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I rise and upbuild it again.
To a Skylark.
Hail to thee, blithe spirit!
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.
Higher still, and higher,
From the earth hou springest
The blue deep thou wingest,
And singing still dost soar, and soaring ever, singest.
In the golden lightening
Of the sunken sun,
O'er which clouds are brightening,
Like an unbodied joy whose race is just begun.
The pale purple even
Melts around thy flight;
Thou art unseen, but yet I hear thy shrill delight.
Keen are the arrows
Of that silver sphere,
Whose intense lamp narrows
Until we hardly see, we feel that it is there.
Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the Joyous, and clear, and fresh, thy music doth surpass.
All the earth and air
The moon rains out her beams, and heaven is over-
What thou art we know not;
What is most like thee?
From rainbow clouds there flow not
Drops so bright to see,
Sound of vernal showers
Teach me half the gladness That thy brain must know, Such harmonious madness
From my lips would flow,
The world should listen then, as I am listening now.
[From The Sensitive Plant.']
A Sensitive Plant in a garden grew,
And the young winds fed it with silver dew, And it opened its fan-like leaves to the light, And closed them beneath the kisses of night.
And the spring arose on the garden fair,
But none ever trembled and panted with bliss
The snow-drop, and then the violet,
And the Naiad-like lily of the vale,
And the hyacinth purple, and white, and blue,
And the rose like a nymph to the bath addrest,
And on the stream whose inconstant bosom
Broad water-lilies lay tremulously,
And the sinuous paths of lawn and of moss, Which led through the garden along and across, Some open at once to the sun and the breeze, Some lost among bowers of blossoming trees,
Were all paved with daisies and delicate bells
And from this undefiled Paradise
When heaven's blithe winds had unfolded them,
[From Alastor, or the Spirit of Solitude.") A wandering stream of wind, Breathed from the west, has caught the expanded sail, And lo! with gentle motion between banks Of mossy slope, and on a placid stream Beneath a woven grove, it sails; and hark! The ghastly torrent mingles its far roar With the breeze murmuring in the musical woods. Where the embowering trees recede, and leave A little space of green expanse, the cove Is closed by meeting banks, whose yellow flowers For ever gaze on their own drooping eyes Reflected in the crystal calm. The wave Of the boat's motion marred their pensive task,
Which nought but vagrant bird, or wanton wind,
The noonday sun Now shone upon the forest, one vast mass Of mingling shade, whose brown magnificence A narrow vale embosoms. There huge caves, Scooped in the dark base of those airy rocks, Mocking its moans, respond and roar for ever. The meeting boughs and implicated leaves Wove twilight o'er the poet's path, as, led By love, or dream, or god, or mightier death, He sought in nature's dearest haunt, some bank, Her cradle and his sepulchre. More dark And dark the shades accumulate the oak, Expanding its immense and knotty arms, Embraces the light beech. The pyramids Of the tall cedar overarching frame
Most solemn domes within, and far below,
To some more lovely mystery. Through the dell
And rippling rivulet, and evening gloom
Obedient to the light That shone within his soul, he went, pursuing The windings of the dell. The rivulet, Wanton and wild, through many a green ravine Beneath the forest flowed. Sometimes it fell Among the moss with hollow harmony, Dark and profound. Now on the polished stones It danced, like childhood, laughing as it went: Then, through the plain in tranquil wanderings crept, Reflecting every herb and drooping bud That overhung its quietness. O stream! Whose source is inaccessibly profound, Whither do thy mysterious waters tend? Thou imagest my life. Thy darksome stiless, Thy dazzling waves, thy loud and hollow gulfs, Thy searchless fountain and invisible course, Have each their type in me: and the wide sky And measureless ocean may declare as soon What oozy cavern or what wandering cloud Contains thy waters, as the universe
Tell where these living thoughts reside, when, stretched
