The "Ode on Indolence" is one of five odes composed by English poet John Keats in the spring of 1819. The others were "Ode on a Grecian Urn", "Ode on Melancholy", "Ode to a Nightingale" and "Ode to Psyche". The poem describes the state of indolence, otherwise known as laziness, and was written during a time when he felt that he should devote his efforts to earning an income instead of composing poetry. After finishing the spring poems, Keats wrote in June 1819 that its composition brought him more pleasure than anything else he had written that year. Unlike the other odes he wrote that year, "Ode on Indolence" was not published until 1848 (see 1848 in poetry), 27 years after his death. The poem is an example of Keats's break from the structure of the classical form. It follows the poet's contemplation of a morning spent in idleness. Three figures are presented—Ambition, Love and Poesy—dressed in "placid sandals" and "white robes". The narrator examines each using a series of questions and statements on life and art. The poem concludes with the narrator giving up on having all three of the figures as part of his life. Some critics regard "Ode on Indolence" as inferior to the other four 1819 odes. Others suggest that the poem exemplifies a continuity of themes and imagery characteristic of his more widely read works, and provides valuable biographical insight into his poetic career. (more...)
Matthew Brettingham (1699–1769) was an 18th-century Englishman who rose from humble origins to supervise the construction of Holkham Hall, and eventually became one of the country's better-known architects of his generation. Much of his principal work has since been demolished, particularly his work in London, where he revolutionised the design of the grand townhouse. As a result he is often overlooked today, remembered only for his Palladian remodeling of numerous country houses, many of them situated in the East Anglian area of Britain. As Brettingham neared the pinnacle of his career, Palladianism began to fall out of fashion and neoclassicism was introduced, championed by a young Robert Adam. Brettingham was the second son of Launcelot Brettingham, a bricklayer or stonemason from Norwich, the county town of Norfolk, England. (more...)
The Clock Tower is a turret clock structure at the north-eastern end of the Houses of Parliament building in Westminster, London. It is popularly known as Big Ben, but this name actually belongs to the clock's main bell. The tower has also been referred to as St. Stephen's Tower or The Tower of Big Ben, in reference to its bell.