My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk: 'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot, But being too happy in thy happiness, - That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees, In some melodious plot Of beechen green, and shadows numberless, Singest of summer in full-throated ease. O for a draught of vintage! that hath been Cooled a long age in the deep-delved earth, Tasting of Flora and the country-green, Dance, and Provencal song, and sunburnt mirth. O for a beaker full of the warm South, Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene, With beaded bubbles winking at the brim And purple-stained mouth; That I might drink, and leave the world unseen, And with thee fade away into the forest dim. Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget What thou among the leaves hast never known, The weariness, the fever, and the fret Here, where men sit and hear each other groan; Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs, Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies; Where but to think is to be full of sorrow And leaden-eyed despairs; Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, Or new Love pine at them beyond tomorrow. Away! away! for I will fly to thee, Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards, But on the viewless wings of Poesy, Though the dull brain perplexes and retards: Already with thee! tender is the night, And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne, Clustered around by all her starry Fays; But here there is no light Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways. I cannot see what flowers are at my feet, Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs, But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet Wherewith the seasonable month endows The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild; White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine; Fast-fading violets covered up in leaves; And mid-May's eldest child The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine, The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves. Darkling I listen; and for many a time I have been half in love with easeful Death, Called him soft names in many a mused rhyme, To take into the air my quiet breath; Now more than ever seems it rich to die, To cease upon the midnight with no pain, While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad In such an ecstasy! Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain - To thy high requiem become a sod. Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird! No hungry generations tread thee down; The voice I hear this passing night was heard In ancient days by emperor and clown: Perhaps the selfsame song that found a path Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home, She stood in tears amid the alien corn; The same that oft-times hath Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn. Forlorn! the very word is like a bell To toll me back from thee to my sole self! Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well As she is famed to do, deceiving elf. Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades Past the near meadows, over the still stream, Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep In the next valley-glades: Was it a vision, or a waking dream? Fled is that music: -do I wake or sleep?
B. Moore sets stanza 6
About the headline (FAQ)First published in Annals of the Fine Arts, July 1819 under the title "Ode to the Nightingale", signed with a cross, revised 1820.
- by John Keats (1795 - 1821), "Ode to a Nightingale" [author's text checked 1 time against a primary source]
Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)
- by George Antheil (1900 - 1959), "Ode to a Nightingale", 1950 [ reciter and piano ] [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]
- by Stephen Douglas Burton , "Ode to a Nightingale", published 1963 [ coloratura soprano, flute, harp, and strings ] [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]
- by (Charles William) Eric Fogg (1903 - 1939), "Ode to a Nightingale", published 1949 [ baritone, string quartet, and harp ] [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]
- by Cecil Forsyth (1870 - 1941), "Ode to a Nightingale", published 1894 [ baritone and piano or small orchestra ] [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]
- by (Herbert) Hamilton Harty, Sir (1879 - 1941), "Ode to a Nightingale", published 1907 [ soprano or tenor and orchestra ] [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]
- by Ben Moore (b. 1960), "Darkling I listen", stanza 6, from 14 Songs, no. 7, medium high voice and piano [ sung text checked 1 time]
- by Reginald Chauncey Robbins (1871 - 1955), "Ode to a Nightingale", published 1922 [ bass or baritone and piano ] [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]
- by Arthur Goring Thomas (1850 - 1892), "Ode to a Nightingale" [ alto, SATB chorus, and orchestra ], from The Swan and the Skylark [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]
- by Ernest Walker (1870 - 1949), "Ode to a Nightingale", published 1908 [ baritone, SATB chorus, and instrumental ensemble ] [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]
- by Richard Henry Walthew (1872 - 1951), "Ode to a Nightingale", published 1897 [ baritone, SATB chorus, and orchestra ] [ sung text not yet checked against a primary source]
Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):
- HUN Hungarian (Magyar) (Árpád Tóth) , "Óda egy csalogányhoz"
- ITA Italian (Italiano) (Ferdinando Albeggiani) , "Ode a un usignolo", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
- SPA Spanish (Español) (Alfredo García) , "Escucho en la oscuridad", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]
This text was added to the website: 2004-06-14
Line count: 80
Word count: 594