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John keats

John Keats

POEMS
FOLLOWERS
22

I had a dove, and the sweet dove died,
And I have thought it died of grieving;
O what could it grieve for? Its feet were tied
With a silken thread of my own hand’s weaving:
Sweet little red feet! Why would you die?
Why would you leave me, sweet bird, why?
You liv’d alone on the forest tree,
Why, pretty thing, could you not live with me?
I kiss’d you oft, and gave you white pease;
Why not live sweetly as in the green trees?

The day is gone, and all its sweets are gone!
   Sweet voice, sweet lips, soft hand, and softer breast,
Warm breath, light whisper, tender semi—tone,
   Bright eyes, accomplish’d shape, and lang’rous waist!
Faded the flower and all its budded charms,
   Faded the sight of beauty from my eyes,
Faded the shape of beauty from my arms,
   Faded the voice, warmth, whiteness, paradise—
Vanish’d unseasonably at shut of eve,
   When the dusk holiday– or holinight
Of fragrant—curtain’d love begins to weave
   The woof of darkness thick, for hid delight,
But, as I’ve read love’s missal through to—day,
He’ll let me sleep, seeing I fast and pray.

Cat! who hast pass’d thy grand climacteric,
How many mice and rats hast in thy days
Destroy’d? How many tit bits stolen? Gaze
With those bright languid segments green, and prick
Those velvet ears—but pr’ythee do not stick
Thy latent talons in me—and upraise
Thy gentle mew—and tell me all thy frays,
Of fish and mice, and rats and tender chick.
Nay, look not down, nor lick thy dainty wrists—
For all thy wheezy asthma—and for all
Thy tail’s tip is nick’d off—and though the fists
Of many a maid have given thee many a maul,
Still is that fur as soft, as when the lists
In youth thou enter’dest on glass bottled wall.

'Tis the witching hour of night,
Orbed is the moon and bright,
And the stars they glisten, glisten,
Seeming with bright eyes to listen—
For what listen they?
For a song and for a charm,
See they glisten in alarm,
And the moon is waxing warm
To hear what I shall say.
Moon! keep wide thy golden ears—
Hearken, stars! and hearken, spheres!—
Hearken, thou eternal sky!
I sing an infant’s lullaby,
A pretty lullaby.
Listen, listen, listen, listen,
Glisten, glisten, glisten, glisten,
And hear my lullaby!
Though the rushes that will make
Its cradle still are in the lake—
Though the linen that will be
Its swathe, is on the cotton tree—
Though the woollen that will keep
It warm, is on the silly sheep—
Listen, starlight, listen, listen,
Glisten, glisten, glisten, glisten,
And hear my lullaby!
Child, I see thee! Child, I’ve found thee
Midst of the quiet all around thee!
And thy mother sweet is nigh thee!
But a Poet evermore!
See, see, the lyre, the lyre,
In a flame of fire,
Upon the little cradle’s top
Flaring, flaring, flaring,
Past the eyesight’s bearing,
Awake it from its sleep,
And see if it can keep
Its eyes upon the blaze—
Amaze, amaze!
It stares, it stares, it stares,
It dares what no one dares!
It lifts its little hand into the flame
Unharm’d, and on the strings
Paddles a little tune, and sings,
With dumb endeavour sweetly—
Bard art thou completely!
Little child
O’ th’ western wild,
Bard art thou completely!
Sweetly with dumb endeavour,
A Poet now or never,
Little child
O’ th’ western wild,
A Poet now or never!

Shed no tear! O shed no tear!
The flower will bloom another year.
Weep no more! O weep no more!
Young buds sleep in the root’s white core,
Dry your eyes! O dry your eyes!
For I was taught in Paradise
To ease my breast of melodies —
Shed no tear.

Overhead! look overhead!
‘Mong the blossoms white and red
Look up, look up. I flutter now
On this fresh pomegranate bough.
See me! ’tis this silvery bill
Ever cures the good man’s ill.
Shed no tear! O shed no tear!
The flower will bloom another year.
Adieu, Adieu —I fly, adieu,
I vanish in the heaven’s blue —
Adieu, Adieu!

