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Over the sightless tyrants of our fate;
But neither prayer nor verse could dissipate
The night which closed on her; nor uncreate
That world within this Chaos, mine and me,
Of which she was the veiled Divinity,
The world I say of thoughts that worshipped
her: And therefore I went forth, with hope and fear, And every gentle passion sick to death, Feeding my course with expectation's breath, Into the wintry forest of our life; And struggling through its error witn vain strife, And stumbling in my weakness and my haste, And half bewildered by new forms, I past Seeking among those untaught foresters If I could find one form resembling hers, In which she might have masked herself from
In many mortal forms I rashly sought
isles, Who makes all beautiful on which she smiles. That wandering shrine of soft yet icy flame Which ever is transformed, yet still the same, And warms not but illumines. Young and fair As the descended Spirit of that sphere, She hid me, as the Moon may hide the night From its own darkness, until all was bright Between the Heaven and Earth of my calm mind, And, as a cloud charioted by the wind, She led me to a cave in that wild place, And sat beside me, with her downward face Illumining my slumbers, like the Moon Waxing and waning o'er Endymion. And I was laid asleep, spirit and limb, And all my being became bright or dim As the Moon's image in a summer sea, According as she smiled or frowned on me; And there I lay, within a chaste cold bed: Alas, I then was nor alive nor dead:— For at her silver voice came Death and Life, Unmindful each of their accustomed strife, Masked like twin babes, a sister and a brother, The wandering hopes of one abandoned mother,
And through the cavern without wings they flew,
What storms then shook the ocean of my sleep,
At length, into the obscure forest came The vision I had sought through grief and shame. Athwart that wintry wilderness of thorns Flashed from her motion splendour like the Morn's, And from her presence life was radiated Through the grey earth and branches bare and
dead; So that her way was paved, and roofed above With flowers as soft as thoughts of budding love; And music from her respiration spread Like light,—all other sounds were penetrated By the small, still, sweet spirit of that sound, So that the savage winds hung mute around; And odours warm and fresh fell from her hair Dissolving the dull cold in the froze air: Soft as an Incarnation of the Sun, When light is changed to love, this glorious One Floated mto the cavern where I lay, And called my Spirit, and the dreaming clay Was lifted by the thing that dreamed below As smoke by fire, and in her beauty's glow I stood, and felt the dawn of my long night Was penetrating me with living light: I knew it was the Vision veiled from me So many years—that it was Emily.
Thin Spheres of light who rule this passive Earth, This world of love, this me; and into birth Awaken all its fruits and flowers, and dart Magnetic might into its central heart; And lift its billows and its mists, and guide By everlasting laws each wind and tide To its fit cloud, and its appointed cave; And lull its storms, each in the craggy grave Which was its cradle, luring to faint bowers The armies of the rainbow-winged showers; And, as those married lights, which from the
towers Of Heaven look forth and fold the wandering globe In liquid sleep and splendour, as a robe; And all their many-mingled influence blend, If equal, yet unlike, to one sweet end ;— So ye, bright regents, with alternate sway, Govern my sphere of being, night and day! Thou, not disdaining even a borrowed might; Thou, not eclipsing a remoter light; And, through the shadow of the seasons three, From Spring to Autumn's sere maturity, Light it into the Winter of the tomb, Where it may ripen to a brighter bloom. Thou too, O Comet, beautiful and fierce, Who drew the heart of this frail Universe
Towards thine own ; till, wreckt in that convulsion,
forth, Whose fruit, made perfect by thy sunny eyes, Will be as of the trees of Paradise.
The day is come, and thou wilt fly with me. To whatsoe'er of dull mortality Is mine, remain a vestal sister still; To the intense, the deep, the imperishable, Not mine, but me, henceforth be thou united Even as a bride, delighting and delighted. The hour is come :—the destined Star has risen Which shall descend upon a vacant prison. The walls are high, the gates are strong, thick set The sentinels—but true love never yet Was thus constrained: it overleaps all fence: Like lightning, with invisible violence Piercing its continents ; like Heaven's free breath, Which he who grasps can hold not; liker Death, Who rides upon a thought, and makes his way Through temple, tower, and palace, and the array Of arms: more strength has Love than he or they; For he can burst his charnel, and make free The limbs in chains, the heart in agony, The soul in dust and chaos.
