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The LiederNet Archive

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Ode on Melancholy

Language: English

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.

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.

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 shall taste the sadness of her might,
⁠⁠And be among her cloudy trophies hung.

Submitted by Andrew Schneider [Guest Editor]


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

    [ None yet in the database ]

Text added to the website: 2019-05-12 00:00:00.

Last modified: 2019-05-12 23:44:14

Line count: 30
Word count: 222

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