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There are no ears to hear, or eyes to That night the Baron dreamt of many a see,
woe, Drown'd all in Rhenish and the sleepy And all his warrior-guests, with shade mead:
and form Awake! arise ! my love, and fearless be, Of witch, and demon, and large coffinFor o'er the southern moors I have a home
worm, for thee.'
Were long be-nightmared. Angela the
Died palsy-twitch’d, with meagre face She hurried at his words, beset with deform; fears,
The Beadsman, after thousand aves told, For there were sleeping dragons all For aye unsought-for slept among his ashes around,
cold. At glaring watch, perhaps, with ready
spears · Down the wide stairs a darkling way they Y ODE ON A GRECIAN URN
found. In all the house was heard no human Lemprière's classical dictionary made Keats sound.
acquainted with the names and attributes of the A chain-droop'd lamp was flickering by
inhabitants of the heavens in the ancient world, each door;
and the Shakesperean Chapman introduced
him to Homer, but his acquaintance with the The arras, rich with horseman, hawk,
subtlest spirit of Greece was by a more direct and hound,
means. Keats did not read Greek, and he had Flutter'd in the besieging wind's up
no scholar's knowledge of Greek art, but he roar;
had the poetic divination which scholars someAnd the long carpets rose along the gusty times fail to possess, and when he strolled into loor.
the British Museum and saw the Elgin marbles,
haps the greatest of Greek sculptures, he saw They glide, like phantoms, into the wide them as an artist of kindred spirit with their hall;
makers. He saw them also with the complex Like phantoms to the iron porch they
emotion of a modern, and read into them his glide,
own thoughts. The result is most surely read
in his longer poem of Hyperion, but the spirit Where lay the Porter, in uneasy sprawl,
evoked found its finest expression in this ode. With a huge empty flagon by his side:
The ode appears to have been composed in The wakeful bloodhound rose, and shook
the spring of 1819 and first published in Januhis hide,
ary, 1820, in Annals of the Fine Arts. There are But his sagacious eye an inmate owns: then about four years in time between the sonBy one, and one, the bolts full
net, ‘On first looking into Chapman's Homer,' slide:
and this ode; if the former suggests a Balboa, The chains lie silent on the footworn this suggests a Magellan who has traversed the stones;
Pacific. It is not needful to find any single The key turns, and the door upon its hinges
piece of ancient sculpture as a model for the
poem, although there is at Holland House, groans.
where Keats might have seen it, an urn with
just such a scene of pastoral sacrifice as is deXLII
scribed in the fourth stanza. The ode was And they are gone: aye, ages long ago included by Keats in Lamia, Isabella, The Eve These lovers fled away into the storm. of St. Agnes and other Poems.
All breathing human passion far above, Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness, That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and Thou foster-child of Silence and slow
A burning forehead, and a parching Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
tongue. A flowery tale more sweetly than our
rhyme: What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy Who are these coming to the sacrifice ? shape
To what green altar, O mysterious priest, Of deities or mortals, or of both,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies, In Tempe or the dales of Arcady ? And all her silken flanks with garlands What men or gods are these ? what
drest? maidens loth ?
What little town by river or sea shore, What mad pursuit ? What struggle to es- Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Ys emptied of this folk, this pious What pipes and timbrels? What wild
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Why thou art desolate, can e'er re> Heard melodies are sweet, but those un
turn. heard Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
O Attic shape! Fair attitude ! with brede Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone: With forest branches and the trodden weed; Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of not leave
thought Thy song, nor ever can those trees be As doth eternity : Cold Pastoral ! bare;
When old age shall this generation waste, Bold Lover, never, never canst thou Thou shalt remain, in midst of other
kiss, Though winning near the goal — yet, do Than ours, a friend to man, to whom not grieve;
thou say'st, She cannot fade, though thou hast not • Beauty is truth, truth beauty,' – that is thy bliss,
all For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair ! Ye know on earth, and all ye need to
ODE ON INDOLENCE
‘They toil not, neither do they spin.'
Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot
shed Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring
adieu; And, happy melodist, unwearied,
For ever piping songs for ever new; More happy love! more happy, happy
love! For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
For ever panting, and for ever young;
Published in Life, Letters and Literary Remains. In a letter to George and Georgiana Keats, dated March 19, 1819, Keats uses language which shows this poem to have been just then in his mind: “This morning I am in a sort of temper, indolent and supremely careless
- I long after a stanza or two of Thomson's The blissful cloud of summer-indolence Castle of Indolence — my passions are all Benumb'd my eyes; my pulse grew asleep, from my having slumbered till nearly
less and less; eleven, and weakened the animal fibre all over
Pain had no sting, and pleasure's wreath me, to a delightful sensation, about three de
no flower: grees on this side of faintness. If I had teeth
O, why did ye not melt, and leave my of pearl and the breath of lilies I should call it languor, but as I am I must call it laziness. In this state of effeminacy the fibres of the
Unhaunted quite of all but — nothingbrain are relaxed in common with the rest of
ness ? the body, and to such a happy degree that pleasure has no show of enticement and pain no unbearable power.
Neither Poetry, nor A third time pass'd they by, and, passing, Ambition, nor Love have any alertness of
turn'd countenance as they pass by me; they seem Each one the face a moment whilos to rather like figures on a Greek vase - a man
me; and two women whom no one but myself could
Then faded, and to follow them I burn'd distinguish in their disguisement. This is the
And ached for wings, because I knew only happiness, and is a rare instance of the
the three; advantage of the body overpowering the Mind.'
The first was a fair Maid, and Love her
name; One morn before me were three figures The second was Ambition, pale of cheek, seen,
watchful with fatigued With bowed necks, and joined hands,
The last, whom I love more, the more of And one behind the other stepp'd serene,
blame In placid sandals, and in white robes Is heap'd upon her, maiden most ungraced;
meek, They pass’d, like figures on a marble urn, I knew to be
demon Poesy. When shifted round to see the other
side; They came again; as when the urn They faded, and, forsooth ! I wanted
wings: Is shifted round, the first seen shades re- O folly! What is Love? and where is turn;
it ? And they were strange to me, as may And for that poor Ambition ! it springs betide
From a man's little heart's short fever-
For Poesy ! no, she has not a joy, —
lence; How came ye muffled in so hush a mask ? 0, for an age so shelter'd from annoy, Was it a silent deep-disguised plot
That I may never know how change the To steal away, and leave without a task
moons, My idle days ? Ripe was the drowsy Or hear the voice of busy commonhour;
pages (of his letter) and ask yourselves whether And once
more came they by; — alas ! I have not that in me which will bear the bufwherefore ?
fets of the world. It will be the best comment My sleep had been embroider'd with dim on my sonnet; it will show you that it was
written with no Agony but that of ignorance ; dreams;
with no thirst of anything but Knowledge My soul had been a lawn besprinkled
when pushed to the point, though the first o'er
steps to it were through my human passions, With flowers, and stirring shades, and
they went away and I wrote with my Mind baffled beams:
- and perhaps I must confess a little bit of my The morn was clouded, but no shower fell, heart.' Tho' in her lids hung the sweet tears of May;
Why did I laugh to-night? No voice will The open casement press'd a new
tell; leaved vine,
No God, no Demon of severe response, Let in the budding warmth and throstle's Deigns to reply from Heaven or from Hell: lay;
Then to my human heart I turn at once. O Shadows ! 't was a time to bid farewell ! Heart! Thou and I are here sad and alone;
Upon your skirts had fallen no tears I say, why did I laugh ? O mortal pain ! of mine.
O Darkness ! Darkness ! ever must I moan,
in vain. So, yo three Ghosts, adieu ! Ye cannot Why did I laugh? I know this Being's raise
lease, My head cool - bedded in the flowery My fancy to its utmost blisses spreads; grass;
Yet would I on this very midnight cease, For I would not be dieted with praise, And the world's gaudy ensigns see in A pet-lamb in a sentimental farce !
shreds; Fade softly from my eyes and be once Verse, Fame, and Beauty are intense
indeed, In masque-like figures on the dreamy But Death intenser - Death is Life's high urn;
meed. Farewell ! I yet have visions for the
night, And for the day faint visions there is store;
ODE TO FANNY Vanish, ye Phantoms ! from my idle spright,
First published in Life, Letters and Literary Into the clouds, and nevermore return ! Remains, and there undated.
Published in Life, Letters and Literary Remains. In a letter to his brother George and wife, Keats writes March 19, 1819: 'I am ever afraid that your anxiety for me will lead you to fear for the violence of my temperament continually smothered down: for that reason I did not intend to have sent you the following sonnet but look over the two last
PHYSICIAN Nature ! let my spirit blood !
O ease my heart of verse and let me rest; Throw me upon thy Tripod, till the flood Of stifling numbers ebbs from my full
breast. A theme ! a theme ! great Nature !
give a theme;
Let me begin my dream.