Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats

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"She Stood In Tears Amid The Alien Corn"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Keats wrote this melancholy poem when his short life was nearing its end. Savoring the "pleasurable pain" of his bitter-sweet final days on earth, the poet is temporarily uplifted by the healthily happy song of the mysterious nightingale. Keats wants to join the bird and fly away from this real world, "Where youth grows pale, and specter-thin, and dies." The song of the nightingale represents the world of unattainable beauty, health, and peace which all humans (especially poets) desire. Keats shuns wine, and vows to reach the nightingale by flying "on the viewless wings of Poesy." The bird's song suggests images of bright, healthy summer flowers. The dying poet admits that he has often "been half in love with easeful Death." Since he cannot live long, he...

(The entire section is 260 words.)