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Ode on Melancholy: a.k.a. Sadness

From the start, it is given that this poem is going to contain depressed images,

imagery of sad mythological creatures and those whose worlds were turned upside down

and filled with great sorrow because of the choices made by individuals. Ode to

Melancholy: A lyrical poem addressed to sadness and depression of the spirits. The first line is a warning sign. It warns the reader to avoid the river Lethe, the river of

forgetfulness. The river that flows beneath the ground in the Underworld, ruled by Hades.

Souls of the dead drink the water in order to forget their earthy lives. The line is giving

the impression that it is not good to forget. Do not allow yourself to get so entirely

wrapped up in yourself that you forget the world around you.

Psyche was a mortal, whom all the world began to worship for her beauty. Venus

did not appreciate this for she was the goddess of beauty and no one else dare worship

another but her. She commanded her son, Cupid, God of Love, to put a curse on

beautiful Psyche. Instead, he fell in love with her and he put her in a secret palace and

visited her secretly, in the dark, every night. Pysche did not know who it was that had

taken her captive, for Cupid would not allow her to see his face, but she grew to enjoy his

company. She was not happy enough with having Cupid there in the dark and her

curiosity got the better of her, she attempted to sneak a peak at Cupid and he awakened

from his slumber and banished her because he had warned her to refrain from catching a

glimpse of his face. Venus forced her to complete difficult tasks and she spent many years

searching the earth looking for Cupid. He eventually rescued her and they became

husband and wife. The moral of this footnote is that one should not unhappy with what

one has, it may bring misfortune and grief. Psyche was miserable for a long time, although

she did not drink from the river Lethe, she was not happy with her current life and wanted

more. Her longing to see her lover forced her to become melancholy and grief stricken

and she was forced to repent.

This piece by John Keats suggests that one should avoid the onset of sadness,

accept what is yours and nothing more. If you attempt to mourn and be sad, ?shade to

shade will come too drowsily,/And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.? Here he

saying that mourning will cause death. Do not try to forget, just accept and carry on with

your life. Things could be worse.

1.) Merriam Webster?s Encyclopedia of Literature. ?Lethe?. Library of Congress

Catalog in Publication Data. Merriam Webster Inc. Springfield, Mass. 1995.

2.) Merriam Webster?s Encyclopedia of Literature. ?Psyche?. Library of Congress

Catalog in Publication Data. Merriam Webster Inc. Springfield, Mass. 1995.

3.) Cassell: Dictioanry of Classical Mythology. ?Psyche?. Jenny March. Cassell

Wellington House. United Kingdom. 1998.


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