| Quote #1
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
The poem opens with the speaker "sinking" into mental confusion and intoxication. "Lethe" is associated with the loss of memory, so the poem takes place in an imaginative world, not the speaker's real, remembered world. The topic of his mental state will return again and again in the following seven stanzas.
| Quote #2
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
The speaker wants to escape from his everyday reality, which he obviously find unsatisfying. It's like being at a really bad party and trying to slip out the back door unnoticed. The poem is full of images of "sinking" and "fading" into darkness. Darkness might symbolize death.
| Quote #3
Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
The poem debates the various ways to leave the world behind and join the nightingale. Wine and drunkenness, symbolized by the Greek god Bacchus and his pals, are dismissed, and Poetry takes their place. This is the beginning of the section that takes place in fantasy.