What Keats Had in Mind

Mon Feb 12, 2007

An answer to these queries came to me last summer as I stood looking at the Roman aqueduct at Tarragona, which, after so many centuries, still lifts its simple tawny arches against the pale-blue sky. The men who laid these stones, I thought, and the many generations who followed them, were in the main absorbed with gaining money, position, and pleasure; they gave their time to politics, to ambition, to love, and to the petty affairs of the neighborhood. All these are gone; yet this simple useful work, so honest, so strongly built, so satisfying to the eye, abides.

“Concerning the “‘Ode on a Grecian Urn,’” Raymond D. Havens. Modern Philology 24 (1926): 214.