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‘Ode to Psyche’: A Poem by John Keats

The earliest of John Keats’s great 1819 odes, ‘Ode to Psyche’ is about the Greek embodiment of the soul and mind, Psyche. Keats declares that he will be Psyche’s ‘priest’ and build a temple to her in his mind. Although this is probably the least-admired of Keats’s classic odes, it’s a fine paean to poetic creativity and the power of the imagination and so ‘Ode to Psyche’ deserves to be shared here in our Post a Poem a Day feature.

Ode to Psyche

O Goddess! hear these tuneless numbers, wrung
By sweet enforcement and remembrance dear,
And pardon that thy secrets should be sung
Even into thine own soft-conched ear:
Surely I dreamt to-day, or did I see
The winged Psyche with awaken’d eyes? Read the rest of this entry

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‘To Sleep’: A Poem by John Keats

‘To Sleep’, a sonnet by one of the leading second-generation Romantic poets, John Keats (1795-1821), addresses sleep as a ‘soft embalmer of the still midnight’. Sleep allows us to escape our own minds, when one’s conscience begins to prick us, keeping us awake. Sleep wraps us up in lovely delicious rest, and allows us to forget the world.

To Sleep

O soft embalmer of the still midnight,
Shutting, with careful fingers and benign,
Our gloom-pleas’d eyes, embower’d from the light,
Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
Or wait the ‘Amen,’ ere thy poppy throws
Around my bed its lulling charities. Read the rest of this entry

‘Ode to a Nightingale’: A Poem by John Keats

‘Ode to a Nightingale’ was admired by contemporary critics and reviewers of Keats’s work. According to one account it was written by Keats under a plum tree in the garden of Keats House, London in May 1819. Keats was inspired by hearing the sound of birdsong and penned this poem in praise of the nightingale. Like ‘Bright Star’ it is a brilliant poem about mortality and the lure of death and escape. F. Scott Fitzgerald took the phrase ‘tender is the night’ from this poem and used it as the title for his 1934 novel. Read the rest of this entry