Ode to a Nightingale: Stanza 5 - Summary

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I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
Fast fading violets cover'd up in leaves;
And mid-May's eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.


      Lines 41—50. I cannot see.....summer eves: This entire stanza has been devoted to the description of the scene that the poet imagines. His fancy transports him, as it were, to the place in the forest where the nightingale sings. The poet imagines that it is dark in the forest, so that he cannot see what trees and flowers are growing around him. But the whole atmosphere is pervaded by the sweet smell of various flowers as a result the darkness is enriched by these scents. Though he cannot see them, he can recognize each flower by its smell. He feels that the grass, the trees and the bushes are all covered with flowers. He knows that white-hawthorn, eglantine, violets, which fade so quickly, as well as the musk-rose—the first flower to blossom in the middle of May are all growing here. He knows that the places where the musk-rose grows would be humming with the sound of huzzing bees during summer evenings.

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