The Internet Poetry Archive


Ode to Psyche

John Keats


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 Ph{oe}be'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!

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