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In Drear-Nighted December Analysis



Author: poem of John Keats Type: poem Views: 14

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In drear-nighted December,

Too happy, happy tree,

Thy branches ne'er remember

Their green felicity:

The north cannot undo them

With a sleety whistle through them;

Nor frozen thawings glue them

From budding at the prime.



In drear-nighted December,

Too happy, happy brook,

Thy bubblings ne'er remember

Apollo's summer look;

But with a sweet forgetting,

They stay their crystal fretting,

Never, never petting

About the frozen time.



Ah! would 'twere so with many

A gentle girl and boy!

But were there ever any

Writhed not at passed joy?

The feel of not to feel it,

When there is none to heal it

Nor numbed sense to steel it,

Was never said in rhyme.






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||| Analysis | Critique | Overview Below |||

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Keats\' poem examines the idea that the worst part of suffering is often to remember a time when we were happy.
He would have found this idea in the words of Francesca da Rimini in Dante\'s Inferno:
Nessun maggior dolore
che ricordarsi del tempo felice
ne la miseri.
(No greater torment thatn to remember happy times in misery)
IN a drear-nighted December,
Too happy, happy tree,
Thy branches ne’er remember
Their green felicity:
(Tree, you are happy because in this bleak December you cannot remember what it was like to be green and fresh last Spring)
The north cannot undo them,
With a sleety whistle through them;
Nor frozen thawings glue them
From budding at the prime.
(The cold wind freezes you, and the frost glues your leaves together; but none of this makes you forget the good times of last Spring).
In a drear-nighted December,
Too happy, happy brook,
Thy bubblings ne’er remember
Apollo’s summer look;
(Brook, you are happy because in the cold winter you never remember what it was like to glisten in sunshine)
But with a sweet forgetting,
They stay their crystal fretting,
Never, never petting
About the frozen time.
(You may freeze solid, but you never have to remember what it was like to flow freely in the Summer time).
Ah! would ’t were so with many
A gentle girl and boy!
But were there ever any
Writhed not at passed joy?
(Girls and boys would be lucky to have no memories, but they all feel it when they lose their love).
To know the change and feel it,
When there is none to heal it,
Nor numbed sense to steal it,
Was never said in rhyme.
(Feeling the loss even though there i nothing to make it better, nor any way to forget about it, is not something any poem can talk about).

| Posted on 2011-08-28 | by a guest




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