Please comment upon these lines from "Ode to a Nightingale."
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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You have quoted the last half of the final stanza of this famous Romantic poem, which describes how the speaker reurns to his senses after his out-of-body experience and becomes depressingly aware of the reality surrounding him as the sound of the nightingale's song fades away. As this music "flees" away, the speaker is left to question whether what he felt and experienced was a "vision, or a waking dream" and is left to ponder if he is actually asleep or awake as he comes out of his reverie.
Key to focus on in these final lines is the way that the tone in these final lines is reflective and resigned, due to the way in which the speaker clearly realises that there is no way to permanently escape his "sole self" and the suffering that forms such an intrinsic and inextricable part of the human condition. The speaker is left to grapple with the significance of his reverie and how he is altered as a result, or if he is altered at all. Having experienced the beauty of the nightingale's song, which seems to capture the eternal nature of beauty and poetry, he must come to terms with the fact that he does not dwell in this realm, and that he is transient.
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