Verse > John Keats > Poetical Works
John Keats (1795–1821).  The Poetical Works of John Keats.  1884.
48. Ode on Melancholy

NO, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist
  Wolfs-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,        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

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

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        25
  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 shall taste the sadness of her might,
    And be among her cloudy trophies hung.        30
See Notes.


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