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Contents > Author > John Keats > Ode on Melancholy 1795- 1821
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John Keats
Ode on Melancholy
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1.

No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist
Wolfsbane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kissed
By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine;
Make not your rosary of yew-berries, 5
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. 10

2.

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, 15
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. 20

3.

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:
Aye, in the very temple of Delight 25
Veiled Melancholy has her sov'reign 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. 30
 

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