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Of the remote horizon. The near scene,
Some might lament that I were cold, In naked and severe simplicity,
As I, when this sweet day is gone, Made contrast with the universe. A pine,
Which my lost heart, too soon grown old, Rock-rooted, stretched athwart the vacancy,
Insults with this untimely moan; Its swinging boughs to each inconstant blast
They niight lament-for I am one Yielding one only response, at each pause,
Whom men love not; and yet regret, In most familiar cadence, with the howl,
Unlike this day, which, when the sun The thunder, and the hiss of homeless streams,
Shall on its stainless glory set,
Lines to an Indian Air.
I arise from dreams of thee,
In the first sweet sleep of night, Was there. Even on the edge of that vast mountain,
When the winds are breathing low, Upheld by knotty roots and fallen rocks,
And the stars are shining bright; It overlooked, in its serenity,
I arise from dreams of thee, The dark earth and the bending vault of stars.
And a spirit in my feet It was a tranquil spot, that seemed to smile
Has led me who knows how? Even in the lap of horror; ivy clasped
To thy chamber window, sweet. The fissured stones with its entwining arms,
The wandering airs they faint And did embower with leaves for ever green,
On the dark and silent stream, And berries dark, the smooth and even space
The Champak odours fail Of its inviolated floor; and here
Like sweet thoughts in a dream; The children of the autumnal whirlwind bore,
The nightingale's complaint, In wanton sport, those bright leaves whose decay,
It dies upon her heart, Red, yellow, or ethereally pale,
As I must do on thine,
O, beloved as thou art!
O lift me from the grass !
I die, I faint, I fail;
Let thy love in kisses rain
On my lips and eyelids pale.
My cheek is cold and white, alas! The sun is warm, the sky is clear,
My heart beats loud and fast;
Oh! press it close to thine again,
Where it will break at last.
Music, when soft voices die,
Vibrates in the memory-
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken. I see the deep's untrampled floor
Rose leaves, when the rose is dead, With green and purple sea-weeds strown ;
Are heaped for the beloved's bed; I see the waves upon the shore,
And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.
JOHN KEATS was born in London, October 28, How sweet, did any heart now share in my emotion! | 1796, in the house of his grandfather, who nep
livery stable at Moorfields. He received his edu. Alas! I have nor hope, nor health,
cation at Enfield, and in his fifteenth year was Nor peace within, nor calm around,
apprenticed to a surgeon. Most of his time, how Nor that content, surpassing wealth,
ever, was devoted to the cultivation of his literis The sage in meditation found,
talents, which were early conspicuous. During his And walked with inward glory crowned ;
apprenticeship, he made and carefully wrote our Nor fame, nor power, nor love, nor leisure. literal translation of Virgil's Æneid, and instructeu Others I see whom these surround
himself also in some knowledge of Greek alle Smiling they live, and call life pleasure;
Italian. One of his earliest friends and critics WAS To me that cup has been dealt in another measure. Mr Leigh Hunt, who, being shown some of his
poetical pieces, was struck, he says, with the exte Yet now despair itself is mild,
berant specimens of genuine though young pe Even as the winds and waters are ;
that were laid before him, and the promise o I could lie down like a tired child,
was seconded by the fine fervid countenance of the And weep away the life of care
writer. In 1818 Keats published his Endymion, Which I have borne, and yet must bear,
Poetic Romance, defective in many parts, but ev Till death like sleep might steal on me,
ing rich though undisciplined powers of imagine And I might feel in the warm air
tion. The poem was criticised, in a strain of con, My cheek grow cold, and hear the sea
temptuous severity, by the Quarterly Review; a Breathe o'er my dying brain its last monotony.
such was the sensitiveness of the young poeta
ing for distinction, and flattered by a few pun 1 A line seems to have been lost at this place. probably by friends—that the critique embittered his ac an oversight of the transcriber.
