O for a draught of vintage! that hath been
Cool’d a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country-green,
Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South!
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stained mouth;
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
And with thee fade away into the forest dim:
—This part in Ode to a Nightengale refers to the “tasting of Flora.” In Roman mythology, Flora is a goddess of flowers and the spring season and was one of many fertility godesses. This reference emphasizes the taste of something seemingly god-like and surreal.
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 dream’d to-day, or did I see
The winged Psyche with awaken’d eyes?
O latest-born and loveliest vision far
Of all Olympus‘ faded hierarchy!
Fairer than Phoebe’s sapphire-region’d star,
Or Vesper, amorous glow-worm of the sky;
Fairer than these, though temple thou hast none,
—In these parts of Ode to Psyche, Keats refers to the goddess Psyche,Mount Olympus, Phoebe and Vesper. Psyche is a mortal woman in Greek Mythology. She was the wife of Eros and she is always pictured with butterfly wings. Keats refers to her beauty. Keats also refers to Mt. Olympus, the home of Greek Gods and Goddesses. Phoebe is one of the original Titans in Greek myths and means radiance and bright often being associated with the moon as well. Vesper’s is a figure in Roman myth and his name is drawn from Hesperus in Greek Myth meaning “evening star” and is associated with the planet Venus. These names and references allow Keats to accentuate his points.
Although your rudder be a Dragon’s tail,
Long sever’d, yet still hard with agony,
Your cordage large uprootings from the skull
Of bald Medusa; certes you would fail
To find the Melancholy, whether she
Dreameth in any isle of Lethe dull.
No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist
Wolf’s-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kiss’d
By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine;
Make not your rosary of yew-berries,
Nor let the beetle, nor the death-moth be
Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl
A partner in your sorrow’s mysteries;
For shade to shade will come too drowsily,
And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.
— In Ode on Melancholy, Keats refers to Medusa, Persephone and again, Psyche. Medusa is a figure in Greek myth as a hideous, repulsive female with venomous snakes as hair. Keats also refers to Persephone, the Greek goddess of the underworld. The myth of her abduction has her personify the spring and earth after harvest. This time when Keats refers to Psyche it is not in the same way he did as in Ode to Nightingale showing the less “happy” side of the myth.