Ode to a Nightingale
Keats, John (1795-1821)

 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-wing重 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
   Cooled a long age in the deep delv重 earth,
 Tasting of Flora and the country green,
   Dance, and Proven溝l 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-stain重 mouth;
   That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
     And with thee fade away into the forest dim:

 Fade 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 specter-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,
     Clustered 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 embalm重 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 mus重 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.

 Forlorn!  the very word is like a bell
   To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
 Adieu!  the fancy cannot cheat so well
   As she is famed 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?

Immortal Poems of the English Language (Williams)