Ode on Melancholy

by John Keats


No, no go not to Lethe, neither twist
     Wolf’s-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine ;
Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kiss’d
     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
      Veil’d 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.


John Keats | Classic Poems
La Belle Dame Sans Merci ] Ode to a Nightingale ] Ode on a Grecian Urn ] Ode on Indolence ] Ode to Psyche ] [ Ode on Melancholy ] Ode to autumn ]





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