What Does Ode Mean

The word ‘Ode’ comes from the Greek word ‘aeidein’ meaning ‘to sing’ or ‘chant’. An Ode is a odelyric poem in praise of something or someone.

Originally it was accompanied by music & dance but later it was reserved by the Romantic Poets to express their sentiments. An ode can be serious or humorous but in all instances, it is thoughtful. Poet explores the important aspects of the thing being praised or makes keen observations about the person. Ode is almost always in rhyme & longer than lyric’s proper.


Ø Relatively speaking, ode is the longest of all lyric forms.

Ø The poet apostrophizes a person or a thing. Ode is always in the form of an address to an absent person or thing.

Ø The ode always expresses lofty & noble sentiments.

Ø Tone of an ode is always formal. Style is very elevated.

Ø It has very elaborate & complex stanzaic structure.


Historically there are following three types of odes-

1)    PINDARIC ODES:- Pindar, an ancient Greek poet invented the ode. His poems were originally set to music & they followed a strict format. A poem written in this format is called a ‘Pindaric Ode’.

Pindaric odes have three sections, the strophe, the anti-strophe & the epode. These sections are made up of stanzas with same rhythm & rhyme pattern.

2)    HORATIAN ODES:- Classical Roman odes are called Horatian odes. This type of ode is named after the poet Horace. These are often more intimate & personal than Pindaric odes. Whereas Pindaric odes were written in the praise of people, places or events, Horatian odes are written in praise of a friend.

3)  IRREGULAR ODES:- In general, irregular odes are synonymous with English odes. Poets in England developed the irregular ode in 17th century. These English odes combine the Pindaric & Horatian form, along with the new innovations. This type of poem is more emotional & personal than its predecessors.

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