Ode to a Night Bird

 My heart aches, and sleep's numb touch pains
   My sense, as though a draught of death I'd drunk,
 Or tossed down some dull sleep drug to the drains
   One short time past, and Sleep's-Stream-wards had sunk:
 'Tis not that I so want your joy-filled lot,
   But that I've too much joy in your bright glow,--
     That you, light-winged Nymph of the trees,
       In some song-filled plot
   Of green beech trees, and shades that grow,
     Sings of long days in wide-mouthed ease.

 O for a draught of wine, that has been
   Cooled a long age in the deep-delved earth,
 That tastes of bright blooms and the farm-land's green,
   Dance, and song of South France, and sun-burnt mirth!
 O for a large cup full of the warm South,
   Full of the true, the red from that Muse Stream,
     With froth that winks like beads at the brim,
       And puce-stained mouth;
   That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
     And with you fade away in these woods dim:

 Fade far off, break up, and quite blank out
   What you who live in leaves have not (yet) known,
 The pall, the high hopes, and the fret
   Here, where men sit and each hears each groan;
 Where weak nerves shake a few, sad, last gray hairs,
   Where youth grows pale, ghost-thin, and dies;
     Where but to think is to be full of grey
       Thoughts and one's eyes like lead drop tears;
   Where good looks can't keep its bright eyes,
     Or new love pine at them past this next day.

 Go hence! go hence! for my flight is with yours,
   Not in the Wine God's cart with all his pards,
 But on the not-seen wings of Verse,
   Though the dull brain, quizzed, goes sans-thought-wards:
 I'm here with you! soft is the night,
   And by chance the Queen-Moon's on her throne,
     In a group of all her star-maid fays;
       But here there is no light,
   Save what from God is with the soft breeze blown
     Through green glooms and the moss-bound ways.

 I can't see what blooms are at my feet,
   Nor what soft scents hang on the leaves,
 But, in dark that's wrapped in balm, guess each sweet
   That the month in its time of year gives
 The grass, the thick brush, and the fruit-tree wild;
   White thorn tree, and the soft song's wild rose;
     The soon-to-fade dark blooms piled up by leaves;
       And mid-May's first child,
   The soon-to-come musk-rose, full of wine like dews,
     The haunt of soft-winged flies on these late eves.

 I hear you in the dark; and quite a few times
   I have been half in love with ease-filled Death,
 Called him soft names in some mused rhymes,
   To take up in the air my soft-sighed breath;
 All the more so now it seems rich to die,
   To cease on the stroke of night sans pain,
     While you pour forth your soul in broad
       In such joie de vivre!
   Still would you sing, and I have ears in vain--
     To your high death mass I turn to a sod.

 You were not born for death, not yet dead Bird!
   No dads and sons for food have tread you down;
 The voice I hear this same night was heard
   In days of old by king and clown:
 It may be the same song that found a path
   Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
     She stood in tears in the corn all lone;
       The same that oft-times hath
   Charmed a trick sash to show the foam
     Of not-safe seas, in fey lands now gone.

 Now gone! the word is like a bell
   To toll me back from you to my sole self!
 So long! the mind can't cheat so well
   As she is famed to do, that fool elf.
 So long! so long! your sad hymn fades
   Past the near fields, cross the still stream,
     Up the hill-side; and now 'tis sealed deep
       In the next dell's glades:
   Was it a sight, or while I'm up a dream?
    Fled is song:--do I wake or sleep?

                                -- John Keats