Mapping Keats’s Progress: A Critical Chronology

Mapping Keats’s Progress
A Critical Chronology

Ode on Melancholy

1

  • 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.

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,
  • 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.

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:
  • 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 shalt taste the sadness of her might,
  • And be among her cloudy trophies hung.

🗙 Cite this page:

MLA Style: Works Cited

Keats, John. “Ode on Melancholy.” Mapping Keats’s Progress: A Critical Chronology, by G. Kim Blank. Edition 3.5 , University of Victoria, 18 October 2020. https://johnkeats.uvic.ca/poem_ode_on_melancholy.html.

Chicago Style: Note

John Keats, “Ode on Melancholy,” Mapping Keats’s Progress: A Critical Chronology, Edition 3.5 , last modified 18th October 2020. https://johnkeats.uvic.ca/poem_ode_on_melancholy.html.

Chicago Style: Bibliography

Keats, John. “Ode on Melancholy.” Mapping Keats’s Progress: A Critical Chronology, Edition 3.5 , last modified 18th October 2020. https://johnkeats.uvic.ca/poem_ode_on_melancholy.html.