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THE FISH, THE MAN, AND THE SPIRIT

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be,

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To ring in thoughtful ears this natural Gulping salt-water everlastingly, song,

Cold-blooded, though with red your blood In doors and out, summer and winter, be graced, Mirth.

And mute, though dwellers in the roaring

waste; ABOU BEN ADHEM

And you, all shapes beside, that fishy (1834)

Some round, some Aat, some long, all Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)

devilry, Awoke one night from a deep dream of Legless, unloving, infamously chaste: peace,

O scaly, slippery, wet, swift, staring And saw, within the moonlight in his wights, room,

What is 't ye do? what life lead? eh, dull Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,

goggles ? An angel writing in a book of gold. 5

How do ye vary your vile days and Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem

nights? bold,

How pass your Sundays? Are ye still And to the presence in the room he said, but joggles “What writest thou?” — The vision raised

In ceaseless wash? Still naught but gapes, its head,

and bites, And, with a look made of all sweet ac

And drinks, and stares, diversified with cord,

boggles ? Answered, “The names of those who love

the Lord.” “And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,"

A Fish answers: Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,

Amazing monster! that, for aught I But cheerly still; and said, “I pray thee,

know,

15 then,

With the first sight of thee didst make our Write me

as one that loves his fellowmen.'

For ever stare! 0 Aat and shocking The angel wrote, and vanished. The face, next night

Grimly divided from the breast below! It came again, with a great wakening Thou that on dry land horribly dost go light,

With a split body and most ridiculous And showed the names whom love of God pace, had blessed,

Prong after prong, disgracer of all And lo! Ben Adhem's name led all the grace,

Long-useless-finned, haired, upright, un

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race

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rest.

wet, slow!

THE FISH, THE MAN, AND THE

SPIRIT
(1857)

O breather of unbreathable sword-sharp

air, How canst exist? How bear thyself, thou

dry
And dreary sloth? What particle canst

share
Of the only blessed life, the watery?
I sometimes see of ye an actual pair
Go by, linked fin by fin, most odiously!

To Fish:
You strange, astonished-looking, angle-

faced,
Dreary-mouthed, gaping wretches of the

sea,

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roar.

35

and graves,

40

The Fish turns into a Man, and then into The songs of birds, the whisp'ring of the a Spirit, and again speaks:

leaves, Indulge thy smiling scorn, if smiling still,

The voice of waters, the great bell that

heaves O man! and loathe, but with a sort of love:

With solemn sound, — and thousand others For difference must its use by difference

more,

That distance of recognizance bereaves, prove, And, in sweet clang, the spheres with

Make pleasing music, and not wild upmusic fill. One of the spirits am I, that at his will Live in whate'er has life — fish, eagle, ON FIRST LOOKING INTO CHAPdove

MAN'S HOMER No hate, no pride, beneath nought, nor

(1815) above, A visitor of the rounds of God's sweet Much have I travelled in the realms of skill.

gold, Man's life is warm, glad, sad, 'twixt loves And many goodly states and kingdoms

seen; Boundless in hope, honored with pangs Round many western islands have I been austere,

Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold. Heaven-gazing; and his angel-wings he Oft of one wide expanse had I been told 5 craves:

That deep-browed Homer ruled as his The fish is swift, small-needing, vague demesne; yet clear,

Yet did I never breathe its pure serene A cold, sweet, silver life, wrapped in round Till I heard Chapman speak out loud waves,

and bold: Quickened with touches of transporting Then felt I like some watcher of the fear.

skies When a new planet swims into his ken; 10

Or like stout Cortez when with eagle JOHN KEATS

eyes

He stared at the Pacific and all his (1795-1821)

Looked at each other with a wild surHOW MANY BARDS

mise
(1815)

Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
How many bards gild the lapses of time!
A few of them have ever been the food

O SOLITUDE
Of my delighted fancy, — I could brood

(1816) Over their beauties, earthly, or sublime. And often, when I sit down O solitude! if I must with thee dwell, rhyme,

Let it not be among the jumbled heap These will in throngs before my mind Of murky buildings: climb with me the intrude:

steep, But no confusion, no disturbance rude Nature's observatory — whence the dell, Do they occasion; 'tis a pleasing chime. Its flowery slopes, its river's crystal So the unnumbered sounds that evening swell

5 store:

May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep

men

me

to

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10

'Mongst boughs pavilioned, where the Of Hecate leaves them their old shadowy deer's swift leap

sound. Startles the wild bee from the fox-glove Often 'tis in such gentle temper found 5 bell.

That scarcely will the very smallest shell But though I'll gladly trace these scenes Be moved for days from where it somewith thee,

time fell, Yet the sweet converse of an innocent When last the winds of heaven were unmind,

bound. Whose words are images of thoughts re Oh ye! who have your eye-balls vexed and fined,

tired, Is my soul's pleasure; and it sure must be Feast them upon

the wideness of the Almost the highest bliss of humankind

Sea; When to thy haunts two kindred spirits Oh ye! whose ears are dinned with uproar flee.

rude, Or fed too much with cloying melody

Sit ON THE GRASSHOPPER AND

ye near some old cavern's mouth, and

brood CRICKET

Until ye start, as if the sea-nymphs quired! (1816)

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are

we

The poetry of earth is never dead:

From ENDYMION, BOOK FIRST When all the birds are faint with the hot

(1817) sun, And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: From hedge to hedge about the new-mown Its loveliness increases; it will never mead;

Pass into nothingness; but still will keep That is the Grasshopper's — he takes the A bower quiet for us, and a sleep lead

Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet In summer luxury, — he has never done breathing With his delights; for when tired out with Therefore, on every morrow, fun

wreathing He rests at ease beneath some pleasant A flowery band to bind us to the earth, weed.