Beside the grassy shore Of the small stream he went; he did impress On the green moss his tremulous step, that caught Strong shuddering from his burning limbs. As one Roused by some joyous madness from the couch Of fever, he did move; yet, not like him, Forgetful of the grave, where, when the flame Of his frail exultation shall be spent, He must descend. With rapid steps he went Beneath the shade of trees, beside the flow Of the wild babbling rivulet; and now The forest's solemn canopies were changed For the uniform and lightsome evening sky. Gray rocks did peep from the spare moss, and stemmed The struggling brook: tall spires of windlestrae Threw their thin shadows down the rugged slope, And nought but gnarled roots of ancient pines, Branchless and blasted, clenched with grasping roots The unwilling soil. A gradual change was here, Yet ghastly. For, as fast years flow away, The smooth brow gathers, and the hair grows thin And white; and where irradiate dewy eyes Had shone, gleam stony orbs: so from his steps Bright flowers departed, and the beautiful shade Of the green groves, with all their odorous winds And musical motions. Calm, he still pursued The stream, that with a larger volume now Rolled through the labyrinthine dell; and there Fretted a path through its descending curves With its wintry speed. On every side now rose Rocks, which, in unimaginable forms, Lifted their black and barren pinnacles In the light of evening, and its precipice Obscuring the ravine, disclosed above, 'Mid toppling stones, black gulfs, and yawning caves, Whose windings gave ten thousand various tongues To the loud stream. Lo! where the pass expands Its stony jaws, the abrupt mountain breaks, And seems, with its accumulated crags, To overhang the world; for wide expand Beneath the wan stars and descending moon Islanded seas, blue mountains, mighty streams, Dim tracks and vast, robed in the lustrous gloom Of leaden-coloured even, and fiery hills Mingling their flames with twilight, on the verge
Of the remote horizon. The near scene,
Yet the gray precipice, and solemn pine,
The dark earth and the bending vault of stars.
The fissured stones with its entwining arms,
The children of the autumnal whirlwind bore,
Rival the pride of summer. 'Tis the haunt
The lightning of the noontide ocean
Is flashing round me, and a tone
Arises from its measured motion;
How sweet, did any heart now share in my emotion!
Alas! I have nor hope, nor health,
Nor peace within, nor calm around, Nor that content, surpassing wealth,
The sage in meditation found,
Nor fame, nor power, nor love, nor leisure.
Smiling they live, and call life pleasure;
Yet now despair itself is mild,
Even as the winds and waters are;
My cheek grow cold, and hear the sea
Some might lament that I were cold,
Will linger, though enjoyed, like joy in memory yet.
Lines to an Indian Air.
I arise from dreams of thee,
On the dark and silent stream,
Like sweet thoughts in a dream;
It dies upon her heart,
O, beloved as thou art!
O lift me from the grass!
JOHN KEATS was born in London, October 29, 1796, in the house of his grandfather, who kept livery stable at Moorfields. He received his education at Enfield, and in his fifteenth year was apprenticed to a surgeon. Most of his time, however, was devoted to the cultivation of his literary talents, which were early conspicuous. During his apprenticeship, he made and carefully wrote out a literal translation of Virgil's Eneid, and instructed himself also in some knowledge of Greek and Italian. One of his earliest friends and critics was Mr Leigh Hunt, who, being shown some of his poetical pieces, was struck, he says, with the exuberant specimens of genuine though young poetry that were laid before him, and the promise of which was seconded by the fine fervid countenance of the writer. In 1818 Keats published his Endymion, a Poetic Romance, defective in many parts, but evineing rich though undisciplined powers of imagination. The poem was criticised, in a strain of contemptuous severity, by the Quarterly Review; and such was the sensitiveness of the young poet-panting for distinction, and flattered by a few private
1 A line seems to have been lost at this place, probably by friends-that the critique embittered his existence, an oversight of the transcriber.
and induced a fatal disease. The first effects,' sayı
On my lips and eyelids pale.
Music, when soft voices die,
Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,