To-: ("What Can I Do to Drive Away")

Author: John Keats  | Date: 1819


What can I do to drive away

Remembrance from my eyes? for they have seen,

Aye, an hour ago, my brilliant Queen!

Touch has a memory. O say, love, say,

What can I do to kill it and be free

In my old liberty?

When every fair one that I saw was fair

Enough to catch me in but half a snare,

Not keep me there:

When, howe’er poor or particolour’d things,

My muse had wings,

And ever ready was to take her course

Whither I bent her force,

Unintellectual, yet divine to me;-

Divine, I say!- What sea-bird o’er the sea

Is a philosopher the while he goes

Winging along where the great water throes?

How shall I do

To get anew

Those moulted feathers, and so mount once more

Above, above

The reach of fluttering Love,

And make him cower lowly while I soar?

Shall I gulp wine? No, that is vulgarism,

A heresy and schism,

Foisted into the canon law of love;-

No,- wine is only sweet to happy men;

More dismal cares

Seize on me unawares,-

Where shall I learn to get my peace again?

To banish thoughts of that most hateful land,

Dungeoner of my friends, that wicked strand

Where they were wreck’d and live a wrecked life;

That monstrous region, whose dull rivers pour

Ever from their sordid urns unto the shore,

Unown’d of any weedy-haired gods;

Whose winds, all zephyrless, hold scourging rods,

Iced in the great lakes, to afflict mankind;

Whose rank-grown forests, frosted, black, and blind,

Would fright a Dryad; whose harsh herbag’d meads

Make lean and lank the starv’d ox while he feeds;

There flowers have no scent, birds no sweet song,

And great unerring Nature once seems wrong.

O, for some sunny spell

To dissipate the shadows of this hell!

Say they are gone,- with the new dawning light

Steps forth my lady bright!

O, let me once more rest

My soul upon that dazzling breast!

Let once again these aching arms be plac’d,

The tender gaolers of thy waist!

And let me feel that warm breath here and there

To spread a rapture in my very hair,-

O, the sweetness of the pain!

Give me those lips again!

Enough! Enough! it is enough for me

To dream of thee!

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Chicago: John Keats, To-: ("What Can I Do to Drive Away") Original Sources, accessed December 1, 2022,

MLA: Keats, John. To-: ("What Can I Do to Drive Away"), Original Sources. 1 Dec. 2022.

Harvard: Keats, J, To-: ("What Can I Do to Drive Away"). Original Sources, retrieved 1 December 2022, from