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Ceremonious lyric poem on an occasion of dignity in which personal emotion and universal themes are united. The form is usually marked by exalted feeling and style, varying line length, and complex stanza forms. The term ode derives from a Greek word alluding to a choric song, usually accompanied by a dance. Forms of odes include the Pindaric ode, written to celebrate public events such as the Olympic games, and the form associated with Horace, whose intimate, reflective odes have two- or four-line stanzas and polished metres. Both were revived during the Renaissance and influenced Western lyric poetry into the 20th century. The ode (qasidah) also flourished in pre-Islamic Arabic poetry.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on ode, visit Britannica.com.