by John Keats (1795 - 1821)
Translation © by Are Frode Søholt

O soft embalmer of the still midnight!
Language: English 
Available translation(s): FRE NYN SPA
O soft embalmer of the still midnight!
  Shutting with careful fingers and benign
Our gloom-pleas'd eyes, embower'd from the light,
  Enshaded in forgetfulness divine;
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
  In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
Or wait the "Amen" ere thy poppy throws
  Around my bed its lulling charities.
  Then save me, or the passèd day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes, -
  Save me from curious Conscience, that still [lords]1
Its strength for darkness, burrowing like [a]2 mole;
  Turn the key deftly in the oilèd wards,
And seal the hushèd Casket of my Soul.

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
First published in a Plymouth newspaper in 1838
1 changed to "hoards" by Richard Woodhouse, and kept by Keats in the second transcription. Chávez uses this version.
2 changed to "the" in Keats' second transcription. Chávez uses this as well.


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

Available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

  • FRE French (Français) (Jean-Pierre Granger) , "Sonnet", copyright © 2010, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • NYN Norwegian (Nynorsk) (Are Frode Søholt) , "Sonnette", copyright © 2004, (re)printed on this website with kind permission
  • SPA Spanish (Español) (Pablo Sabat) , "Soneto"

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.
Line count: 14
Word count: 104

Language: Norwegian (Nynorsk)  after the English 
Å tause midnatts mjuke omsluttar
     Som lukkar med vare og milde fingrar,
Våre auge mette av tungsinn, skjerma frå lyset,
     Skuggelagt i gudegjeven gløymsle:
Å mildaste svevn! om det behagar deg, lukk
     Mine viljuge auge midt i denne hymnen,
Ell' vent til "Amen" snart din valmue kastar
     Sin byssande miskunn rundt senga mi.             
     Så frels meg, eller så vil lyset frå den slutta dagen
På puta mi, og avle mykje sut -
     Frels meg frå det nyfikne Samvit, som endå styrer
Styrken til mørker, med muldvarpens boring;
     Vend nøkkelen netthendt i den smurde låsen,
Og forsegl det døyvde Skrinet i mi sjel.


  • Translation from English to Norwegian (Nynorsk) copyright © 2004 by Are Frode Søholt, (re)printed on this website with kind permission. To reprint and distribute this author's work for concert programs, CD booklets, etc., you must ask the copyright-holder(s) directly for permission. If you receive no response, you must consider it a refusal.

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Based on


This text was added to the website: 2008-03-28
Line count: 14
Word count: 102