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Ode To A Nightingale - Poem by John Keats

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thy happiness,---
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.

O for a draught of vintage, that hath been
Cooled a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green,
Dance, and Provencal song, and sun-burnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stained mouth;
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
And with thee fade away into the forest dim:

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
And leaden-eyed despairs;
Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
Or new love pine at them beyond tomorrow.

Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
Clustered around by all her starry fays;
But here there is no light,
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.

I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
Fast-fading violets covered up in leaves;
And mid-May's eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.

Darkling I listen; and for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Called him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstasy!
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain---
To thy high requiem become a sod

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
The same that oft-times hath
Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep
In the next valley-glades:
Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:---do I wake or sleep?


Comments about Ode To A Nightingale by John Keats

  • Gold Star - 61,833 Points Tom Billsborough (5/19/2016 9:38:00 AM)

    If I was to list my ten favourite poems in English at least four of them would be by John Keats. This is one of them for sure. If we count Shakespeare best for plays I think we should leave the field with just one contender for the position of best ever pure poet. Keats. (Report) Reply

    5 person liked.
    10 person did not like.
  • Rookie - 57 Points Brenna Franklin (1/13/2016 2:36:00 PM)

    One of my favorite poems, it catches you and won't let go. The text is I think old English, but has a bit of modern day. I will forever pick this poem apart. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 14,437 Points Seema Jayaraman (9/10/2015 1:05:00 PM)

    This poem I remember from my high school days, I will need to read and reread a few more times... (Report) Reply

Read all 12 comments »

Poems About Ode

  1. 1. Ode To A Nightingale , John Keats
  2. 2. Ode On A Grecian Urn , John Keats
  3. 3. Ode To The West Wind , Percy Bysshe Shelley
  4. 4. Ode To Autumn , John Keats
  5. 5. Ode To Sadness , Pablo Neruda
  6. 6. Ode On Solitude , Alexander Pope
  7. 7. Ode To Wine , Pablo Neruda
  8. 8. Ode To Salt , Pablo Neruda
  9. 9. Ode To The Book , Pablo Neruda
  10. 10. Ode To A Large Tuna In The Market , Pablo Neruda
  11. 11. Ode On Intimations Of Immortality From R.. , William Wordsworth
  12. 12. Ode To Maize , Pablo Neruda
  13. 13. Ode , Joseph Addison
  14. 14. Fragment Of An Ode To Maia , John Keats
  15. 15. Ode To Pity , Jane Austen
  16. 16. Ode On Melancholy , John Keats
  17. 17. Ode To Neptune , Phillis Wheatley
  18. 18. Ode To A Loved One , Sappho
  19. 19. Ode To Psyche , John Keats
  20. 20. Ode On Indolence , John Keats
  21. 21. Ode To Fanny , John Keats
  22. 22. Oxford Cheese Ode , James McIntyre
  23. 23. Ode , John Keats
  24. 24. Dejection: An Ode , Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  25. 25. Ode To Beauty , Ralph Waldo Emerson
  26. 26. Ode On The Mammoth Cheese , James McIntyre
  27. 27. Ode To Meaning , Robert Pinsky
  28. 28. E.P. Ode Pour L'Election De Son Sepulchre , Ezra Pound
  29. 29. Ode On The Death Of A Favourite Cat Drow.. , Thomas Gray
  30. 30. Ode To Duty , William Wordsworth
  31. 31. Plutonian Ode , Allen Ginsberg
  32. 32. Solitude: An Ode , Alexander Pope
  33. 33. Uriconium: An Ode , Wilfred Owen
  34. 34. Ode To Silence , Edna St. Vincent Millay
  35. 35. Ode , Arthur William Edgar O'Shaug ..
  36. 36. Ode Composed On A May Morning , William Wordsworth
  37. 37. Ode On The Spring , Thomas Gray
  38. 38. Ode On A Distant Prospect Of Eton College , Thomas Gray
  39. 39. Ode To Being Five (Children) , C.J. Heck
  40. 40. Ode To A Dressmaker's Dummy , Donald Justice
  41. 41. France: An Ode , Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  42. 42. Despondency -- An Ode , Robert Burns
  43. 43. The Ode Of Ántara (Alternate Translation) , Antarah (Antar) Ibn Shaddad
  44. 44. Ode To H.H. The Nizam Of Hyderabad , Sarojini Naidu
  45. 45. Dairy Ode , James McIntyre
  46. 46. An Ode, On The Death Of Mr. Henry Purcell , John Dryden
  47. 47. Ode , Ralph Waldo Emerson
  48. 48. Ode On Adversity , Mary Darby Robinson
  49. 49. Ode, Composed On A May Morning , William Wordsworth
  50. 50. Recessional (A Victorian Ode) , Rudyard Kipling
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