Ode to a Nightingale
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 thine happiness,--
That thou, light-winged
Dryad of the trees
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
Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green,
Dance, and Proven�al song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles
winking at the brim,
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
Where but to think
is to be full of sorrow
Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
Or new Love pine
at them beyond to-morrow.
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,
by all her starry Fays;
here there is no light,
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
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
cover'd up in leaves;
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,
Call'd 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
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
She stood in tears
amid the alien corn;
same that oft-times hath
Charm'd 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 fam'd 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
the next valley-glades:
Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music:--Do
I wake or sleep?