Ode on Melancholy

John Keats 1795 (Moorgate) – 1821 (Rome)


No, no! go not to Lethe, neither twist
  Wolf's-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kissed
  By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine;
Make not your rosary of yew-berries,
  Nor let the beetle nor the death-moth be
  Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl
A partner in your sorrow's mysteries;
  For shade to shade will come too drowsily,
  And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.

But when the melancholy fit shall fall
  Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,
  And hides the green hill in an April shroud;
Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,
  Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,
  Or on the wealth of globed peonies;
Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows,
  Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave,
  And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.

She dwells with Beauty -- Beauty that must die;
  And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips
Bidding adieu; and aching Pleasure nigh,
  Turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips;
Ay, in the very temple of delight
  Veiled Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
  Though seen of none save him whose strenuous
  tongue
  Can burst Joy's grape against his palate fine;
His soul shall taste the sadness of her might,
  And be among her cloudy trophies hung.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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John Keats

John Keats was an English Romantic poet. more…

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    "Ode on Melancholy" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 27 Sep. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/23405/ode-on-melancholy>.

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