In "Ode to a Nightingale" by Keats, what is the speaker in love with?

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Keats' speaker is in love with idea of death. He says: "I have been half in love with easeful Death." He goes on to say:

Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain . . .

To the speaker, the world is filled with numberless sorrows. These include weariness, stress, disease, growing old and infirm, wasting away and dying young, and despair. He would like to escape this into the ease and numbness he associates with the sleep of death. He would especially like to dissolve into death as he is listening to the nightingales's ecstatic song. It would become his "requiem."

He contrasts his unhappy state with that of the happy nightingale, who seems to him to sing an immortal song. The song—a work of art—has been the same beautiful melody that soothed Biblical characters like Ruth and people in faraway places and times.

Nevertheless, after dreaming of the immortal song of the nightingale and of death, the speaker awakens back to life.

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In the poem, the speaker claims to be "half in love" with death. He thinks that death will release him from his mental torment. Indeed, he's portrayed death in a soft light in "many a mused rhyme" before, and now he thoroughly believes that he should die while the nightingale sings in ecstasy.

The speaker believes that death will release him from the "weariness, the fever, and the fret" of earthly life. Sometimes, he longs to imbibe enough alcohol to numb him to the pain of living. Being in a state of chemical oblivion would allow him to "leave the world unseen," and the nightingale to "fade away into the forest dim." The speaker is basically discouraged enough about life to hope for death.

He wants to go to a place where young people don't grow old and where men don't "sit and hear each other groan." Alas, the speaker never sees his hopes materialize. When the nightingale eventually flies away, he can't even decide whether the nightingale's music is "a vision, or a waking dream."

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