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Yet do I sometimes feel a languishment .
To sit upon an Alp as on a throne,
Evough their whitest arms in silence clinging:
Beauties of deeper glance, and hear their singing,
And float with them about the summer waters'. Mr. Keats was, in the truest sense of the word, a Poet. There is but a small portion of the public acquainted with the writings of this young man; yet they were full of high imagination and delicate fancy, and his images were beautiful and more entirely his own, perhaps, than those of any living writer whatever. He had a fine ear, a tender heart, and at times great force and originality of expression; and notwithstanding all this, he has been suffered to rise and pass away almost without a notice: the laurel has been awarded (for the present) to other brows; the bolder aspirants have been allowed to take their station on the slippery steps of the Temple of Fame, while he has been nearly hidden among the crowd during his life, and has at last died, solitary and in sorrow, in a foreign land.
It is at all times difficult, if not impossible, to argue others into a love of poets and poetry: it is altogether a matter of feeling, and we must leave to time (while it hallows his memory) to do justice to the reputation of Keats. There were many, however, even among the critics, who held his powers in high estimation; and it was well observed by the Editor of the Edinburgh Review, that there was no other author whatever, whose writings would form so good a test by which to try the love which any one professed to bear towards poetry. In proof of this assertion, we need only refer to the beautiful extract from the Eve of St. Agnes,' already given 'Poems by John Keats, p. 95, 1817;
in pp. 12-13, and to the following exquisite Ode to a Nightingale,' which, that we may do ample justice to the author, we shall quote entire. The poem will be more striking to the reader, when he understands that it was written not long before Mr. Keats left England, when the author's powerful mind had for some time past inhabited a sickened and shaking body,--and had suffered deeply from the baleful effects of the poisoned shafts of critical malignity!
My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains'
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had suok:
In some melodious plot
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
Cooled a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!
And purple-stained mouth;
And with thee fade away into the forest dim:
What thou among the leaves has never known,
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
And leaden-eyed despairs ;
Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
Though the doll brain perplexes and retards :
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
Clustered around by all her starry Fays;
But here there is no light,
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
And mid-May's eldest child,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves..
I have been half in love with easy Death,
Now more than ever seems it rich to die, .
In such an ecstasy!
To thy high requiem become a sod.
No hungry generations tread thee down;
In antient days by emperor and clown :
The same that oft-times hath
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.
In the next valley-glades:
Fled is that music:-Do I wake or sleep??
* Lamia, Isabella and other Poems, by John Keats, p. 113, 1820.
24.-_SAINT MATTHIAS. Matthias was, probably, one of the seventy disciples, and was a constant attendant upon our Lord, from the time of his baptism by St. John until his ascension. The gospel and traditions published under his name are considered spurious.
27.-EMBER WEEK. There are four Ember Weeks in the year, namely, after the first Sunday in Lent, after the feast of Pentecost, after the 14th of September, and after the 13th of December. It is enjoined by a canon of the church, 'that Deacons and Ministers be ordained, or made, but only on the Sundays immediately following these Ember feasts.'--(Nelson.)
*27. 1821.—JOHN SCOTT DIED, ÆT. 37, At Chalk Farm, where he had remained since the fatal duel which took place between him and Mr. Christie, on the evening of the 16th Feb. He was of late known to the literary world, as the Editor of • Baldwin's London Magazine,' to him a fatal preeminence, which he enjoyed only for a short period. Mr. Scott was, for some time, the Editor of the * Champion Newspaper;'_and afterwards published his Paris Visited and Revisited,' works of great power and auspicious promise, and which at once raised him to a high place among men of talent and genius. He seemed gifted by nature with a vigorous fancy and strong conception; and although the purity of his taste and style might sometimes be questioned, a spirit with which we delighted to sympathise breathed throughout his writings, while the soundness of his judgment, and the purity of his principles, stamped a peculiar value on all his compositions. Mr. Scott was obviously a man of an ardent and original mind. His ideas of honour were as lofty as his love of virtue was innate and habitual. But while his talents commanded ad-,
miration, the qualities of his heart were fitted to secure the affections of his friends; and no man ever had fairer prospects of rising to distinction in the world, Mr. Scott was also the author of "The House of Mourning,'a poem; of a posthumous work, entitled, 'Sketches of Manners, &e, in France, Switzerland, and Italy;' and of an excellent “Essay on French Literature,' printed with the last mentioned work.
* , 1798.-THE FRENCH ENTERED ROME. . Oh! Rome, the spoiler or the spoil of France,
From Brennus to the Bourbon, never, never
Shall foreign standard to thy walls advance,
Ob! when the strangers pass the Alps and Po,
Crush them, ye rocks! floods, whelm them, and for ever!
To topple on the lonely pilgrim's herd?
Why doth Eridanus but overflow
Were not each barbarous horde a nobler prey?
Over Cambyses' host the desert spread
Rolled over Pharaoh and his thousands--why,
Mountains and waters, do ye not as they ?
Sons of the conquerors who overthrew
Those who overthrew proud Xerxes, where yet lie.
Are the Alps weaker than Thermopylæ?
Their passes more alluring to the view
That to each host the inountain-gate unbar,
And leave the march in peace, the passage free?
And makes your land impregnable, if earth
Could be so; but alone she will not war,
In a soil where the mothers bring forth men :
Not so with those whose souls are little worth;
Of the poor reptile which preserves its sting
Is more secure than walls of adamant, when