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Keats, John - Ode to a Nightingale

Identifier

000344

Type of spiritual experience

A description of the experience

Ode to a Nightingale – John Keats

 My heart aches and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though if 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 thy 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
…...............
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 covered 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
Called 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
Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn

The source of the experience

Keats, John

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