Emily, A ship is floating in the harbour now, A wind is hovering o'er the mountain's brow; There is a path on the sea's azure floor, No keel has ever ploughed that path before; The halcyons brood around the foamless isles; The treacherous Ocean has forsworn its wiles; The merry mariners are bold and free: Say, my heart's sister, wilt thou sail with me? Our bark is as an albatross, whose nest Is a far Eden of the purple East; And we between her wings will sit, while Night, And Day, and Storm, and Calm, pursue their flight, Our ministers, along the boundless Sea, Treading each other's heels, unheededly. It is an isle under Ionian skies, Beautiful as a wreck of Paradise, And, for the harbours are not safe and good, This land would have remained a solitude But for some pastoral people native there, Who from the Elysian, clear, and golden air Draw the last spirit of the age of gold, Simple and spirited ; innocent and bold. The blue /Egean girds this chosen home, With ever-changing sound and light and foam, Kissing the sifted sands, and caverns hoar; And all the winds wandering along the shore
Undulate with the undulating tide:
There are thick woods where sylvan forms abide;
And many a fountain, rivulet, and pond,
As clear as elemental diamond,
Or serene morning air; and far beyond,
The mossy tracks made by the goats and deer
(Which the rough shepherd treads but once a
year,) Pierce into glades, caverns, and bowers, and halls Built round with ivy, which the waterfalls Illumining, with sound that never fails, Accompany the noonday nightingales; And all the place is peopled with sweet airs. The light clear element which the isle wears Is heavy with the scent of lemon-flowers, Which floats like mist laden with unseen showers, And falls upon the eye-lids like faint sleep; And from the moss violets and jonquils peep, And dart their arrowy odour through the brain Till you might faint with that delicious pain. And every motion, odour, beam, and tone, With that deep music is in unison: Which is a soul within the soul—they seem Like echoes of an antenatal dream.— It is an isle 'twixt Heaven, Air, Earth, and Sea, Cradled, and hung in clear tranquillity; Bright as that wandering Eden Lucifer, Washed by the soft blue Oceans of young air. It is a favoured place. Famine or Blight, Pestilence, War, and Earthquake, never light Upon its mountain-peaks; blind vultures, they Sail onward far upon their fatal way: The winged storms, chaunting their thunder-psalni To other lands, leave azure chasms of calm Over this isle, or weep themselves in dew, From which its fields and woods ever renew Their green and golden immortality. And from the sea there rise, and from the sky There fall clear exhalations, soft and bright, Veil after veil, each hiding some delight. Which Sun or Moon or zephyr draw aside, Till the isle's beauty, like a naked bride Glowing at once with love and loveliness, Blushes and trembles at its own excess: Yet, like a buried lamp, a Soul no less Burns in the heart of this delicious isle, An atom of the Eternal, whose own smile Unfolds itself, and may be felt not seen O'er the grey rocks, blue waves, and forests green, Filling their bare and void interstices.— But the chief marvel of the wilderness Is a lone dwelling, built by whom or how None of the rustic island-people know; 'Tis not a tower of strength, though with its height It overtops the woods; but, for delight, Some wise and tender Ocean-King, ere crime Had been invented, in the world's young prime, Reared it, a wonder of that simple time, An envy of the isles, a pleasure-house Made sacred to his sister and his spouse. It scarce seems now a wreck of human art, But, as it were, Titanic; in the heart Of Earth having assumed its form, then grown Out of the mountains, from the living stone, Lifting itself in caverns light and high: For all the antique and learned imagery Has been erased, and in the place of it The ivy and the wild vine interknit The volumes of their many-twining stems; Parasite flowers illume with dewy gems
The lampless halls, and when they fade, the sky
Peeps through their winter-woof of tracery
With moonlight patches, or star atoms keen,
Or fragments of the day's intense serene;
Working mosaic on their Parian floors.
