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O for a draught of vintage, that hath been
Dance, and Provençal song, and sun-burnt mirth !
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never known, The weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit, and hear each other groan ;
Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards;
Already with thee! tender is the night,
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs, But, in embalmèd darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
Darkling I listen; and, for many a time,
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain-
Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird!
The same that ofttimes hath
Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam
Forlorn the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
As she is fam'd to do, deceiving elf.
Was it a vision, or a waking-dream?
Fled is that music? Do I wake or sleep?
18" Ode to a Nightingale.”—This poem was written in a house at the foot of Highgate Hill, on the border of the fields looking towards Hampstead. The poet had then his mortal illness upon him, and knew it. Never was the voice of death sweeter.
19" Charm'd magic casements," &c.—This beats Claude's Enchanted Castle, and the story of King Beder in the Arabian Nights. You do not know what the house is, or where, nor who the bird. Perhaps a king himself. But you see the window, open on the perilous sea, and hear the voice from out the trees in which it is nested, sending its warble over the foam. The whole is at once vague and particular, full of mysterious life. You see nobody, though something is heard; and you know not what of beauty or wickedness is to come over that sea. Perhaps it was suggested by some fairy tale. I remember nothing of it in the dream-like wildness of things in Palmerin of England, a book which is full of colour and home landscapes, ending with a noble and affecting scene of war; and of which Keats was very fond.
ON FIRST LOOKING INTO CHAPMAN'S HOMER.
Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold :
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told,
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold :
He star'd at the Pacific 20—and all his men
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.21
20" He stared at the Pacific," &c.-" Stared" has been thought by some too violent, but it is precisely the word required by the occasion. The Spaniard was too original and ardent a man either to look, or to affect to look, coldly superior to it. His "eagle eyes" are from life, as may be seen by Titian's portrait of him.
The public are indebted to Mr. Charles Knight for a cheap reprint of the Homer of Chapman.
21 Silent, upon a peak in Darien."-A most fit line to conclude our volume. We leave the reader standing upon it, with all the illimitable world of thought and feeling before him, to which his imagination will have been brought, while journeying through these "realms of gold."