Ode (poem)

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The Ode (from ancient Greek ᾠδή Ode , German , song, singing ' ) is a form of poetry , the solemn and by particularly sublime distinguished style.


In ancient Greece , any lyric that was performed to accompany music was called an ode, including monody and choral song . The highlights of the genre in Greek are the Odes of Pindar , in Latin the Odes of Horace .

In humanism and baroque too , the ode generally referred to a song-like, strophic poem. Based on antiquity (cf. anthem ), attempts were made to imitate thematically and stylistically famous Latin models in the national languages. The first modern odes from the middle of the 16th century come from France ( Pierre de Ronsard , Joachim du Bellay ), Italy ( Torquato Tasso ) and England ( Abraham Cowley ). In the German-speaking area, Georg Rodolf Weckherlin ( Oden und Gesänge , 1618/19) and Martin Opitz were the first to take up the form again.

The ode was only given a more specific definition towards the end of the 18th century, when it was distinguished from simple song by its high style. In the German Enlightenment ( Johann Christoph Gottsched , Albrecht von Haller ), philosophical and moral issues dominated. The odes by Friedrich Gottlieb Klopstock , published in 1771 and who experimented primarily with rhyming Horazi ode forms, formed a first high point . Odes increasingly also expressed emotions.

In their artistic form and solemn language, Friedrich Hölderlin's odes, written around 1800, are distinctly different from the song as understood by the Romantics. In the further course of literary history the importance of the odenform increased despite some attempts at revival, e.g. B. by authors of the 19th ( August von Platen ) or the 20th century ( Rudolf Borchardt , Josef Weinheber ), steadily decreases.


There is usually no end rhyme in an ode ; it is a long form of the poem divided into regular stanzas . An ode can follow a fixed meter , but this is not absolutely necessary. The most common odes are the Alkean Stanza , Sapphic Stanza, and Asclepiadean Stanza , each consisting of four verses . The latter is most commonly used in German poetry. The Archilochian stanza , the Hipponactic stanza and odes in Ionikus are rarer .

In keeping with the dignity and size of the subject dealt with in the ode, a high, pathetic style of speech is usually used. The ode is closely related to the form of the hymn .

Famous odes

State of research

Since Karl Viëtor's “Musterbuch für eine Geschichte der Gattungsform” History of the German Ode (1923), no monograph has appeared in the German-speaking area that traces the lines of development of this form of poetry in the sense of a genre history and takes current literary discourses into account.


  • Dieter Burdorf: Art. "Ode, Odenstrophe" . In: Reallexikon der Deutschen Literaturwissenschaft . Vol. 2: HO. Edited by Harald Fricke u. a. Berlin, New York 2000. pp. 735-739.
  • Georg Guntermann: On the achievement of a poetic form. Changes of the Ode in the 18th century. In: Enlightenment . Edited by Hans-Friedrich Wesseis. Königstein 1984. pp. 183-205.
  • Karl-Günther Hartmann: The humanistic ode composition in Germany . Erlangen 1976. * Hellmuth, Hans-Heinrich: Joachim Schroeder (Hrsg.): The doctrine of the imitation of the ancient meter in German . Munich 1976.
  • Dieter Janik: History of the Ode and the “Stances” from Ronsard to Boileau . Berlin u. a. 1968.
  • Lars Korten: Art. "Ode" . In: Metzler Lexicon Literature. Terms and definitions. Edited by Dieter Burdorf u. a. 3rd edition Stuttgart, Weimar 2007. pp. 549-551.
  • Ulrich Schödlbauer: Odenform and free verse . In: Literary Yearbook. New episode 23 (1982). Pp. 191-206.
  • Karl Viëtor : History of the German Ode. Munich 1923 (reprint Hildesheim 1961).

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Ode  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Kurt Schlueter: The English Ode. Studies of their development under the influence of the ancient hymn. Bonn 1964.
  2. ^ Gerhard Alois Pfohl : Epigrammphilologie. In: Specialized prose research - Crossing borders. Volume 8/9, 2012/2013, pp. 177-188, here: p. 177.