I and induced a fatal disease. The first effects," sa
Shelley, 'are described to me to have resembled in- divine authors is, that imagination in them is subsanity, and it was by assiduous watching that he was ordinate to reason and judgment, while, with him, restrained from effecting purposes of suicide. The it is paramount and supreme; that their ornaments agony of his sufferings at length produced the rup and images are employed to embellish and recom
mend just sentiments, engaging incidents, and natural characters, while his are poured out without measure or restraint, and with no apparent design but to unburden the breast of the author, and give vent to the overflowing vein of his fancy. There is no work from which a malicious critic could cull more matter for ridicule, or select more obscure, unnatural, or absurd passages. But we do not take that to be our office; and just beg leave, on the contrary, to say, that any one who, on this account, would represent the whole poem as despicable, must either have no notion of poetry or no regard to truth.' The readers of poetry confirmed this judgment; but their verdict, however grateful, came too late to save the poet. He was now far gone in consumption. As a last resource, he resolved to try the milder climate of Italy-going first to Naples, and from thence to Rome. He suffered so much in his lingering,' says Mr Leigh Hunt, that he used to watch the countenance of his physician for the favourable and fatal sentence, and express his regret when he found it delayed. Yet no impatience escaped him—he was manly and gentle to the last, and grateful for all services. A little before he died, he said that he felt the daisies growing over him.' He died
on the 27th of December 1820, and was buried, as Jobn Keats
his friend Shelley relates, “in the romantic and lonely
cemetery of the Protestants in that city, under the ture of a blood-vessel in the lungs, and the usual pyramid which is the tomb of Cestius, and the massy process of consumption appears to have begun.' The walls and towers, now mouldering and desolate, which process had begun, as was too soon apparent; but formed the circuit of ancient Rome. The cemetery Keats continued his studies, and in 1820 brought is an open space among the ruins, covered in winter out his second volume-Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of with violets and daisies. It might make one in love St Agnes, and other Poems. These falling into the with death to think that one should be buried in so hands of Jeffrey, were criticised in the Edinburgh sweet a place.* Review in a spirit of kindliness and just appreciation, which must have soothed the wounded feelings of the poet, and, with an author of a more healthy
* Preface to Adonais ; an elegy on the death of Keats. In
Shelley's correspondence is a letter by Mr Finch, giving an acand robust frame, would have amply atoned for the
count of Keats's last moments, less pleasing, but much more previous injustice that had been done him. Mr
striking than that of Hunt. Almost despairing of his case, Keats,' says the eloquent critic, ‘is, we understand,
he left his native shores by sea in a merchant-vessel for Naples, still a very young man; and his whole works, in
where he arrived, having received no benefit during the pasdeed, bear evidence enough of the fact. They mani sage, and brooding over the most melancholy and mortifying festly require, therefore, all the indulgence that can reflections ; and nursing a deeply-rooted disgust to life and to be claimed for a first attempt; but we think it no the world, owing to having been infamously treated by the very less plain that they deserve it; for they are flushed persons whom his generosity had rescued from want and all over with the rich lights of fancy, and so coloured He journeyed from Naples to Rome, and occupied, at the latand bestrown with the flowers of poetry, that, even ter place, lodgings which I had, on former occasions, more than while perplexed and bewildered in their labyrinths, once inhabited. Here he soon took to his bed, from which he it is impossible to resist the intoxication of their
never rose more. His passions were always violent, and his sweetness, or to shut our hearts to the enchantments
sensibility most keen. It is extraordinary that, proportionally
as his strength of body declined, these acquired fresh vigour; they so lavishly present. The models upon which he
and his temper at length became so outrageously violent, as to has formed himself in the “ Endymion,” the earliest
injure himsell, and annoy every one around him. He eagerly and by much the most considerable of his poems, are
wished for death. After leaving England, I believe that he selobviously the Faithful Shepherdess of Fletcher, and
dom courted the muse. He was accompanied by a friend of the Sad Shepherd of Ben Jonson, the exquisite mine, Mr Severn, a young painter, who will, I think, one day be metres and inspired diction of which he has copied the Coryphæus of the English school. He left all, and sacrificed with great boldness and fidelity; and, like his great every prospect, to accompany and watch over his friend Keats. originals, has also contrived to impart to the whole For many weeks previous to his death, he would see no one but piece that true rural and poetical air which breathes Mr Severn, who had almost risked his own life by unwearied only in them and in Theocritus—which is at once
attendance upon his friend, who rendered his situation doubly homely and majestic, luxurious and rude, and sets
unpleasant by the violence of his passions, exhibited even to
wards him, 80 much that he might be judged insane. His inbefore us the genuine sights, and sounds, and smells
tervals of remorse, too, were poignantly bitter. I believe that of the country, with all the magic and grace of Ely
Mr Severn, the heir of what little Keats left behind him at sium. His subject has the disadvantage of being
