Ode to a Nightingale: Stanza 1 - Summary

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My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thine happiness—
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.


      Lines 1.4. My heart aches.....Lethe-ward had sunk. These lines describe the poet’s feelings on hearing the nightingale’s song. This song brings him excessive joy. In its excess, the joy turns into joyous-pain. The poet’s senses seem overpowered with sleep and dullness. He feels that he is like a person who has drunk hemlock or some other preparation of opium etc., and is as a result, feeling forgetful and lost.

      Lines 5—10. That thou, light-winged Dryad.....full-throated ease. In these lines the poet imagines the place where the nightingale is singing its sweet song. He feels that like a dryer the nightingale is perched on some tree and sings from there, this tree is situated in some grassy plot covered with a large number of beech trees. It has become dark by the shadows of these trees. As it sits there, it sings a extempore song in praise of the summer so that the whole plot is filled with musical notes.

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