from the previous two. during the Recitation of this stanza, the dancers Stood Still.  this sequence of Strophe antistrophe and Epode Could be repeated any number of times.

Pindar’s odes were economists written to praise and glorify someone. Gray’s “The Bird “and “The Progress of Poesy” are examples of this kind of ode.

Horatian Ode 

The second type of Ode was the Horatian ode. Actually, it was Horace who popularized this form and it served as a model for English imitators so this form came to be known as the Horatian ode. It is also called lesbian ode.  this name came from the island of Lesbon where it is originally Flourished. This form is much similar to the Pindaric ode.

It consists of a number of short stanzas similar in length and arrangement. the treatment is direct and dignified and the heart is clearly developed. this type of ode was also Greek in origin but is known by the name of Horace. A Roman writer says “ in contrast to the passion and visionary boldness of Pindar’s odes, Horatian odes are calm. meditative and restrained and they are usually home-strophic.”

Ode in English Literature

Except for a few attempts in the Pindaric form and the Horatian form, odes in English literature have followed their own course in regard to their content as well as style treatment as Outlook.  the English odes or are usually called an irregular ode, And this form was first introduced in 1656 by Abraham Cowley.

 actually, he sought to construct his odes on the model of Pindar without having correctly e understood the system upon which the Dorian Odes were build up. For Cowley and his followers, the Pindaric Odes appeared irregular or lax in verse and arrangement while the reality e was quite the opposite to it.  They could not comprehend the fact that there is nothing more regular than the ode of Pindar and they are also composed in elaborate measures and that this verse maintains a real consistency. 

In English literature, some regular odes are also written i.e the ones consisting of series of similar stanzas like the odes of Shelly and Keats but mainly irregular ones,  in which each stanza follows a different arrangement of Varying line length, number of lines and rhyme scheme I have found favour with the English poets. in this type of irregular Ode stanzaic structure altars freely in accordance with the shifts in subject or mood. Wordsworth immortality ode or several of the Ode of Tennyson and Robert Bridges are represented examples.

 at the dawn of  Renaissance stands  Spenser who pend a well-known ode name Prothalamion  A Type of ode between the regular and the irregular based on a single type of elaborate strophe with the elaborate rhyme scheme. since then the English ode has coursed along The three tunnels described above i.e monostrophic odes verse irregulars ode and pindar’s Heroic odes. At the time it merged with the stream of the lyric grey in his short odes. Keats, Collins, and Swinburne all the practitioners of the monostrophic odes. 

 after the restoration, Cowley’s odes became very popular and Dryden wrote several of the best of this style in the language e.g. “ Alexander’s feast”  ‘a song for St.Cecilia’s Day’ etc.