Ode on Melancholy

Author: John Keats  | Date: 1819

ODE ON MELANCHOLY

I.

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.

II.

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.

III.

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.

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Chicago: John Keats, Ode on Melancholy Original Sources, accessed July 3, 2022, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=RUJAE26HC79JHB2.

MLA: Keats, John. Ode on Melancholy, Original Sources. 3 Jul. 2022. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=RUJAE26HC79JHB2.

Harvard: Keats, J, Ode on Melancholy. Original Sources, retrieved 3 July 2022, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=RUJAE26HC79JHB2.