And, day and night, aloof, from the high towers
And terraces, the Earth and Ocean seem
To sleep in one another's arms, and dream
Of waves, flowers, clouds, woods, rocks, and all
that we Bead in their smiles, and call reality.
This isle and house are mine, and I have vowed Thee to be lady of the solitude. And I have fitted up some chambers there Looking towards the golden Eastern air, And level with the living winds, which flow Like waves above the living waves below. I have sent books and music there, and all Those instruments with which high spirits call The future from its cradle, and the past Out of its grave, and make the present last In thoughts and joys which sleep, but cannot die, Folded within their own eternity. Our simple life wants little, and true taste Hires not the pale drudge Luxury to waste The scene it would adorn, and therefore still, Nature, with all her children, haunts the hill. The ring-dove, in the embowering ivy, yet Keeps up her love-lament, and the owls flit Round the evening tower, and the young stars
Where some old cavern hoar seems yet to keep
Weak verses, go, kneel at your Sovereign's feet, And say:—" We are the masters of thy slave; "What wouldest thou with us and ours and thine I" 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, Which, if not here, it builds beyond the grave." So shall ye live when I am there. Then haste Over the hearts of men, until ye meet Marina, Vanna, Primus, and the rest, And bid them love each other, and be blest: And leave the troop which errs, and which reproves, And come and be my guest,—for I am Love's.
It is nay 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 ou which several of his earlier compositions were modelled, prove 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 u Endymion," which appeared in the Quarterly Review, 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 unprinciplcdcalumniator. As to " Eudymion,"* 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* I "Paris,** and " Woman," and a w Syrian Tale,'* tad Mrs. Lefanu, and Mr. Barret, and Mr. Howard Payne, and a long list of the illustrious obscure? Are 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 opprobrious stone? Miserable man! you, one of the meanest, hare wantonly defaced one of the noblest specimens of the workmanship of God. Nor shall it be your excuse, that, murderer as you are, you have spoken daggers, but used none.
The circumstances of the closing scene of poet Keats's life were not made known to me 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 " Endymioo" was exasperated at 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 la the recollection of his own motives, Mr. Severn can dispense with a reward from ** such stuff as dreamt arc 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 bit name 1
I Weep for Adonais—he is dead 1 Oh, weep for Adonais 1 though our tears Thaw not the frost which binds so dear a head! And thou, sad Hour, selected from all years To mourn our loss, rouse thy obscure compeers, And teach them thine own sorrow; say: with me Died Adonais; till the Future dares Forget the Past, his fate and fame shall be An echo and a light unto eternity!
Where wert thou, mighty Mother, when he lay,
Oh, weep for Adonais—he is dead!
Most musical of mourners, weep again!
Most musical of mourners, weep anew!
But now, thy youngest, dearest one, has perished, The nursling of thy widowhood, who grew, Like a pale flower by some sad maiden cherished, And fed with true love tears instead of dew; Most musical of mourners, weep anew! Thy extreme hope, the loveliest and the last, The bloom, whose petals nipt before they blew Died on the promise of the fruit, is waste; The broken lily lies—the storm is overpast.
To that high Capital, where kingly Death
He will awake no more, oh, never more! Within the twilight chamber spreads apace The shadow of white Death, and at the door Invisible Corruption waits to trace His extreme way to her dim dwelling-place; The eternal Hunger sits, but pity and awe Soothe her pale rage, nor dares she to deface So fair a prey, till darkness and the law Of change, shall o'er his sleep the mortal curtain draw.
Oh, weep for Adonais !—The quick Dreams,
their lot Round the cold heart, where, after their sweet pain,
They ne'er will gather strength, nor find a home again.
x. And one with trembling hand clasps his cold head, And fanshim with her moonlight wings, and cries, "Our love, our hope, our sorrow, is not dead; See, on the silken fringe of his faint eyes, Like dew upon a sleeping flower, there lies A tear some Dream has loosened from his brain." Lost Angel of a ruined Paradise! She knew not 'twas her own; as with no stain
She faded, like a cloud which had outwept its rain.