beyond the grave like lazarus

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When I have Fears That I May Cease to Be

When I have fears that I may cease to be

  Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,

Before high-pilèd books, in charactery,

  Hold like rich garners the full ripened grain;

When I behold, upon the night’s starred face,

  Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,

And think that I may never live to trace

  Their shadows with the magic hand of chance;

And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,

  That I shall never look upon thee more,

Never have relish in the faery power

  Of unreflecting love—then on the shore

Of the wide world I stand alone, and think

Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

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.

Bright Star

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,

The moving waters at their priestlike task

        Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,

Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask

        Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—

No—yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,

        Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,

To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,

        Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,

Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,

And so live ever—or else swoon to death.

Ode to a Nightingale

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 thine 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

        Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth,

Tasting of Flora and the country green,

        Dance, and Provençal 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 gray 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 to-morrow.

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,

               Cluster'd 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 cover'd 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,

Call'd 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 self-same 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

        Charm'd 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 fam'd 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?



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