John Keats

Marco Montagnin

She dwells with Beauty—Beauty that must die

Ode to Psyche

O Goddess! hear these tuneless numbers, wrung

         By sweet enforcement and remembrance dear,

And pardon that thy secrets should be sung

         Even into thine own soft-conched ear:

Surely I dreamt to-day, or did I see

         The winged Psyche with awaken’d eyes?

I wander’d in a forest thoughtlessly,

         And, on the sudden, fainting with surprise,

Saw two fair creatures, couched side by side

         In deepest grass, beneath the whisp’ring roof

         Of leaves and trembled blossoms, where there ran

                A brooklet, scarce espied:

Mid hush’d, cool-rooted flowers, fragrant-eyed,

         Blue, silver-white, and budded Tyrian,

They lay calm-breathing, on the bedded grass;

         Their arms embraced, and their pinions too;

         Their lips touch’d not, but had not bade adieu,

As if disjoined by soft-handed slumber,

And ready still past kisses to outnumber

         At tender eye-dawn of aurorean love:

                The winged boy I knew;

But who wast thou, O happy, happy dove?

                His Psyche true!

O latest born and loveliest vision far

         Of all Olympus’ faded hierarchy!

Fairer than Phoebe’s sapphire-region’d star,

         Or Vesper, amorous glow-worm of the sky;

Fairer than these, though temple thou hast none,

                Nor altar heap’d with flowers;

Nor virgin-choir to make delicious moan

                Upon the midnight hours;

No voice, no lute, no pipe, no incense sweet

         From chain-swung censer teeming;

No shrine, no grove, no oracle, no heat

         Of pale-mouth’d prophet dreaming.

O brightest! though too late for antique vows,

         Too, too late for the fond believing lyre,

When holy were the haunted forest boughs,

         Holy the air, the water, and the fire;

Yet even in these days so far retir’d

         From happy pieties, thy lucent fans,

         Fluttering among the faint Olympians,

I see, and sing, by my own eyes inspir’d.

So let me be thy choir, and make a moan

                Upon the midnight hours;

Thy voice, thy lute, thy pipe, thy incense sweet

         From swinged censer teeming;

Thy shrine, thy grove, thy oracle, thy heat

         Of pale-mouth’d prophet dreaming.

Yes, I will be thy priest, and build a fane

         In some untrodden region of my mind,

Where branched thoughts, new grown with pleasant pain,

         Instead of pines shall murmur in the wind:

Far, far around shall those dark-cluster’d trees

         Fledge the wild-ridged mountains steep by steep;

And there by zephyrs, streams, and birds, and bees,

         The moss-lain Dryads shall be lull’d to sleep;

And in the midst of this wide quietness

A rosy sanctuary will I dress

   With the wreath’d trellis of a working brain,

         With buds, and bells, and stars without a name,

With all the gardener Fancy e’er could feign,

         Who breeding flowers, will never breed the same:

And there shall be for thee all soft delight

         That shadowy thought can win,

A bright torch, and a casement ope at night,

         To let the warm Love in!

Ode on Melancholy


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 shalt taste the sadness of her might,

               And be among her cloudy trophies hung.


[1] John Keats, Keats opere, Collana Meridiani, Mondadori pp 680-684 e pp 698-700

Ti è piaciuto l’articolo? Lascia qui la tua opinione su La Livella.

Did you enjoy the article? Leave here your feedback on La Livella.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email