When they were come into Faery’s Court
They rang—no one at home—all gone to sport
And dance and kiss and love as faerys do
For Faries be as human lovers true—
Amid the woods they were so lone and wild
Where even the Robin feels himself exil’d
And where the very books as if affraid
Hurry along to some less magic shade.
'No one at home’! the fretful princess cry’d
'And all for nothing such a dre[a]ry ride
And all for nothing my new diamond cross
No one to see my persian feathers toss
No one to see my Ape, my Dwarf, my Fool
Or how I pace my Otaheitan mule.
Ape, Dwarf and Fool why stand you gaping there
Burst the door open, quick—or I declare
I’ll switch you soundly and in pieces tear.'
The Dwarf began to tremble and the Ape
Star’d at the Fool, the Fool was all agape
The Princess grasp’d her switch but just in time
The Dwarf with piteous face began to rhyme.
'O mighty Princess did you ne’er hear tell
What your poor servants know but too too well
Know you the three great crimes in faery land
The first alas! poor Dwarf I understand
I made a whipstock of a faery’s wand
The next is snoring in their company
The next the last the direst of the three
Is making free when they are not at home.
I was a Prince—a baby prince—my doom
You see, I made a whipstock of a wand
My top has henceforth slept in faery land.
He was a Prince the Fool, a grown up Prince
But he has never been a King’s son since
He fell a snoring at a faery Ball
Your poor Ape was a Prince and he poor thing
But ape—so pray your highness stay awhile
'Tis sooth indeed we know it to our sorrow—
Persist and you may be an ape tomorrow—
While the Dwarf spake the Princess all for spite
Peal’d the brown hazel twig to lilly white
Clench’d her small teeth, and held her lips apart
Try’d to look unconcerned with beating heart.
They saw her highness had made up her mind
And quaver’d like the reeds before the wind
And they had had it, but O happy chance
The Ape for very fear began to dance
And grin’d as all his uglyness did ache—
She staid her vixen fingers for his sake
He was so very ugly: then she took
Her pocket mirror and began to look
First at herself and [then] at him and then
She smil’d at her own beauteous face again.
Yet for all this—for all her pretty face
She took it in her head to see the place.
Women gain little from experience
Either in Lovers, husbands or expense.
The more their beauty the more fortune too
Beauty before the wide world never knew.
So each fair reasons—tho’ it oft miscarries.
She thought her pretty face would please the fa[e]ries.
‘My darling Ape I wont whip you today
Give me the Picklock sirrah and go play.’
They all three wept but counsel was as vain
As crying cup biddy to drops of rain.
Yet lingeringly did the sad Ape forth draw
The Picklock from the Pocket in his Jaw.
The Princess took it and dismounting straight
Trip’d in blue silver’d slippers to the gate
And touch’d the wards, the Door full courteously
Opened—she enter’d with her servants three.
Again it clos’d and there was nothing seen
But the Mule grasing on the herbage green.
End of Canto xii.

Canto the xiii.
The Mule no sooner saw himself alone
Than he prick’d up his Ears—and said 'well done!
At least unhappy Prince I may be free—
No more a Princess shall side saddle me
O King of Othaiete—tho’ a Mule
'Aye every inch a King’—tho’ 'Fortune’s fool.'
Well done—for by what Mr. Dwarfy said
I would not give a sixpence for her head.'
Even as he spake he trotted in high glee
To the knotty side of an old Pollard tree
And rub’d his sides against the mossed bark
Till his Girths burst and left him naked stark
Except his Bridle—how get rid of that
Buckled and tied with many a twist and plait.
At last it struck him to pretend to sleep
And then the thievish Monkies down would creep
And filch the unpleasant trammels quite away.
No sooner thought of than adown he lay
Sham’d a good snore—the Monkey-men descended
And whom they thought to injure they befriended.
They hung his Bridle on a topmost bough
And of[f] he went run, trot, or anyhow—

To one who has been long in city pent,
         'Tis very sweet to look into the fair
         And open face of heaven,—to breathe a prayer
Full in the smile of the blue firmament.
Who is more happy, when, with heart’s content,
         Fatigued he sinks into some pleasant lair
         Of wavy grass, and reads a debonair
And gentle tale of love and languishment?
Returning home at evening, with an ear
         Catching the notes of Philomel,—an eye
Watching the sailing cloudlet’s bright career,
         He mourns that day so soon has glided by:
E’en like the passage of an angel’s tear
         That falls through the clear ether silently.

Lo! I must tell a tale of chivalry;
For large white plumes are dancing in mine eye.
Not like the formal crest of latter days:
But bending in a thousand graceful ways;
So graceful, that it seems no mortal hand,
Or e’en the touch of Archimago’s wand,
Could charm them into such an attitude.
We must think rather, that in playful mood,
Some mountain breeze had turned its chief delight,
To show this wonder of its gentle might.
Lo! I must tell a tale of chivalry;
For while I muse, the lance points slantingly
Athwart the morning air: some lady sweet,
Who cannot feel for cold her tender feet,
From the worn top of some old battlement
Hails it with tears, her stout defender sent:
And from her own pure self no joy dissembling,
Wraps round her ample robe with happy trembling.
Sometimes, when the good Knight his rest would take,
It is reflected, clearly, in a lake,
With the young ashen boughs, ’gainst which it rests,
And th’ half seen mossiness of linnets’ nests.

