Vocabulary and Allusions
Line 2, hemlock: a poison made
from an herb or a poisonous drink made from that herb.
Line 4, Lethe: a river in Hades (the underworld). Souls about
to be reincarnated drank from it to forget their past lives.
Line 7, Dryad: a wood nymph or nymph of the trees. Dryads or
nymphs were female personifications of natural features, like mountains
and rivers; they were young, beautiful, long-lived and liked music and
dance. A Dryad was connected to a specific tree and died when the tree
Line 3, Flora: goddess of
flowers and fertility.
Line 4. Provencal: of Provence, an area in the south of France
associated with song, pleasure, and luxury.
Line 6, Hippocrene: a spring sacred to the Muses, located on
Mt.Helicon. Drinking its waters inspired poets. (The nine muses were
associated with different arts, such as epic poetry, sacred song, and
Line 2, Bacchus: Roman god of
which drew Bacchus's chariot.
Line 3, viewless: invisible.
Poesy: poetry in
general or, depending n how you read this ode,a specific kind of
poetry: visionary poetry
Line 6, haply: perhaps, by chance.
Line 7, fays: fairies.
Line 10, verdurous: green.
Line 3, embalmed: (1) fragrant,
(2) preserved body. Is Keats using both meanings here to suggest the
inextricably mixed nature of life?
Line 1, darkling: in the dark.
Line 10, requiem: song or musical service for the repose of the
Line 6, Ruth: Boaz saw Ruth,
the Moabite, working in the fields, fell in love with her and married
her; David is one of her descendents. A book in the Bible is named
after her. She is frequently alluded to by poets for her devotion to
her mother-in-law Naomi or as a stranger in a strange land. In a sense
she has achieved immortality.
Line 7, corn: grain, often wheat, in British usage.
Line 9, casements: windows.
Line 5, plaintive: expressing
anthem: (1)a hymn of
joy or praise, patriotism, or devotion; (2) a sacred choral song
generally based on words from the Bible. Both meanings carry with them
intense feelings and high seriousness. Which meaning do you think Keats
intends? Does one fit better with requiem? Can both meanings be meant
"Ode to a Nightingale" || Core Studies 6 Page || Melani