'Ode on a Grecian Urn' by John Keats

'Ode on a Grecian Urn' by John Keats


John Keats (1795 – 1821) was one of the ‘second wave’ of English Romantic poets that also included Percy Bysshe Shelley and Lord Byron.  After training as a surgeon, Keats gradually abandoned a medical career in favour of a literary one, his power as a writer finding increasing recognition during his short lifetime. 


The beautiful ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ was written in 1819.  It is a masterpiece and (rightly) considered to be one of the greatest odes in the English language.  Its deliberations – including the advantages and drawbacks of life versus art, and the interplay between them – are set out with such balance that the poem feels both like a polished work of perfection and yet also an unfinished, a never-to-be-finished internal conversation.   Technically extraordinary, it is one of a series of odes in which Keats pushed back the boundaries of the ode form.


The cover illustration for the card was commissioned from Sarah Kirby, an artist and print-maker based at the Leicester Print Workshop.  In 2012 Sarah was granted a prestigious Leverhulme Artist in Residence (AIR) award. She was also artist in residence at the Centre for Urban Studies at the University of Leicester from 2012-2014. 


Free postage in the UK.

  • The words inside...

    Ode on a Grecian Urn


    Thou still unravished bride of quietness,

    Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,

    Sylvan historian, who canst thus express

    A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:

    What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape

    Of deities or mortals, or of both,

    In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?

    What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?

    What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?

    What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?




    by John Keats (1975 - 1821)

  • Some small details about this card

    Small letter stamp in UK. 

    Hand-embossed envelope. 

    Card, envelope and sleeve can be recycled. 

    Card sourced from paper mill in the Lake District, UK.