Ah! shall I ever tell its cruelty,
When the fire flashes from a warrior’s eye,
And his tremendous hand is grasping it,
And his dark brow for very wrath is knit?
Or when his spirit, with more calm intent,
Leaps to the honors of a tournament,
And makes the gazers round about the ring
Stare at the grandeur of the ballancing?
No, no! this is far off:—then how shall I
Revive the dying tones of minstrelsy,
Which linger yet about lone gothic arches,
In dark green ivy, and among wild larches?
How sing the splendour of the revelries,
When but[t]s of wine are drunk off to the lees?
And that bright lance, against the fretted wall,
Beneath the shade of stately banneral,
Is slung with shining cuirass, sword, and shield?
Where ye may see a spur in bloody field.
Light-footed damsels move with gentle paces
Round the wide hall, and show their happy faces;
Or stand in courtly talk by fives and sevens:
Like those fair stars that twinkle in the heavens.
Yet must I tell a tale of chivalry:
Or wherefore comes that knight so proudly by?
Wherefore more proudly does the gentle knight,
Rein in the swelling of his ample might?

Spenser! thy brows are arched, open, kind,
And come like a clear sun-rise to my mind;
And always does my heart with pleasure dance,
When I think on thy noble countenance:
Where never yet was ought more earthly seen
Than the pure freshness of thy laurels green.
Therefore, great bard, I not so fearfully
Call on thy gentle spirit to hover nigh
My daring steps: or if thy tender care,
Thus startled unaware,
Be jealous that the foot of other wight
Should madly follow that bright path of light
Trac’d by thy lov’d Libertas; he will speak,
And tell thee that my prayer is very meek;
That I will follow with due reverence,
And start with awe at mine own strange pretence.
Him thou wilt hear; so I will rest in hope
To see wide plains, fair trees and lawny slope:
The morn, the eve, the light, the shade, the flowers;
Clear streams, smooth lakes, and overlooking towers.

I

There was a naughty boy,
A naughty boy was he,
He would not stop at home,
He could not quiet be—
He took
In his knapsack
A book
Full of vowels
And a shirt
With some towels,
A slight cap
For night cap,
A hair brush,
Comb ditto,
New stockings
For old ones
Would split O!
This knapsack
Tight at’s back
He rivetted close
And followed his nose
To the north,
To the north,
And follow’d his nose
To the north.

II

There was a naughty boy
And a naughty boy was he,
For nothing would he do
But scribble poetry—
He took
An ink stand
In his hand
And a pen
Big as ten
In the other,
And away
In a pother
He ran
To the mountains
And fountains
And ghostes
And postes
And witches
And ditches
And wrote
In his coat
When the weather
Was cool,
Fear of gout,
And without
When the weather
Was warm—
Och the charm
When we choose
To follow one’s nose
To the north,
To the north,
To follow one’s nose
To the north!

III

There was a naughty boy
And a naughty boy was he,
He kept little fishes
In washing tubs three
In spite
Of the might
Of the maid
Nor afraid
Of his Granny—good—
He often would
Hurly burly
Get up early
And go
By hook or crook
To the brook
And bring home
Miller’s thumb,
Tittlebat
Not over fat,
Minnows small
As the stall
Of a glove,
Not above
The size
Of a nice
Little baby’s
Little fingers—
O he made
’Twas his trade
Of fish a pretty kettle
A kettle—
A kettle
Of fish a pretty kettle
A kettle!

IV

There was a naughty boy,
And a naughty boy was he,
He ran away to Scotland
The people for to see—
There he found
That the ground
Was as hard,
That a yard
Was as long,
That a song
Was as merry,
That a cherry
Was as red,
That lead
Was as weighty,
That fourscore
Was as eighty,
That a door
Was as wooden
As in England—
So he stood in his shoes
And he wonder’d,
He wonder’d,
He stood in his
Shoes and he wonder’d.

Much have I travell’d in the realms of gold,
      And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
      Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
      That deep-brow’d Homer ruled as his demesne;
      Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
      When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
      He star’d at the Pacific—and all his men
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise
      Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

2

BARDS of Passion and of Mirth,
Ye have left your souls on earth!
Have ye souls in heaven too,
Doubled-lived in regions new?
Yes, and those of heaven commune
With the spheres of sun and moon;
With the noise of fountains wondrous,
And the parle of voices thund’rous;
With the whisper of heaven’s trees
And one another, in soft ease
Seated on Elysian lawns
Browsed by none but Dian’s fawns;
Underneath large blue-bells tented,
Where the daisies are rose-scented,
And the rose herself has got
Perfume which on earth is not;
Where the nightingale doth sing
Not a senseless, tranced thing,
But divine melodious truth;
Philosophic numbers smooth;
Tales and golden histories
Of heaven and its mysteries.

   Thus ye live on high, and then
On the earth ye live again;
And the souls ye left behind you
Teach us, here, the way to find you,
Where your other souls are joying,
Never slumber’d, never cloying.
Here, your earth-born souls still speak
To mortals, of their little week;
Of their sorrows and delights;
Of their passions and their spites;
Of their glory and their shame;
What doth strengthen and what maim.
Thus ye teach us, every day,
Wisdom, though fled far away.

   Bards of Passion and of Mirth,
Ye have left your souls on earth!
Ye have souls in heaven too,
Double-lived in regions new!

BRIGHT Star, would I were steadfast as thou art—
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night,
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like Nature’s patient sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priest-like task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—
No—yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
   Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
   And so live ever—or else swoon to death.