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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 - 30,672 Points Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (3/12/2015 2:57:00 AM)

    I have already read this poem and enjoyed in heart and soul. A very good poem of the great poet. (Report) Reply

    2 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • Veteran Poet - 1,428 Points Sagnik Chakraborty (10/6/2014 2:21:00 AM)

    This ode is certainly one of Keats's best: a pining for perfection and joy, expressed through beautiful, sensuous verse. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Denis Prosser (12/30/2013 8:08:00 PM)

    Just brilliant poetry (Report) Reply

Read all 7 comments »

Poems About Pastoral

  1. 1. Ode To A Nightingale , John Keats
  2. 2. Ode On A Grecian Urn , John Keats
  3. 3. Lines Composed A Few Miles Above Tintern.. , William Wordsworth
  4. 4. A Promise To California , Walt Whitman
  5. 5. à Bas Ben Adhem , Ogden Nash
  6. 6. Meditations In An Emergency , Frank O'Hara
  7. 7. A Dream , Matthew Arnold
  8. 8. An Evening Walk, Addressed To A Young Lady , William Wordsworth
  9. 9. Michael: A Pastoral Poem , William Wordsworth
  10. 10. American Feuillage , Walt Whitman
  11. 11. Arcades , John Milton
  12. 12. Elegiac Stanzas , William Wordsworth
  13. 13. Courtship Of Miles Standish, The , Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  14. 14. The Scholar-Gipsy , Matthew Arnold
  15. 15. The Wreck Of The Deutschland , Gerard Manley Hopkins
  16. 16. Yarrow Visited , William Wordsworth
  17. 17. The Witch Of Atlas , Percy Bysshe Shelley
  18. 18. Epipsychidion (Excerpt) , Percy Bysshe Shelley
  19. 19. After The Poet's Death , Daniel Brick
  20. 20. In Country Sleep , Dylan Thomas
  21. 21. Song Of The Broad-Axe , Walt Whitman
  22. 22. Starting From Paumanok , Walt Whitman
  23. 23. Paradise Lost: Book 11 , John Milton
  24. 24. The First Kiss Of Love , George Gordon Byron
  25. 25. Tuscany , Victoria Sackville-West
  26. 26. Abraham , Edwin Muir
  27. 27. Gertrude Of Wyoming , Thomas Campbell
  28. 28. Obermann Once More , Matthew Arnold
  29. 29. The Ox Tamer , Walt Whitman
  30. 30. In France , Francis Ledwidge
  31. 31. Book Eighth: Retrospect--Love Of Nature .. , William Wordsworth
  32. 32. Music , Henry Van Dyke
  33. 33. Self-Criticism In February , Robinson Jeffers
  34. 34. Under The Poplars , Cesar Vallejo
  35. 35. The Star-Apple Kingdom , Derek Walcott
  36. 36. Repentance , William Wordsworth
  37. 37. Distant Hills , John Clare
  38. 38. ***dying Of Time*** , Ian Bowen
  39. 39. The Gods Of Greece , Friedrich Schiller
  40. 40. The Burden Of Itys , Oscar Wilde
  41. 41. Don Juan: Canto The Fourteenth , George Gordon Byron
  42. 42. Fragment Of An Ode To Canada , Duncan Campbell Scott
  43. 43. Book Tenth {residence In France Continued] , William Wordsworth
  44. 44. Immolated , Herman Melville
  45. 45. Wild Bees , John Clare
  46. 46. Canto Iii , Ezra Pound
  47. 47. The Shepherds Calendar - July , John Clare
  48. 48. Book Seventh [residence In London] , William Wordsworth
  49. 49. The Artists , Friedrich Schiller
  50. 50. *635 Milk The Elixir Of Life , John Knight
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