Ode on Melancholy: Stanza 2 - Summary & Analysis

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But when the melancholy fit shall fall
Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,
And hides the green hill in an April shroud;
Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,
Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,
Or on the wealth of globed peonies
Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows,
Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave,
And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.


      But when the.....peerless eyes. The poet gives an account of that occasion when we are suddenly seized by a fit of melancholy to a rain-charged cloud. This cloud by sending down a shower of rain from the sky refreshes the drooping flowers. So also, the sudden fit of melancholy, coming as it were from above, refreshes the withering sentiments of our hearts. The sudden attack of sadness stimulates our vacant mind in activity and gives grace of gravity to our thoughts. The poet then compares the shower of rain in the spring month of April to a shroud which hides an object from our view The light shower in April lightly or partially dims the bright and beautiful objects of nature. In the same way, a fit of melancholy throws only a thin veil on our gay and happy thoughts. It only hides them and neither darkness nor conceals them from our mind's eye.

      What should we do, when we find ourselves in a fit of melancholy? The poet himself answers this question by making four suggestions. Firstly, when we are in a fit of melancholy we should feed our sorrow on the beauty of a rose that blooms in the morning. When we are in a melancholy mood, we should have the full relish of our sadness by observing the beauty of fresh dew i e. red rose of the morning. The superb beauty of the rose will fill our mind with the thought that beauty is transitory. Secondly, we should enjoy the beauty of the rainbow colors which are sometimes produced by the falling of the sunlight on the damp sand of the sea-coast. Thirdly, we should dwell upon the rich beauty of the Tound-shaped flowers of red or white color of the peony plants. Fourthly, if we have a beloved and if she shows some anger which makes her look lovelier, we should catch hold of her hand tightly. Even if this makes her angry she begins to talk wildly, we should not be worry about it. We should not let this occasion slip, but drink deep of her beauty. We should feast our eyes on the matchless and bewitching beautiful dilated eyes of our beloved—the beauty which will pass away as soon as her anger subsides.

Critical Analysis

      The allusion to beloved inevitably betrays the weakness of Keats. “He is no doubt, thinking of Fanny Brawne, whom, overwhelming as was his passion for her, he seems to have regarded rather as the incarnation of his ideal of beauty than a living, reasoning woman”.

      This stanza has been criticized by many competent critics. It seems to be quite out of place with the rest of the poem, particularly with the last stanza, which is so magnificent and one of the very best in all the Odes taken together. In it, the poet makes melancholy rather to light a sentiment expressed in it frivolously. The sensuous beauty of the object of nature accumulated here on which one is called upon to glut one’s sorrow is remarkable. The picture presented in the last three lines of the voluptuous beauty of the irritated mistress is vivid with living touches.

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