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,
In some melodious plot
O 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 Provencal
song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
Full of the true, the
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 grey 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 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,
Cluster'd 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
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
White hawthorn, and
the pastoral eglantine;
Fast fading violets cover'd up in leaves;
And mid-May's eldest child,
The coming musk-rose,
full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eve».
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
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
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
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,
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?