Mapping Keats’s Progress: A Critical Chronology

Mapping Keats’s Progress
A Critical Chronology

What can I do to drive away

  • What can I do to drive away
  • Remembrance from my eyes? for they have seen,
  • Aye, an hour ago, my brilliant queen!
  • Touch has a memory. O say, Love, say,
  • What can I do to kill it and be free
  • In my old liberty?
  • When every fair one that I saw was fair,
  • Enough to catch me in but half a snare,
  • Not keep me there:
  • And ever ready was to take her course
  • My muse had wings,
  • And ever ready was to take her course
  • Whither I bent her force,
  • Unintellectual, yet divine to me; —
  • Divine, I say! — What sea-bird o’er the sea
  • Is a philosopher the while he goes
  • Winging along where the great water throes?
  • How shall I do
  • To get anew
  • Those moulted feathers, and so mount once more
  • Above, above
  • The reach of fluttering Love,
  • And make him cower lowly while I soar?
  • Shall I gulp wine? No, that is vulgarism,
  • A heresy and schism,
  • Foisted into the canon law of love; —
  • No, — wine is only sweet to happy men;
  • More dismal cares
  • Seize on me unawares, —
  • Where shall I learn to get my peace again?
  • To banish thoughts of that most hateful land,
  • Dungeoner of my friends, that wicked strand
  • Where they were wreck’d and live a wretched life;
  • That monstrous region, whose dull rivers pour,
  • Ever from their sordid urns unto the shore,
  • Unown’d of any weedy-haired gods;
  • Whose winds, all zephyrless, hold scourging rods,
  • Iced in the great lakes, to afflict mankind;
  • Whose rank-grown forests, frosted, black, and blind,
  • Would fright a Dryad; whose harsh herbag’d meads
  • Make lean and lank the starv’d ox while he feeds;
  • There bad flowers have no scent, birds no sweet song,
  • And great unerring nature once seems wrong.
  • O, for some sunny spell
  • To dissipate the shadows of this hell!
  • Say they are gone, — with the new dawning light
  • Steps forth my lady bright!
  • O, let me once more rest
  • My soul upon that dazzling breast!
  • Let once again these aching arms be plac’d,
  • The tender gaolers of thy waist!
  • And let me feel that warm breath here and there
  • To spread a rapture in my very hair, —
  • O, the sweetness of the pain!
  • Give me those lips again!
  • To dream of thee!

🗙 Cite this page:

MLA Style: Works Cited

Keats, John. “What can I do to drive away.” Mapping Keats’s Progress: A Critical Chronology, by G. Kim Blank. Edition 3.3 , University of Victoria, 5 September 2020. https://johnkeats.uvic.ca/poem_what_can_i_do_to_drive.html.

Chicago Style: Note

John Keats, “What can I do to drive away,” Mapping Keats’s Progress: A Critical Chronology, Edition 3.3 , last modified 5th September 2020. https://johnkeats.uvic.ca/poem_what_can_i_do_to_drive.html.

Chicago Style: Bibliography

Keats, John. “What can I do to drive away.” Mapping Keats’s Progress: A Critical Chronology, Edition 3.3 , last modified 5th September 2020. https://johnkeats.uvic.ca/poem_what_can_i_do_to_drive.html.