The Rhyme Maker
Theme: Wine Musings
Special Rhyme List:
To A Nightingale is one of my favorite poems here at vintagewinepoems.com.
John Keats wrote it shortly after his
death, a very troubling time for the young poet. Spotting a
nightingale, Keats wishes for a magical wine that would allow him to
join the bird, and escape his deep sorrow. He finds this
not with “Bacchus and his pards”, but "on the viewless wings of
poesy”. Enjoy the flight!
1. Lethe: a river
in Hades, whose water would make the drinker
forget the past.
2. Dryad: tree fairies of the forest.
describes the wine he desires. Flora: Roman goddess of
flowers. Provencal Song: the love songs of the medieval
of S. France. South: wine of the south. Hippocrene:
a spring favored by the Muses, inspirers of poetry.
4. Bacchus is
often depicted in a chariot being drawn by two leopards
5. Hawthorn and eglantine refer to types of roses.
6. Ruth, from
Hebrew scripture, was a non-Jew who adopted Israel and
their god as her own.
S. H. Bass
more John Keats at
Draft Of Sunshine
Me A Brimming Bowl
me wine, women, and snuff A/V
On The Mermaid Tavern
To A Nightingale
heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of
hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk: 1
’Tis not through envy of
thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thine happiness,
thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees, 2
In some melodious plot
beechen green and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in
O, for a draft of vintage! that hath
Cool’d a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Flora and the country green,
Dance, and Provecal song, and
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at
And purple-stained mouth;
That I might drink, and
leave the world unseen,
And with thee fade away into the forest
Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
Where youth grows pale,
and specter-thin, and dies;
Where but to think is to be full of
And leaden-eyed despairs,
Where Beauty cannot keep her
Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.
away! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
Though the dull
brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
around by all her starry Fays;
But here there is no light,
what from heaven is with the breezes blown
glooms and winding mossy ways.
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense
hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the
thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
White hawthorn, and the pastoral
Fast fading violets cover’d up in leaves;
mid-May’s eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
I listen; and, for many a time
I have been half in love with
Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it
rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstasy!
wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain,
To thy high requiem
become a sod.
Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing
night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of
Ruth, when, sick for home, 6
She stood in tears amid the alien
The same that oft-times hath
Charm’d magic casements,
opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to
my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
As she is
fam’d to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem
Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
hill-side; and now ’Tis buried deep
In the next
Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that
music: Do I wake or sleep?
Published In 1820 (1909)