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JOHN KEATS.

me,

John Keats was born in Moorfields, London, he were an actual man or a thought that had October 29, 1796. The exact place of his birth slipped out of my mind and clothed itself in is said to have been a livery-stable which be- human form and habiliments merely to beguile longed to the family. He was sent to school at At one moment he put his handkerchief to Enfield, where the master's son, Charles Cowden his lips, and withdrew it, I am almost certain, Clarke, became his intimate friend.

stained with blood. You never saw any thing In 1811 Keats was apprenticed to a surgeon so fragile as his person. The truth is, Keats and apothecary; but he had inherited a small has all his life felt the effects of that terrible property, and as his tastes did not lie in the di- bleeding at the lungs caused by the article on rection of surgery and medicine, he soon left the his 'Endymion' in the Quarterly Review, and business and devoted himself entirely to poetry, which so nearly brought him to the grave. Ever at which he had been dabbling for some time. since he has glided about the world like a ghost,

He published a volume of his early poems in sighing a melancholy tone in the ear of bere and 1817, which seems not to have attracted any there a friend, but never sending forth his voice special attention, though he had won the admira- to greet the multitude. I can hardly think him tion and friendship of Leigh Hunt, in whose Ec- ! a great poet. The burden of a mighty genius aminer some of his sonnets bad appeared. In / would never have been imposed upon shoulders 1818 he published his longest poem, “ Endym- so pbysically frail and a spirit so infirmly sensi. ion," which opens with the oft-quoted line- tive. Great poets should bave iron sinews." "A thing of beauty is a joy forever."

In 1820 Keats published a third volume of

poems, containing “The Eve of St. Agnes," which It was dedicated to the memory of Chatterton. is perhaps his best, “Lamia," the unfinished This poem was severely criticised by Blackwoo l's

Hyperion," the “Ode to the Nightingale," and Magazine and the Quarterly Review. Keats was the mucb admired “Ode on a Grecian Urn." extremely sensitive to criticism, and when he

Soon after the publication of this volume he died, three years later, a story somehow sprang went to Italy for his health, in company with his up that these attacks were the cause of his death. friend Mr. Severn, the artist, by whom he was The truth was, that he was naturally delicate, very carefully nursed; but he died in Rome, on with a tendency to consumption, and had over- February 24, 1821. His last days were embittasked himself by attending on a dying brother.

tered by his disappointment at the treatment Hawthorne, in “ P.'s Correspondence," purport- which his poetry had received, and saddened by ing to be written from London by an insane man his attachment for a young lady who was thus who strangely mingles the past with the present, widowed before marriage. His remains were and both with fancy, alludes to this and at the buried in the Protestant cemetery at Rome, and same time gives by implication a delicate esti. the epitaph suggested by himself was carved on juate of the poet: “Keats ? No; I have not his tombstone: seen him except across a crowded street, with

"Here lies one whose name was writ in water." coaches, drays, horsemen, cabs, omnibuses, foot. passengers, and divers other sensual obstructions Shelley, who admired him enthusiastieally, intervening betwixt his small and slender figure made him the subject of his beautiful elegiac and my eager glance. I would fain have met poem “ Adonais.” A year or two later the ashes him on the sea-sbore, or beneath a natural arch of Shelley were laid beside those of the friend of forest-trees, or the Gothic arch of an old and poet whom he mourned. cathedral, or among Grecian ruins, or at a glim- The ridicule which was heaped upon Keats mering fireside on the verge of evening, or at the was largely due to political spite, rather than to twilight entrance of a cave, into the dreamy calm judicial criticism. On the other hand, he depths of which he would have led me by the was as violently admired by his friends as he had hand ; anywhere, in short, save at Temple Bar, been abusively attacked by the reviewers. Yet, where his presence was biotted out by the por whatever the faults of his earlier works, his later ter-swollen bulks of those gross Englishmen. I unquestionably place him among the masterstood and watched him fading awav, fading away poets of his school. Richard Monckton Milnes along the pavement, and could hardly tell whether I has written his life and edited his letters.

VOL. III.-1

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She seem'd, at once, some penanced lady elf,
LA MIA

Sorne demon's mistress, or the demon's self.
Upon her crest she wore a wannish fire
Sprinkled with stars, like Ariadne's tiar:

Her head was serpent, but ah, bitter-sweet!
PART 1.

