Infomotions, Inc.Ode On Indolence / Keats, John

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Author: Keats, John
Title: Ode On Indolence
Publisher: Eris Etext Project
Tag(s): urn; indolence; figures; english literature
Contributor(s): Eric Lease Morgan (Infomotions, Inc.)
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 495 words (really short) Grade range: 7-8 (grade school) Readability score: 74 (easy)
Identifier: keats-ode-494
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                                ODE ON INDOLENCE
                                 by John Keats

             They toil not, neither do they spin.


        One morn before me were three figures seen,
          With bowed necks, and joined hands, side-faced;
        And one behind the other stepp'd serene,
          In placid sandals, and in white robes graced;
        They pass'd, like figures on a marble urn
          When shifted round to see the other side;
            They came again, as, when the urn once more
        Is shifted round, the first seen shades return;
          And they were strange to me, as may betide
            With vases, to one deep in Phidian lore.


        How is it, Shadows! that I knew ye not?
          How came ye muffled in so hush a masque?
        Was it a silent deep-disguised plot
          To steal away, and leave without a task
        My idle days? Ripe was the drowsy hour;
          The blissful cloud of summer-indolence
            Benumb'd my eyes; my pulse grew less and less;
        Pain had no sting, and pleasure's wreath no flower:
          O, why did ye not melt, and leave my sense
            Unhaunted quite of all but-nothingness?


        A third time came they by;- alas! wherefore?
          My sleep had been embroider'd with dim dreams;
        My soul had been a lawn besprinkled o'er
          With flowers, and stirring shades, and baffled beams:
        The morn was clouded, but no shower fell,
          Though in her lids hung the sweet tears of May;
            The open casement press'd a new-leav'd vine,
        Let in the budding warmth and throstle's lay;
          O Shadows! 'twas a time to bid farewell!
            Upon your skirts had fallen no tears of mine.


        A third time pass'd they by, and, passing, turn'd
          Each one the face a moment whiles to me;
        Then faded, and to follow them I burn'd
          And ach'd for wings because I knew the three;
        The first was a fair Maid, and Love her name;
          The second was Ambition, pale of cheek,
            And ever watchful with fatigued eye;
        The last, whom I love more, the more of blame
          Is heap'd upon her, maiden most unmeek,-
            I knew to be my demon Poesy.


        They faded, and, forsooth! I wanted wings:
          O folly! What is love! and where is it?
        And for that poor Ambition! it springs
          From a man's little heart's short fever-fit;
        For Poesy!- no,- she has not a joy,-
          At least for me,- so sweet as drowsy noons,
            And evenings steep'd in honied indolence;
        O, for an age so shelter'd from annoy,
          That I may never know how change the moons,
            Or hear the voice of busy common-sense!


        So, ye three Ghosts, adieu! Ye cannot raise
          My head cool-bedded in the flowery grass;
        For I would not be dieted with praise,
          A pet-lamb in a sentimental farce!
        Fade softly from my eyes, and be once more
          In masque-like figures on the dreamy urn;
            Farewell! I yet have visions for the night,
        And for the day faint visions there is store;
            Vanish, ye Phantoms! from my idle spright,
          Into the clouds, and never more return!

                        THE END


This file was acquired from Eris Etext Project, and it is in the public domain. It is re-distributed here as a part of the Alex Catalogue of Electronic Texts ( by Eric Lease Morgan (Infomotions, Inc.) for the purpose of freely sharing, distributing, and making available works of great literature. Its Infomotions unique identifier is keats-ode-494, and it should be available from the following URL:

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