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Ode on Melancholy

Ode on Melancholy


by John Keats

Ode on Melancholy Sadness Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Line)

Quote #1

     Nor let the beetle, nor the death-moth be
          Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl
A partner in your sorrow's mysteries; (6-8)

The speaker warns the reader against obsessing over traditional emblems of depression, like the beetle, the death-moth, or the owl. Obsessing over these symbols melancholy will keep us from fully experiencing the actual feeling of melancholy, which is kind of the whole point.

Quote #2

     For shade to shade will come too drowsily,
          And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul. (9-10)

Here the speaker tells us why we shouldn't drug ourselves, commit suicide, or waste our time contemplating traditional emblems of depression: it's because we should focus on being awake and alert. We should wake up and pay attention to our melancholy and really appreciate the sensations it brings.

Quote #3

But when the melancholy fit shall fall
     Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud, (11-12)

The speaker says that sadness can fall over us all of a sudden, for no particular reason, just like a fog can descend from the sky. You don't have to have something to be depressed about—sometimes you just feel depressed. These lines also suggest that melancholy is completely natural, like the weather—you can prepare for it, but you can't avoid it. You just gotta let it happen.

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