Study Guide

Ode to a Nightingale Tough-O-Meter

By John Keats


(5) Tree Line

Keats can get very flowery with his language, and his frequent references to Greek mythology can drive a reader who is unfamiliar with "dryads" and "Hippocrene" straight into the arms of his or her encyclopedia. But this is really just a poem about a guy who wants to get drunk and leave the world behind. Not everything makes perfect sense, but neither do drunken people. If you can't figure out why the moon is described as a queen or what a "magic casement" is, just imagine someone pointing at Keats and tipping an imaginary bottle back, the universal symbol of, "Don't mind him – he's had a bit too much today."