Spite of despondence, of the inhuman The poetry of earth is ceasing never:

dearth On a lone winter evening, when the Of noble natures, of the gloomy days, frost

Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkened Has wrought a silence, from the stove ways there shrills

Made for our searching: yes, in spite of The Cricket's song, in warmth increasing ever,

Some shape of beauty moves away the pall And seems to one in drowsiness half lost, From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the The Grasshopper's among some grassy moon, hills.

Trees old and young, sprouting a shady

boon ON THE SEA

For simple sheep; and such are daffodils 15 (1817)

With the green world they live in; and It keeps eternal whisperings around

clear rills Desolate shores, and with its mighty swell That for themselves a cooling covert make Gluts twice ten thousand caverns, till the 'Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest spell

brake,

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all,

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See it half finished; but let Autumn

bold, With universal tinge of sober gold, Be all about me when I make an end. And now at once, adventuresome, I send My herald thought into a wilderness: There let its trumpet blow, and quickly

dress My uncertain path with green, that I may

speed Easily onward, thorough flowers and weed.

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Hymn to Pan

I

30

Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose

blooms: And such too is the grandeur of the

dooms We have imagined for the mighty dead; All lovely tales that we have heard or

read: An endless fountain of immortal drink, Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink.

Nor do we merely feel these essences 25 For one short hour; no, even as the trees That whisper round a temple become soon Dear as the temple's self, so does the

moon, The passion poesy, glories infinite, Haunt us till they become a cheering

light Unto our souls, and bound to us so fast That, whether there be shine, or gloom

o'ercast, They alway must be with us, or we die.

Therefore, 'tis with full happiness that I Will trace the story of Endymion. The very music of the name has gone Into my being, and each pleasant scene Is growing fresh before me as the green Of our own valleys: so I will begin Now while I cannot hear the city's din; 40 Now while the early budders are just new, And run in mazes of the youngest hue About old forests; while the willow trails Its delicate amber; and the dairy pails Bring home increase of milk. And, as the

year Grows lush in juicy stalks, I'll smoothly

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O thou, whose mighty palace roof doth

hang From jagged trunks, and overshadoweth Eternal whispers, glooms, the birth, life,

death Of unseen flowers in heavy peaceful

ness; Who lov'st to see the hamadryads dress Their ruffled locks where meeting hazels

darken; And through whole solemn hours dost sit

and hearken The dreary melody of bedded reeds, In desolate places, where dank moisture

breeds The pipy hemlock to strange

growth, Be thinking thee how melancholy loth Thou wast to lose fair Syrinx do thou

now, By thy love's milky brow, By all the trembling mazes that she ran,

245 Hear us, great Pan!

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over

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steer

II

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My little boat, for many quiet hours, With streams that deepen freshly into

bowers. Many and many a verse I hope to write Before the daisies, vermeil rimmed and

white, Hide in deep herbage; and ere yet the

bees Hum about globes of clover and sweet

peas, I must be near the middle of my story. O may no wintry season, bare and hoary,

[blocks in formation]

corn

even

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come

over

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are

come

VOWS

V

III

to

of

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Of thine enmossèd realms: 0 thou, to When snouted wild-boars routing tender

whom Broad-leaved fig trees

now fore

Anger our huntsman: breather round our doom

farms, Their ripened fruitage; yellow-girted bees To keep off mildews, and all weather Their golden honeycombs; our village leas harms: Their fairest-blossomed beans and poppied Strange ministrant of undescribed corn;

sounds, The chuckling linnet its five young un That

a-swooning

hollow born,

grounds, To sing for thee; low creeping straw And wither drearily on barren moors: berries

Dread opener of the mysterious doors Their summer coolness; pent up butter Leading to universal knowledge — see, Alies

Great son of Dryope,
Their freckled wings; yea, the fresh-bud-

The
many
that

to pay their ding year All its completions — be quickly near, 260 With leaves about their brows! By every wind that nods the mountain

pine,
O forester divine !

Be still the unimaginable lodge
For solitary thinkings; such as dodge
Conception the

very bourne Thou, to whom every fawn and satyr

heaven, Aies

Then leave the naked brain: be still the For willing service: whether to surprise The squatted hare while in half-sleeping That, spreading in this dull and clodded

leaven fit;

earth, Or upward ragged precipices Ait

Gives it a touch ethereal, - a new birth: To save poor lambkins from the eagle's

Be still a symbol of immensity; maw;

A firmament reflected in a sea; Or by mysterious enticement draw

An element filling the space between; Bewildered shepherds to their path again;

An unknown But no more: we humbly Or to. tread breathless round the frothy main

With uplift hands our foreheads, lowly And gather up all fancifullest shells

bending, For thee to tumble into naiads' cells, And, being hidden, laugh at their out

And, giving out a shout most heaven-rend

ing, peeping;

receive Conjure - thee to

humble Or to delight thee with fantastic leaping,

pæan, The while they pelt each other on the

Upon thy Mount Lycean!

275 With silvery oak-apples, and fir-cones brown

IN A DREAR-NIGHTED By all the echoes that about thee ring,

DECEMBER Hear us, O satyr king!

(1817)

In a drear-nighted December,
O hearkener to the loud-clapping shears, Too happy, happy tree,
While ever and anon to his shorn peers 280 Thy branches ne'er remember
A ram goes bleating: winder of the horn, Their green felicity:

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screen

270.

our

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crown

IV

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