Ode to a Nightingale

By Elaine Wilson,2014-04-01 06:16
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Ode to a NightingaleOde to


    Ode to a Nightingale

    Ode to a Nightingale expresses the

    contrast between the happy world of natural loveliness and human world of agony. At first, opiates and wine seem to be a way to transcend the human misery. At last poetry itself is seen the most effective way to release misery and to reach paradise. The title of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel Tender is the Night

    derives itself from this poem (Stanza IV). Stanza I---I was falling asleep when I heard a nightingale singing in the beechen (山毛榉) forest. 朦胧坠入忘忧河

    MY heart aches, and a drowsy

    numbness pains

    My sense, as though of hemlock I

    had drunk, [毒参]

    Or emptied some dull opiate to the

    drains[drink up]

     One minute past, and

    Lethe-wards had sunk:[river of forgetfulness]

    ’Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,

    But being too happy in thine happiness,

    That thou, light-winged Dryad of

    the trees,[轻盈的小天使]

    In some melodious plot Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,

    Singest of summer in full-throated ease.[放声歌唱]

    Stanza II—I’d like a cup of red wine to

    soothe (relieve) my trouble (agony).人说


    O for a draught of vintage! that hath been[a cup of grape wine] Cool’d a long age in the deep-delved earth,[陈年老酒]

    Tasting of Flora and the


    Dance, and Provençal song, and

    sunburnt mirth![songs for royalty and aristocrats]

    O for a beaker full of the warm South!

    Full of the true, the blushful

    Hippocrene, [red-colored water in the river of Muses]

    With beaded bubbles winking at

    the brim, [pearl like bubbles or foams]

     And purple-stained mouth;

     That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,

     And with thee fade away into the forest dim:

    Stanza IIIThe nightingale was singing

    in ecstasy while I am suffering on earth.


    Fade far away, dissolve, and quite


     What thou among the leaves hast never known,

    The weariness, the fever, and the fret [trouble]

     Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;

    Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs, [paralysis or


     Where youth grows pale, and

    thin, and dies; [瘦骨嶙峋] spectre-

     Where but to think is to be full of sorrow

     And leaden-eyed despairs;[死灰


     Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,

     Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.

    [Beauty dare not open her bright eyes. Love will be withered in no time. The

human world abounds with sorrow.]


    Stanza IVI wish I could fly to the moon

    together with the nightingale. 如今直上银


    Away! away! for I will fly to thee,

     Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,

    [不用酒神的车来接我!Bacchus: also

    known as Dionysus]

    But on the viewless wings of Poesy,

    Though the dull brain perplexes

    and retards:



    Already with thee! tender is the night,

    And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,

    Cluster’d around by all her starry Fays;[fairy]

    But here there is no light, Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown

    Through verdurous glooms and

    winding mossy ways. [绿色幽暗之




    微风吹起的一线亮光。cast light on

    Stanza V---I realize that I was in a

    beautiful garden full of fragrant flowers.


    I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,

     Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,

    But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet [fragrant]

    Wherewith the seasonable month


    The grass, the thicket, and the

    fruit-tree wild; [woods]

     White hawthorn, and the

    pastoral eglantine; [wild rose]

     Fast-fading violets cover’d up

    in leaves;

     And mid-May’s eldest child,

     The coming musk- rose, full of

    dewy wine, [麝香]

     The murmurous haunt of flies on

    summer eves. [butterflies]

    Stanza VI---The nightingale, regardless of my imminent death, kept singing in an ecstasy. Her melody was floating over the grassland aimlessly since her bosom friend cannot hear it any longer. 子期不在



    Darkling I listen; and for many a

    time [美丽的夜色]

     I have been half in love with easeful Death,

    Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme,

     To take into the air my quiet breath;

    Now more than ever seems it rich to die,

    To cease upon the midnight with no pain,

    While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad


    In such an ecstasy!

    Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain

    To thy high requiem become a sod.



    Stanza VII---The nightingale’s melody

    has magical power to arouse the

    nostalgia of Ruth, a female in the Bible.


    Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!

     No hungry generations tread thee down;

    The voice I hear this passing night was heard

     In ancient days by emperor and


    [people from all walks of life; come down in ones life;

    down-trodden; down and out] Perhaps the self-same song that found a path

    Through the sad heart of Ruth,

    when, sick for home,

    [the very song; nostalgia; a woman in the Bible who has been married to a man in a foreign


    She stood in tears amid the alien


    The same that oft-times hath

    harm’d magic casements, C

    opening on the foam

    Of perilous seas, in faery lands

    forlorn. [far away]



    Stanza VIII---The nightingale’s melody faded away, but I was still absorbed in it. I was half awake and half asleep. 昔人已乘


    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 famed to do, deceiving elf.[


    Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades

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