"Ode to a Nightingale"
By John Keats

Transcription, correction, editorial commentary, and markup by Students and Staff of the University of Virginia
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Sources

London : Taylor and Hessey, 1820"Ode to a Nightingale" was first published in 1820 in a book entitled Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems.Our edition is based on that printing. Page images have been sourced from Google Books

Editorial Statements

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Original spelling and capitalization is retained, though the long s has been silently modernized and ligatured forms are not encoded.

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Materials have been transcribed from and checked against first editions, where possible. See the Sources section for more information.


Citation

Keats, John. "Ode to a Nightingale". Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems, Taylor and Hessey, 1820 , pp. 107-112 . Literature in Context: An Open Anthology. http://anthology.lib.virginia.edu/work/Keats/keats-nightingale. Accessed: 2024-04-18T02:06:23.175Z

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107 Ode to a Nightingale. 1. 1My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains 2My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, 3Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains 4One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk 5'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot, 6But being too happy in thine happiness, — 7That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees, 8In some melodious plot 9Of beechen green, and shadows numberless, 10Singest of summer in full-throated ease. 108 2. 11O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been 12Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth, 13Tasting of Flora and the country green, 14Dance, and Provencal song, and sunburnt mirth! 15O for a beaker full of the warm south, 16Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene, 17With beaded bubbles winking at the brim, 18And purple-stained mouth; 19That I might drink, and leave the world unseen, 20And with thee fade away into the forest dim 3. 21Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget 22What thou among the leaves hast never known, 23The weariness, the fever, and the fret 24Here, where men sit and hear each other groan; 25Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs, 109 26Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies; 27Where but to think is to be full of sorrow 28And leaden-eyed despairs, 29Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, 30Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow. 4. 31Away! away! for I will fly to thee, 32Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards, 33But on the viewless wings of Poesy, 34Though the dull brain perplexes and retards 35Already with thee! tender is the night, 36And haply the Queen-Moon- is on her throne, 37Cluster'd around by all her starry Fays; 38But here there is no light, 39Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown 40Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways. 110 5. 41I cannot see what flowers are at my feet, 42Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs, 43But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet 44Wherewith the seasonable month endows 45The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild; 46White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine; 47Fast fading violets cover'd up in leaves; 48And mid-May's eldest child, 49The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine, 50The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves. 6. 51Darkling I listen; and, for many a time 52I have been half in love with easeful Death, 53Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme, 54To take into the air my quiet breath; 55Now more than ever seems it rich to die, 111 56To cease upon the midnight with no pain, 57While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad 58In such an ecstasy! 59Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain — 60To thy high requiem become a sod. 7. 61Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird! 62No hungry generations tread thee down; 63The voice I hear this passing night was heard 64In ancient days by emperor and clown 65Perhaps the self-same song that found a path 66Through the sad heqrt of Ruth, when, sick for home, 67She stood in tears amid the alien corn; 68The same that oft-times hath 69Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam 70Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn. 112 8. 71Forlorn! the very word is like a bell 72To toll me back from thee to my sole self! 73Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well 74As she is fam'd to do, deceiving elf. 75Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades 76Past the near meadows, over the still stream, 77Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep 78In the next valley-glades 79Was it a vision, or a waking dream? 80Fled is that music — Do I wake or sleep?

Footnotes