« AnteriorContinuar »
Is measured by the pants of their calm sleep.
Be this our home in life; and, when years heap
Their withered hours like leaves on our decay,
Let us become the overhanging day,
The living soul, of this elysian isle—
Conscious, inseparable, one. Meanwhile
We two will rise and sit and walk together
Under the roof of blue Ionian weather;
And wander in the meadows ; or ascend
The mossy mountains, where the blue heavens bend
With lightest winds to touch their paramour;
Or linger where the pebble-paven shore
Under the quick faint kisses of the sea
Trembles and sparkles as with ecstacy ;—
Possessing and possessed by all that is
Within that calm circumference of bliss,
And by each other, till to love and live
Be one ;—or at the noontide hour arrive
Where some old cavern hoar seems yet to keep
The moonlight of the expired Night asleep,
Through which the awakened Day can never peep;
A veil for our seclusion, close as Night's,
Where secure sleep may kill thine innocent lights—
Sleep, the fresh dew of languid love, the rain
Whose drops quench kisses till they bur n again.
And we will talk, until thought's melody
Become too sweet for utterance, and it die
In words, to live again in looks, which dart
With thrilling tone into the voiceless heart,
Harmonizing silence without a sound.
Our breath shall intermix, our bosoms bound,
And our veins beat together; and our lips,
With other eloquence than words, eclipse
The soul that burns between them; and the wells
Which boil under our being's inmost cells,
The fountains of our deepest life, shall be
Confused in passion's golden purity,
As mountain-springs under the morning sun.
We shall become the same, we shall be one
Spirit within two frames, oh wherefore two?
One passion in twin hearts, which grows and grew
Till, like two meteors of expanding flame,
Those spheres instinct with it become the same,
Woe is me!
Weak verses, go, kneel at your Sovereign's feet,
What wouldest thou with us and ours and thine?" Then call your sisters from Oblivion's cave,
All singing loud: "Love's very pain is sweet;
^ But its reward is in the world divine,
Over the hearts of men, until ye meet
And leave the troop which errs and which reproves,
And come and be my guest—for I am Love's.
fy&plMKOv 1)\Oe TUicv Toti abv ar6fia (pdp/iOKOv e?5cj-
Moschus, Epitaph. Bion.
It is my intention to subjoin to the London edition of this poem a criticism upon the claims of its lamented object to be classed among the writers of the highest genius who have adorned our age. My known repugnance to the narrow principles of taste on which several of his earlier compositions were modelled proves at least that I am an impartial judge. I consider the fragment of Hyperion as second to nothing that was ever produced by a writer of the same years.
John Keats died at Rome of a consumption, in his twenty-fourth year, on the 27th of December 1820 ; and was buried in the romantic and lonely cemetery of the protestants in that city, under the pyramid which is the tomb of Cestius, and the massy walls and towers, now mouldering and desolate, which formed the circuit of ancient Rome. The cemetery is an open space among the ruins, covered in winter with violets and daisies. It might make one in love with death to think that one should be buried in so sweet a place.
The genius of the lamented person to whose memory I have dedicated these unworthy verses was not less delicate and fragile than it was beautiful; and, where canker-worms abound, what wonder if its young flower was blighted in the bud? The savage criticism on his Endymion which appeared in the Quarterly Rtviert? produced the most violent effect on his susceptible mind. The agitation thus originated ended in the rupture of a blood-vessel in the lungs; a rapid consumption ensued; and the succeeding acknowledgments, from more candid critics, of the true greatness of his powers, were ineffectual to heal the wound>thus wantonly inflicted.
It may be well said that these wretched men know not what they do. They scatter their insults and their slanders without heed as to whether the poisoned shaft lights on a heart made callous by many blows, or one, like Keats's, composed of more penetrable stuff. One of their associates is, to my knowledge, a most base and unprincipled calumniator. As to Endymion, was it a poem, whatever might be its defects, to be treated contemptuously by those who had celebrated with various degrees of complacency and panegyric Paris, and Woman, and A Syrian Tale, and Mrs. Lefanu, and Mr. Barret, and Mr. Howard Payne, and a long list of the illustrious obscure 1 Arc these the men who, in their venal good-nature, presumed to draw a parallel between the Rev. Mr. Milman.and Lord Byron? What gnat did they strain at here, after having swallowed all those camels? Against what woman taken in adultery dares the foremost of these literary prostitutes to cast his opprobri
ous stone? Miserable man! you, one of the meanest, have wantonly defaced one of the noblest, specimens of the workmanship of God. Nor shall it be your excuse that, murderer as you arc, you have spoken daggers, but used none.
The circumstances of the closing scene of poor Keats's life were not made known to mc until the Elegy was ready for the press. I am given to understand that the wound which his sensitive spirit had received from the criticism of Endymion was exasperated by the bitter sense of unrequited benefits; the poor fellow seems to have been hooted from the stage of life, no less by those on whom he had wasted the promise of his genius than those on whom he had lavished his fortune and his care. He was accompanied to Rome, and attended in his last illness, by Mr. Severn, a young artist of the highest promise, who, I have been informed, "almost risked his own life, and sacrificed every prospect to unwearied attendance upon his dying friend." Had I known these circumstances before the completion of my poem, I should have been tempted to add my feeble tribute of applause to the more solid recompense which the virtuous man finds in the recollection of his own motives. Mr. Severn can dispense with a reward from "such stuff as dreams are made of." His conduct is a golden augury of the success of his future career. May the unextinguished spirit of his illustrious friend animate the creations of his pencil, and plead against oblivion for his name l
I Weep for Ador.ais—he is dead!
Oh! weep for Adonais, though our tears
And thou, sad Hour selected from all years
To mourn our loss, rouse thy obscure compeers,
Died Adonais! Till the future dares
Where wert thou, mighty Mother, when he lay,
In darkness? Where was lorn Urania
She sate, while one, with soft enamoured breath,
With which, like flowers that mock the corse beneath,
Wake, melancholy Mother, wake and weep!—
Thy fiery tears, and let thy loud heart keep,
Like his, a mute and uncomplaining sleep;
Descend. Oh! dream not that the amorous deep
Most musical of mourners, weep again!
11 ''' Blind^ald^and lonely, when Vm* r^yntry'g priHa
T?rie jjrigst. tlje slave] arid. the.-4iberjticide,
Of lust and blood. He went unterrified
Most musical of mourners, weep anew!
Not all to that bright station dared to climb:
Whose tapers yet burn through that night of time
In which suns perished. Others more sublime,
Have sunk, extinct in their refulgent prime;
But now thy youngest, dearest one has perished,
The nursling of thy widowhood, who grew,
And fed with true-love tears instead of dew.
Most musical of mourners, weep anew!
The bloom whose petals, nipped before they blew,