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later he was buried in the Protestant cemetery, where upon his gravestone may
be read the words which Keats had said of himself:
'Here lies one whose name was writ in water.'
In his first sonnet on Fame, Keats, in a saner mood, puts by the temptation which would withdraw him from the high serenity of conscious worth. In the second, wherein he seems almost to be seeing Fanny Brawne mocking behind the figure of Fame, he shows a more scornful attitude. There is little doubt that notwithstanding his close companionship with poets living and dead Keats never could long escape from the allurements of this wayward girl,' yet it may surely be said that his escape was most complete when he was fulfilling the highest law of his nature and creating those images of beauty which have given him Fame while he sleeps.
H. E. S.
In this group are included the contents of the volume Poems by John Keats, published in March, 1817, as well as certain
IMITATION OF SPENSER
Lord Houghton states, on the authority of the notes of Charles Armitage Brown, given to him in Florence in 1832, that this was the earliest known composition of Keats, and that it was written during his residence in Edmonton at the end of his eighteenth year, which would make the date in the autumn of 1813. The poem was included in the 1817 volume, which bore on its title-page this motto:
What more felicity can fall to creature
Fate of the Butterfly. · -SPENSER.
Now Morning from her orient chamber
And her first footsteps touch'd a verdant hill;
Crowning its lawny crest with amber flame,
Silv'ring the untainted gushes of its rill; Which, pure from mossy beds, did down distil,
And after parting beds of simple flowers, By many streams a little lake did fill, Which round its marge reflected woven
And, in its middle space, a sky that never lowers.
There the kingfisher saw his plumage bright,
Vying with fish of brilliant dye below; Whose silken fins, and golden scales' light Cast upward, through the waves, a ruby glow:
There saw the swan his neck of arched
poems composed before the publication of Endymion. The order followed is as nearly chronological as the evidence permits.
And oar'd himself along with majesty; Sparkled his jetty eyes; his feet did show Beneath the waves like Afric's ebony, And on his back a fay reclined voluptuously.
Ah! could I tell the wonders of an isle That in that fairest lake had placed been, I could e'en Dido of her grief beguile; Or rob from aged Lear his bitter teen: For sure so fair a place was never seen, Of all that ever charm'd romantic eye: It seem'd an emerald in the silver sheen Of the bright waters; or as when on high, Through clouds of fleecy white, laughs the cœrulean sky.
And all around it dipp'd luxuriously Slopings of verdure through the glossy tide,
Which, as it were in gentle amity, Rippled delighted up the flowery side; As if to glean the ruddy tears, it tried, Which fell profusely from the rose-tree stem !
Haply it was the workings of its pride, In strife to throw upon the shore a gem Outvying all the buds in Flora's diadem.
Assigned by George Keats to the year 1814, and first printed in Forman's edition, 1883.
CAN death be sleep, when life is but a dream,
And scenes of bliss pass as a phantom by ?
As if soft Pity, with unusual stress, Had touch'd her plaintive lute, and thou, being by,
Hadst caught the tones, nor suffer'd them to die.
O'ershadowing sorrow doth not make thee less
Delightful: thou thy griefs dost dress With a bright halo, shining beamily, As when a cloud the golden moon doth veil, Its sides are ting'd with a resplendent
Through the dark robe oft amber rays prevail,
And like fair veins in sable marble flow; Still warble, dying swan! still tell the tale, The enchanting tale, the tale of pleasing
'WOMAN! WHEN I BEHOLD THEE FLIPPANT, VAIN'
In the 1817 volume, where this poem was first published, with no title, it is placed at the end of a group of poems which are thus advertised on the leaf containing the dedication: The Short Pieces in the middle of the Book as well as some of the Sonnets, were written at an earlier period than the rest of the Poems.' In the absence of any documentary evidence, it seems reasonable to place it near the 'Imitation of Spenser' rather than near 'Calidore.'
WOMAN! when I behold thee flippant, vain, Inconstant, childish, proud, and full of fancies;
Without that modest softening that enhances
The downcast eye, repentant of the pain That its mild light creates to heal again: E'en then, elate, my spirit leaps, and prances,
E'en then my soul with exultation dances For that to love, so long, I've dormant
But when I see thee meek, and kind, and