John Keats

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Ode to a Nightingale

 My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
 My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
 Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
 One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
 Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
 But being too happy in thine happiness,--
 That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
 In some melodious plot
 Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
 Singest of summer in full-throated ease.

 O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been
 Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth,
 Tasting of Flora and the country green,
 Dance, and Provencal song, and sunburnt mirth!
 O for a beaker full of the warm South,
 Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
 With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
 And purple-stained mouth;
 That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
 And with thee fade away into the forest dim:

 Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
 What thou among the leaves hast never known,
 The weariness, the fever, and the fret
 Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
 Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
 Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
 Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
 And leaden-eyed despairs,
 Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
 Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.

 Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
 Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
 But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
 Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
 Already with thee! tender is the night,
 And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
 Cluster'd around by all her starry Fays;
 But here there is no light,
 Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
 Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.

 I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
 Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
 But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
 Wherewith the seasonable month endows
 The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
 White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
 Fast fading violets cover'd up in leaves;
 And mid-May's eldest child,
 The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
 The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.

 Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
 I have been half in love with easeful Death,
 Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
 To take into the air my quiet breath;
 Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
 To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
 While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
 In such an ecstasy!
 Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain--
 To thy high requiem become a sod.

 Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
 No hungry generations tread thee down;
 The voice I hear this passing night was heard
 In ancient days by emperor and clown:
 Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
 Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
 She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
 The same that oft-times hath
 Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam
 Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.

 Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
 To toil me back from thee to my sole self!
 Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
 As she is fam'd to do, deceiving elf.
 Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
 Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
 Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep
 In the next valley-glades:
 Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
 Fled is that music:--Do I wake or sleep?

Ode on a Grecian Urn

 Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness,
 Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
 Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
 A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
 What leaf-fring'd legend haunts about thy shape
 Of deities or mortals, or of both,
 In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
 What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
         What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
 What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

 Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
 Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
 Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
 Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
 Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
 Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
 Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
 Though winning near the goal--yet, do not grieve;
 She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
 For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

 Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
 Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
 And, happy melodist, unwearied,
 For ever piping songs for ever new;
 More happy love! more happy, happy love!
 For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
 For ever panting, and for ever young;
 All breathing human passion far above,
 That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,
 A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

 Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
 To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
 Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
 And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
 What little town by river or sea shore,
 Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
 Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?
 And, little town, thy streets for evermore
 Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
 Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.

 O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
 Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
 With forest branches and the trodden weed;
 Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
 As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
 When old age shall this generation waste,
 Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
 Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
 Beauty is truth, truth beauty,"--that is all
 know on earth, and all ye need to know.

La Belle Dame sans Merci

 O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
   Alone and palely loitering?
 The sedge his wither'd from the lake,
   And no birds sing.

 O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms!
   So haggard and so woe-begone?
 The squirrel's granary is full,
   And the harvest's done.

 I see a lilly on thy brow,
   With anguish moist and fever dew,
 And on thy cheeks a fading rose
   Fast withereth too.

 I met a lady in the meads,
   Full beautiful--a faery's child,
 Her hair was long,her foot was light,
   And her eyes were wild.

 I made a garland for her head,
   And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
 She look'd at me as she did love,
   And made sweet moan.

 I set her on my pacing steed,
   And nothing else saw all day long,
 For sidelong would she bend, and sing
   A faery's song.

 Sh found me roots of relish sweet,
   And honey wild, and manna dew,
 And sure in language strange she said--
   "I love thee true".

 She took me to her elfin grot,
   And there she wept, and sigh'd full sore,
 And there I shut her wild wild eyes
   With kisses four.

 And there she lulled me asleep,
   And there I dream'd--Ah! woe betide!
 The latest dream I ever dream'd
   On the cold hiss side.

 I saw pale kings and princes too,
   Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
 They cried--"La belle Dame sans Merce
   Hath thee in thrall!"

 I saw their starved lips in the gloam,
   With horrid warning gaped wide,
 And I awoke and found me here,
   On the cold hill's side.

 And this is why I sojourn here,
   Alone and palely loitering,
 Though the sedge has wither'd from the lake,
   And no birds sing.

Terror of Death

 When I have fears that I may cease to be
  Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,
 Before high-piled books in charact'ry,
  Hold like rich garners the full-ripen'd grain;
 When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face,
  Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
 And think that I may never live to trace
  Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
 And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!
  That I shall never look upon thee more,
 Never have relish in the faery power
  Of unreflecting love!--then on the shore
 Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
 Till love and fame to nothingness sink.

Bright Star! Would I were

 Bright star! would I were steadfast as thou art-
  Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
 And watching, with eternal lids apart,
  Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
 The moving waters at their priestlike tast
  Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
 Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask
  Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
 No--yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
  Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening brest,
 To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
  Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
 Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
 And so live ever-or else swoon to death.

On the Sea

 It keeps eternal whisperings around
   Desolute shores, and with its mighty swell
   Gluts twice then thousand caverns, till the spell
 Of Hecate leaves them their old shadowy sound.
 Often 'tis in such gentle temper found,
   That scarcely will the very smallest shell
   Be moved for days from where it sometime fell,
 When last the winds of heaven were unbound.
 Oh ye! who have your eye-balls vexed and tired,
   Feast them upon the wideness of the Sea;
     Oh ye! whose ears are dinn'd with uproar rude,
     Or fed too much with cloying melody,--
     Sit ye near some old cavern's mouth, and brood
 Until ye start, as if the sea-nymphs quired!

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