[u]Ode to a Nightingale[/u]
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 Mandos-wards had flown:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thy happiness,--
That thou, light-footed Elf of Doriath,
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 by Naugrim in the deep-delvèd earth,
Tasting of Dorthonion and its country green,
Dance, and Elven song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of warm South,
Full of the true, the blissful miruvor,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stainèd 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 assailed by Morgoth and other fiends,
But on the viewless wings of Love,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,
And haply the Star Queen is on her throne,
Clustered 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 windless mossy ways.
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmèd darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
White hawthorne, 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.
Tinúviel, I listen; and for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call'd him soft names in many a musèd 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 Elf!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by Imin and Enel:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Thingol, when, sick for Melian,
He stood in tears amid Nan Elmoth;
The same that oft-times hath
Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in Western lands forlorn.
Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Namarie! the fancy cannot cheat so well
As she is fam'd to do, deceiving elf.
Namarie! namarie! 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?
Give up the Halfring, she-elf...