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Ode on Indolence

16 June 2023

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One morn before me were three figures seen,

    With bowèd necks, and joinèd hands, side-faced;

And one behind the other stepp’d serene,

    In placid sandals, and in white robes graced;

        They pass’d, like figures on a marble urn,

    When shifted round to see the other side;

They came again; as when the urn once more

        Is shifted round, the first seen shades return;

    And they were strange to me, as may betide

With vases, to one deep in Phidian lore.


How is it, Shadows! that I knew ye not?

    How came ye muffled in so hush a mask?

Was it a silent deep-disguisèd plot

    To steal away, and leave without a task

        My idle days? Ripe was the drowsy hour;

    The blissful cloud of summer-indolence

Benumb’d my eyes; my pulse grew less and less;

        Pain had no sting, and pleasure’s wreath no flower:

    O, why did ye not melt, and leave my sense

Unhaunted quite of all but—nothingness?


A third time pass’d they by, and, passing, turn’d

    Each one the face a moment whiles to me;

Then faded, and to follow them I burn’d

    And ached for wings, because I knew the three;

        The first was a fair Maid, and Love her name;

    The second was Ambition, pale of cheek,

And ever watchful with fatiguèd eye;

        The last, whom I love more, the more of blame

    Is heap’d upon her, maiden most unmeek,—

I knew to be my demon Poesy.


They faded, and, forsooth! I wanted wings:

    O folly! What is Love? and where is it?

And for that poor Ambition! it springs

    From a man’s little heart’s short fever-fit;

        For Poesy!—no,—she has not a joy,—

    At least for me,—so sweet as drowsy noons,

And evenings steep’d in honey’d indolence;

        O, for an age so shelter’d from annoy,

    That I may never know how change the moons,

Or hear the voice of busy common-sense!


And once more came they by:—alas! wherefore?

    My sleep had been embroider’d with dim dreams;

My soul had been a lawn besprinkled o’er

    With flowers, and stirring shades, and baffled beams:

        The morn was clouded, but no shower fell,

    Tho’ in her lids hung the sweet tears of May;

The open casement press’d a new-leaved vine,

    Let in the budding warmth and throstle’s lay;

        O Shadows! ’twas a time to bid farewell!

Upon your skirts had fallen no tears of mine.


So, ye three Ghosts, adieu! Ye cannot raise

    My head cool-bedded in the flowery grass;

For I would not be dieted with praise,

    A pet-lamb in a sentimental farce!

        Fade softly from my eyes, and be once more

    In masque-like figures on the dreamy urn;

Farewell! I yet have visions for the night,

    And for the day faint visions there is store;

Vanish, ye Phantoms! from my idle spright,

    Into the clouds, and never more return!

More Books by John Keats

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Articles
Best Poems of John Keats
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A collection of best and most famous poems written by the famous English writer John Keats.
1

Ode To Psyche

11 April 2023
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 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-da

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Ode To Melancholy

11 April 2023
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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 rosar

3

To Autumn

11 April 2023
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Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,  Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;  Conspiring with him how to load and bless  With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;  To bend with app

4

Bright Star

29 April 2023
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Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art—           Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night  And watching, with eternal lids apart,           Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,  Th

5

On First Looking into Chapman's Homer

29 April 2023
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Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold,  And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;  Round many western islands have I been  Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.  Oft of one wide expanse had

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The day is gone, and all its sweets are gone!

14 June 2023
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The day is gone, and all its sweets are gone! Sweet voice, sweet lips, soft hand, and softer breast, Warm breath, light whisper, tender semi-tone, Bright eyes, accomplish’d shape, and lang’rous wai

7

The Eve of St. Agnes

14 June 2023
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St. Agnes' Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was!        The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;        The hare limp'd trembling through the frozen grass,        And silent was the flock in woolly fold:

8

Hyperion

14 June 2023
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Deep in the shady sadness of a vale Far sunken from the healthy breath of morn, Far from the fiery noon, and eve's one star, Sat gray-hair'd Saturn, quiet as a stone, Still as the silence round ab

9

Fancy

15 June 2023
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Ever let the Fancy roam, Pleasure never is at home: At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth, Like to bubbles when rain pelteth; Then let winged Fancy wander Through the thought still spread beyond her:

10

The Human Seasons

15 June 2023
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Four Seasons fill the measure of the year;      There are four seasons in the mind of man: He has his lusty Spring, when fancy clear      Takes in all beauty with an easy span: He has his Summer,

11

La Belle Dame sans Merci: A Ballad

15 June 2023
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O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,        Alone and palely loitering? The sedge has withered from the lake,        And no birds sing. O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,        So haggard an

12

If By Dull Rhymes Our English Must Be Chain'd

15 June 2023
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If by dull rhymes our English must be chain'd,    And, like Andromeda, the Sonnet sweet Fetter'd, in spite of pained loveliness; Let us find out, if we must be constrain'd,    Sandals more interwo

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Ode on Indolence

16 June 2023
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One morn before me were three figures seen,     With bowèd necks, and joinèd hands, side-faced; And one behind the other stepp’d serene,     In placid sandals, and in white robes graced;         T

14

On a Dream

16 June 2023
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As Hermes once took to his feathers light, When lulled Argus, baffled, swoon’d and slept, So on a Delphic reed, my idle spright So play’d, so charm’d, so conquer’d, so bereft The dragon-world of a

15

Ode on a Grecian Urn

16 June 2023
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Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness,        Thou foster-child of silence and slow time, Sylvan historian, who canst thus express        A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme: What leaf-f

16

Ode to a Nightingale

16 June 2023
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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

17

To Fanny

17 June 2023
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I cry your mercy—pity—love! Aye, love! Merciful love that tantalizes not, One-thoughted, never-wandering, guileless love, Unmasked, and being seen—without a blot! O! let me have thee whole,—all—al

18

Robin Hood

17 June 2023
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TO A FRIEND No! those days are gone away And their hours are old and gray, And their minutes buried all Under the down-trodden pall Of the leaves of many years: Many times have winter's shears,

19

To Sleep

17 June 2023
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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!

20

To Homer

17 June 2023
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Standing aloof in giant ignorance,    Of thee I hear and of the Cyclades, As one who sits ashore and longs perchance    To visit dolphin-coral in deep seas. So thou wast blind;—but then the veil w

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