Rome, has only come into possession of very few manuscripts mythological; and in this respect, as well as on ac
of his friend. The poetical volume which was the inseparable count of the raised and rapturous tone it conse
companion of Keats, and which he took for his most darling quently assumes, his poetry may be better compared model in composition, was the Minor Poems of Shakspeare. perhaps to the Comus and the Arcades of Milton, of Byron (who thought the death of Keats a loss to our literature, which, also, there are many traces of imitation. The and who said, “His fragment of Hyperion seems actually in. great distinction, however, between him and these spired by the Titans, and is as sublime as Eschylue') alluda, It was the misfortune of Keats, as a poet, to be Sorrow more beautiful than Beauty's self! either extravagantly praised or unmercifully con- There was a listening fear in her regard, demned. The former was owing to the generous As if calamity bad but begun; partialities of friendship, somewhat obtrusively dis- | As if the van ward clouds of evil days played; the latter, in some degree, to resentment of Had spent their malice, and the sullen rear that friendship, connected as it was with party poli- | Was, with its stored thunder, labouring up. tics and peculiar views of society as well as of poetry. One hand she pressed upon that aching spot In the one case his faults, and in the other his merits, Where beats the human heart, as if just there, were entirely overlooked. An interval of more than Though an immortal, she felt cruel pain; twenty years should have dispelled these illusions The other upon Saturn's bended neck and prejudices. Keats was a true poet: he had the She laid, and to the level of his ear creative fancy, the ideal enthusiasm, and the nervous Leaning with parted lips, some words she spake susceptibility of the poetical temperament. If we In solemn tenor and deep organ tone; consider his extreme youth and delicate health, his Some mourning words, which in our feeble tongue solitary and interesting self-instruction, the severity Would come in these like accents_0! how frail, of the attacks made upon him by his hostile and To that large utterance of the early gods ! powerful critics, and, above all, the original richness 'Saturn, look up! though wherefore, poor old and picturesqueness of his conceptions and imagery,
king! even when they run to waste. he appears to be one I cannot say, “ O wherefore sleepest thou ?" of the greatest of the young self-taught poets. For heaven is parted from thee, and the earth Michael Bruce or Henry Kirke White cannot for a'| knows thee not thus affficted for a god; moment be compared with him : he is more like
he is more like | And ocean, too, with all its solemn noise, the Milton of Lycidas,' or the Spenser of the Tears
| Has from thy sceptre passed, and all the air of the Muses. What easy, finished, statuesque
Is emptied of thine hoary majesty. beauty and classic expression, for example, are dis
Thy thunder, conscious of the new command, played in this picture of Saturn and Thea l
Rumbles reluctant o'er our fallen house;
Scorches and burns our once serene domain.
O aching time! O moments big as years! [From . Hyperion. ")
All, as ye pass, swell out the monstrous truth, Deep in the shady sadness of a vale
And press it so upon our weary griefs Far sunken from the healthy breath of morn,
That unbelief has not a space to breathe. Far from the fiery noon, and eve's one star,
Saturn, sleep on! O, thoughtless, why did I Sat gray-haired Saturn, quiet as a stone,
Thus violate thy slumbrous solitude!
Why should I ope thy melancholy eyes?
Saturn, sleep oul while at thy feet I weep.'
As when, upon a tranced summer night, Not so much life as on a summer's day
Those green-robed senators of mighty woods, Robs one light seed from the feathered grass,
Tall oaks, branch-charmed by the earnest stan, But where the dead leaf fell, there did it rest.
Dream, and so dream all night without a stir, A stream went voiceless by, still deadened more
Save from one gradual solitary gust By reason of his fallen divinity
Which comes upon the silence, and dies off, Spreading a shade : the Naiad ’mid her reeds
As if the ebbing air had but one wave;
So came these words and went.
The antique grace and solemnity of passages de And slept there since. Upon the sodden ground this must be felt by every reader of poetry. Ide His old right hand lay nerveless, listless, dead,
chief defects of Keats are his want of distinctness Unsceptred; and his realmless eyes were closed ;
and precision, and the carelessness of his stress While his bowed head seemed listening to the earth,
There would seem to have been even atlectation His ancient mother, for some comfort yet.
his disregard of order and regularity; and he Demps It seemed no force could wake him from his place;
up images and conceits in such profusion, that he But there came one, who with a kindred hand
often form grotesque and absurd combinations Touched his wide shoulders, after bending low
fatigue the reader. Deep feeling and passion ar With reverence, though to one who knew it not.
rarely given to young poets redolent of lancy She was a goddess of the infant world;
warm from the perusal of the ancient authors. By her in stature the tall Amazon
difficulty with which Keats had mastered the case Had stood a pigmy's height: she would have ta’en Achilles by the hair, and bent his neck;
mythology gave it an undue importance in his mind Or with a finger stayed Ixion's wheel.
a more perfect knowledge would have harmonised
its materials, and shown him the beauty of China Her face was large as that of Memphian sphinx,
ness and simplicity of style--the last but the greates Pedestaled haply in a palace court,
advantage of classic studies. In poets like they When sages looked to Egypt for their lore.