She had a woman's mouth with all its pearls

complete : Upon a time, before the faery broods

And for her eyes-what could such eyes do thera Drove Nymph and Satyr from the prosperous But weep, and weep, that they were born so fair ? woods,

As Proserpine still weeps for her Sicilian air. before King Oberon's bright diadem,

Her throat was serpent, but the words she spako Sceptre, and mantle - clasp'd with dewy gem, Came, as though. bubbling honey, for Love's Frighted avay sho Dryads and the Fauns

sake, From Tusties green; anić brakes, and cowslip'd And thus ; while Hermes on his pinions lay, lawns,

Like a stoop'd falcon ere he takes his prey : * The exer-smrten Wernes entphy left Hs golden Throne, best.xirmon amorous theft:

“Fair Hermes! crown'd with feathers, flutter. From high Olympus had he stolen light,

ing light,
On this side of Jove's clouds, to escape the sight I had a splendid dream of thee last night:
Of his great summoner, and made retreat I saw thee sitting, on a throne of gold,
Into a forest on the shores of Crete.

Among the Gods, upon Olympus old,
For somewhere in that sacred island dwelt The only sad one ; for thou didst not hear
A nymph, to whom all hoofed Satyrs knelt; The sofi, lute-finger'd Muses chanting clear,
At whose white feet the languid Tritons pour'd Nor even Apollo when he sang alone,
Pearls, while on land they wither'd and adored. Deaf to his throbbing throat's long, long melodi.
Fast by the springs where she to bathe was
wont,

I dreamt I saw thee, robed in purple flakes,
And in those meads where sometimes she might Break amorous through the clouds, as morning
haunt,

breaks,
Were strewn rich gifts, unknown to any Muse, And, swiftly as a bright Phæbean dart,
Though Fancy's casket were unlock'd to choose. Strike for the Cretan isle ; and here thon art !
Ah, what a world of love was at her feet! Too gentle Hermes, has thou found the meid ?"
So Hermes thought, and a celestial heat

Whereat the star of Lethe not delay'd
Burnt from his winged heels to either ear, His rosy eloquence, and thus inquired :
That from a whiteness, as the lily clear,

• Thou smooth-lipp'd serpent, surely high in. Blush'd into roses 'mid his golden hair,

spired! Fallen in jealous curls about his shoulders bare. Thou beauteous wreath with melancholy eyes, From vale to vale, from wood to wood, he flew, Possess whatever bliss thou canst devise, Breathing upon the flowers his passion new, Telling me only where my nymph is fled, And wound with many a river to its head, Where she doth breathe!" Bright planet, thou To find where this sweet nymph prepared her hast said,” secret bed:

Return'd the snake, “but seal with oaths, fair In vain; the sweet nymph might nowhere be God!" found,

“I swear," said Hermen, “by my serpent rod, And so he rested, on the lonely ground,

And by thine eyes, and by thy starry crown!" Pensive, and full of painful jealousies

Light flew his earnest words, among the blossoms Of the Wood-Gods, and even the very trees.

blown.
There as he stood, he heard a mournful voice, Then thus again the brilliance feminine :
Such as once heard, in gentle heart, destroys " Too frail of heart! for this lost nymph of thine,
All pain but pity: thus the lone voice spake: Free as the air, invisibly, she strays
“When from this wreathed tomb shall I awake? About these thornless wilds; her pleasant days
When move in a sweet body fit for life,

She tastes unseen ; unseen her nimble feet
And love, and pleasure, and the ruddy strife Leave traces in the grass and flowers sweet :
Of hearts and lips? Ah, miserable me!" From weary tendrils, and bow'd branches green,
The God, dove-footed, glided silently

She plucks the fruit unseen, she bathes unseen:
Round bush and tree, soft-brushing, in his speed, And by my power is her beauty veil'd
The taller grasses and full-flowering weed, To keep it unaffronted, unassail'd
Until he found a palpitating snake,

By the love-glances of unlovely eyes,
Bright, and cirque-couchanı in a dusky brake. Of Satyrs, Fauns, and blear'd Silenus' sighs.

Pale grew her immortality, for woe
She was a gordian shape of dazzling hue, Of all these lovers, and she grieved so
Vermilion-spotted, golden, green, and blue; I took compassion on her, bade her steep
Striped like a zebra, freckled like a pard, Her hair in weird syrops, that would keep
Eyed like a peacock, and all crimson-barr'd; Her loveliness invisible, yet free
And full of silver moons, that, as she breathed, To wander as she loves, in liberty.
Dissolved, or brighter shone, or interwreathed Thou shalt behold her, Hermes, thou alono,
Their lustres with the gloomier tapestries- Ifihou wilt, as thou swearest, grant my boon!"
so rainbow-sided, touch'd with miseries, Then, once again, the charmed God began

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