Infomotions, Inc.To- / Keats, John

Author: Keats, John
Title: To-
Publisher: Eris Etext Project
Tag(s): whose; 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: 394 words (really short) Grade range: 9-10 (high school) Readability score: 71 (easy)
Identifier: keats-to-511
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                        ("WHAT CAN I DO TO DRIVE AWAY")
                                 by John Keats

        What can I do to drive away
        Remembrance from my eyes? for they have seen,
        Aye, an hour ago, my brilliant Queen!
        Touch has a memory. O say, love, say,
        What can I do to kill it and be free
        In my old liberty?
        When every fair one that I saw was fair
        Enough to catch me in but half a snare,
        Not keep me there:
        When, howe'er poor or particolour'd things,
        My muse had wings,
        And ever ready was to take her course
        Whither I bent her force,
        Unintellectual, yet divine to me;-
        Divine, I say!- What sea-bird o'er the sea
        Is a philosopher the while he goes
        Winging along where the great water throes?

          How shall I do
          To get anew
        Those moulted feathers, and so mount once more
          Above, above
          The reach of fluttering Love,
        And make him cower lowly while I soar?
        Shall I gulp wine? No, that is vulgarism,
        A heresy and schism,
          Foisted into the canon law of love;-
        No,- wine is only sweet to happy men;
          More dismal cares
          Seize on me unawares,-

        Where shall I learn to get my peace again?
        To banish thoughts of that most hateful land,
        Dungeoner of my friends, that wicked strand
        Where they were wreck'd and live a wrecked life;
        That monstrous region, whose dull rivers pour
        Ever from their sordid urns unto the shore,
        Unown'd of any weedy-haired gods;
        Whose winds, all zephyrless, hold scourging rods,
        Iced in the great lakes, to afflict mankind;
        Whose rank-grown forests, frosted, black, and blind,
        Would fright a Dryad; whose harsh herbag'd meads
        Make lean and lank the starv'd ox while he feeds;
        There flowers have no scent, birds no sweet song,
        And great unerring Nature once seems wrong.

        O, for some sunny spell
        To dissipate the shadows of this hell!
        Say they are gone,- with the new dawning light
        Steps forth my lady bright!
        O, let me once more rest
        My soul upon that dazzling breast!
        Let once again these aching arms be plac'd,
        The tender gaolers of thy waist!
        And let me feel that warm breath here and there
        To spread a rapture in my very hair,-
        O, the sweetness of the pain!
        Give me those lips again!
        Enough! Enough! it is enough for me
        To dream of thee!

                        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-to-511, and it should be available from the following URL:

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