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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 - 84,938 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

    19 person liked.
    26 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 - 14,440 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 To Autumn , John Keats
  3. 3. Ode On Solitude , Alexander Pope
  4. 4. Ode On A Grecian Urn , John Keats
  5. 5. Ode To The West Wind , Percy Bysshe Shelley
  6. 6. Ode On Melancholy , John Keats
  7. 7. Ode To Wine , Pablo Neruda
  8. 8. Ode To Neptune , Phillis Wheatley
  9. 9. Ode To The Book , Pablo Neruda
  10. 10. Ode To Salt , Pablo Neruda
  11. 11. Ode To Sadness , Pablo Neruda
  12. 12. Ode To Beauty , Ralph Waldo Emerson
  13. 13. Ode To A Loved One , Sappho
  14. 14. Ode On Intimations Of Immortality From R.. , William Wordsworth
  15. 15. Plutonian Ode , Allen Ginsberg
  16. 16. Ode To A Large Tuna In The Market , Pablo Neruda
  17. 17. Ode On The Death Of A Favourite Cat Drow.. , Thomas Gray
  18. 18. Dejection: An Ode , Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  19. 19. Ode To Psyche , John Keats
  20. 20. Ode On The Spring , Thomas Gray
  21. 21. Ode To Maize , Pablo Neruda
  22. 22. Uriconium: An Ode , Wilfred Owen
  23. 23. Ode To Meaning , Robert Pinsky
  24. 24. Ode To Fanny , John Keats
  25. 25. Ode To The Confederate Dead , Allen Tate
  26. 26. Ode To Silence , Edna St. Vincent Millay
  27. 27. Ode , Joseph Addison
  28. 28. Oxford Cheese Ode , James McIntyre
  29. 29. Ode On The Mammoth Cheese , James McIntyre
  30. 30. Ode On A Distant Prospect Of Eton College , Thomas Gray
  31. 31. Ode , Ralph Waldo Emerson
  32. 32. Ode To Beauty , Mary Darby Robinson
  33. 33. Ode To Duty , William Wordsworth
  34. 34. Ode On Indolence , John Keats
  35. 35. An Ode, On The Death Of Mr. Henry Purcell , John Dryden
  36. 36. Ode To Winter , Thomas Campbell
  37. 37. Music: An Ode , Algernon Charles Swinburne
  38. 38. Ode , John Keats
  39. 39. Ode On The Pleasure Arising From Vicissi.. , Thomas Gray
  40. 40. Ode Composed On A May Morning , William Wordsworth
  41. 41. An Horatian Ode Upon Cromwell's Return F.. , Andrew Marvell
  42. 42. Ode To Being Five (Children) , C.J. Heck
  43. 43. Ode To The Moon , Mary Darby Robinson
  44. 44. Ode Written On The First Of December , Robert Southey
  45. 45. Fragment Of An Ode To Maia , John Keats
  46. 46. France: An Ode , Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  47. 47. Ode For Mrs. William Settle , Philip Levine
  48. 48. Ode , John Dryden
  49. 49. Ode To A Pencil , Sidi J. Mahtrow
  50. 50. Ode In Memory Of The American Volunteers.. , Alan Seeger
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