Rogers, and Campbell, we see the ultimate effects But oh! how unlike marble was that face!
this taste; in Keats we have only the materials How beautiful, if sorrow had not made
unselected, and often shapeless. His imagina playfully and wittily, in his Don Juan, to the death of the was prolific of forms of beauty and grandeur, young poet :
the judgment was wanting to symmetrist
arrange them, assigning to each its due proper John Keats, who was killed off by one critique, Just as he really promised something great,
and its proper place. His fragments, howerti,
ich original, and If not intelligible, without Greek
the fragments of true genius-rich, orga Contrived to talk about the gods of late,
various ; and Mr Leigh Hunt is right in his opus Much as they might have been supposed to speak.
that the poems of Keats, with all their defects, Poor fellow ! His was an untoward fate;
be the sure companions in field gnd grove or by "Tis strange the mind, that very fiery particle,
who love to escape 'out of the strife of com Should let itself be snuffed out by an article.
I places into the haven of solitude and images
e and imagination.' [The Lady Madeline at her Devotions.]
And gather up all fancifullest shells
For tắee to tumble into Naiads' cells, [From the ' Eve of St Agnes.']
And, being hidden, laugh at their out-peeping; Out wont the taper as she hurried in;
Or to delight thee with fantastic leaping, Its little smoke in pallid moonshine died :
The while they pelt each other on the crown She closed the door, she panted, all akin
With silvery oak-apples, and fir cones brownTo spirits of the air and visions wide :
By all the echoes that about thee ring, No uttered syllable, or, wo betide!
Hear us, 0 satyr king! But to her heart her heart was voluble,
O hearkener to the loud-clapping shears, Paining with eloquence her balmy side;
While ever and anon to his shorn peers As though a tongueless nightingale should swell
A ram goes bleating: winder of the horn, Her throat in vain, and die heart-stified in her dell.
When snouted wild boars routing tender corn A casement high and triple-arched there was, Anger our huntsmen : breather round our farms, All garlanded with carven imageries
To keep off mildews and all weather harms: Of fruits, and flowers, and bunches of knot-grass, Strange ministrant of undescribed sounds, And diamonded with panes of quaint device That come a-swooning over hollow grounds, Innumerable, of stains and splendid dyes,
And wither drearily on barren moors : As are the tiger-moth's deep damasked wings; Dread opener of the mysterious doors And in the midst, 'mong thousand heraldries, Leading to universal knowledge—see,
And twilight saints, and dim emblazonings, Great son of Dryope, A shielded scutcheon blushed with blood of queens The many that are come to pay their vows and kings.
With leaves about their brows! Full on this casement shone the wintry moon, Be still the unimaginable lodge And threw warm gules on Madeline's fair breast,
For solitary thinkings; such as dodge As down she knelt for Heaven's grace and boon; Conception to the very bourne of heaven, Rose-bloom fell on her hands, together prest, Then leave the naked brain : be still the leaven, And on her silver cross soft amethyst,
| That, spreading in this dull and clodded earth, And on her hair a glory like a saint:
Gives it a touch ethereal-a new birth:
Be still a symbol of immensity;
An unknown-but no more: we humbly screen
With uplift hands our foreheads lowly bending, [From ‘Endymion.')
And giving out a shout most heaven-rending,
Conjure thee to receive our humble Pæan,
Upon thy Mount Lycean!
Ode to a Nightingale.
My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
1. One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk: In desolate places, where dank moisture breeds 'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot The pipy hemlock to strange overgrowth,
But being too happy in thy happiness, Bethinking thee how melancholy loath
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees, Thou wast to lose fair Syrinx-do thou now,
In some melodious plot By thy love's milky brow,
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless, By all the trembling mazes that she ran,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease. Hear us, great Pan?
O for a draught of vintage, that bath been O thou for whose soul-soothing quiet turtles
Cooled a long age in the deep-delved earth, Passion their voices cooingly 'mong myrtles,
Tasting of Flora and the country green, What time thou wanderest at eventide
Dance and Provencal song and sun-burnt mirth! Through sunny meadows, that outskirt the side
O for a beaker full of the warm south, Of thine enmossed realms : 0 thou to whom
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene, Broad-leaved fig-trees even now foredoom
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim, Their ripened fruitage ; yellow-girted bees
And purple-stained mouth; Their golden honeycombs; our village leas
That I might drink and leave the world unseen, Their fairest blossomed beans and poppied corn;
And with thee fade away into the forest dim: The chuckling linnet its five young unborn, To sing for thee; low creeping strawberries
Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget Their summer coolness; pent-up butterflies
What thou among the leaves hast never known, Their freckled wings; yea, the fresh budding year The weariness, the fever, and the fret All its completions-be quickly near,
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan; By every wind that nods the mountain pine,
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs, O forester divine !
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow Thou to whom every fawn and satyr flies
And leaden-eyed despairs; For willing service; whether to surprise
Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, The squatted hare while in half-sleeping fit;
Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow. Or upward ragged precipices flit To save poor larnbkins from the eagle's maw; | Away! away! for I will fly to thee Or by mysterious enticement draw
| Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards, Bewildered shepherds to their path again;
But on the viewless wings of Poesy, Or to tread breathless round the frothy main,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,
Where are the songs of spring? Ay, where are they! And haply the queen-moon is on her throne
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, Clustered around by all her starry fays ;
While barred clouds bloom the soft dying day, But here there is no light,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue; Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn Through verdurous blooms and winding mossy Among the river sallows, borne aloft ways.
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn ; I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
The redbreast whistles from a garden croft, But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
And gathering swallows twitter from the skies. Wherewith the seasonable month endows The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
Sonnets. White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
(On First Looking into Chapman's Homer.) Fast-fading violets covered up in leaves;
Much have I travelled in the realms of gold, And mid-May's eldest child,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen; The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
Round many western islands have I been The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves. Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told Darkling I listen; and for many a time
That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne: I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene Called him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold: To take into the air my quiet breath;
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
When a new planet swims into his ken; To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
Or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
He stared at the Pacific—and all his men In such an ecstacy!
Looked at each other with a wild surmise Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain
Silent, upon a peak in Darien. To thy high requiem become a sod.
(The Human Seasons. ] Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird!
Four seasons fill the measure of the year; No hungry generations tread thee down;
There are four seasons in the mind of man: The voice I hear this passing night was heard
He has his lusty Spring, when fancy clear In ancient days by emperor and clown :
Takes in all beauty with an easy span : Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
He has his Summer, when luxuriously Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
Spring's honied cud of youthful thought he loves She stood in tears amid the alien corn; The same that ofttimes hath
To ruminate, and by such dreaming nigh
Is nearest unto heaven : quiet coves Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam
His soul has in its Autumn, when his wings Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
He furleth close ; contented so to look Forlorn ! the very word is like a bell
On mists in idleness—to let fair things To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Pass by unheeded as a threshold brook. Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
He has his Winter too of pale misfeature, As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.
Or else he would forego his mortal nature. Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
[On England.] Past the near meadows, over the hill-stream,
Happy is England ! I could be content
To see no other verdure than its own;
To feel no other breezes than are blown
Through its tall woods with high romances blent; Fled is that music :-do I wake or sleep!
Yet do I sometimes feel a languishment
For skies Italian, and an inward groan
To sit upon an Alp as on a throne,
And half forget what world or worldling meant.
Happy is England, sweet her artless daughters ; Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Enough their simple loveliness for me;.
Enough their whitest arms in silence clinging:
Yet do I often warmly burn to see run; To bend with apples the mossed cottage trees,
Beauties of deeper glance, and hear their singing, And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
And float with them about their summer waters. To swell the gourd and plump the hazel shells
Lincs. With a sweet kernel ; to set budding more,
['The poet Keats walked in the Highlands, not with the And still more, later flowers for the bees,
joyousness, the rapture, of the young Rousseau, D Until they think warm days will never cease, hallowed pleasure of the soul which, in its fulness, For summer has o'er-brimmed their clammy cells. pain. The following extract of a poem, not publis
works, proves his intensity of feeling, even to Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store !
madness. It was written while on his journey, soor Sometimes, whoever seeks abroad may find
pilgrimage to the birthplace of Burns, not for the kids Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
world, but as a record for himself of the temper of his m Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; the time. It is a sure index to the more serious Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
character; but Keats, neither in writing nor in se Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook affect a sentiment-his gentle spirit knew not how
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers ; feit.'-New Monthly Magazine, 1822.] And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
There is a charm in footing slow Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Across a silent plain, Or by a cider-press with patient look,
Where patriot battle has been fought, Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.
Where glory had the gain :
Young Rousseau, but in that which, in its fulness, is akin to
& poem, not published in his
18 journey, soon after his
the more serious traits in his writing nor in speaking, could rit knew not how to counter