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Ah! why dearest girl should we lose all these blisses ?
wards the wife of George Keats. Though not so good as the Sonnet, they are on an equality with the verses in Keats's Tom Moore manner addressed to some ladies who sent him a shell and a copy of verses. They belong to the year 1816.
Oh! how I love, on a fair summer's eve,
When streams of light pour down the golden west,
And on the balmy zephyrs tranquil rest
From little cares; to find, with easy quest,
A fragrant wild, with Nature's beauty drest,
Till their stern forms before my mind arise :
When some melodious sorrow spells mine eyes.
First given among the Literary Remains in the Life, Letters &c. (1848), with the date 1816.
To a Young Lady who sent me a Laurel Crown.
RESH morning gusts have blown away all fea
I mount for ever-not an atom less
In the Sun's eye, and 'gainst my temples press
Apollo's very leaves, woven to bless By thy white fingers and thy spirit clear. Lo! who dares say, “Do this?” Who dares call down
My will from its high purpose ? Who say, “Stand," Or “Go?” This mighty moment I would frown
On abject Cæsars—not the stoutest band Of mailed heroes should tear off my crown:
Yet would I kneel and kiss thy gentle hand!
First given by Lord Houghton among the Literary Remains in Volume II of the Life, Letters &c. (1848). It appears to belong to the year 1816.
Written in Disgust of Vulgar Superstition.
The church bells toll a melancholy round,
Calling the people to some other prayers,
Some other gloominess, more dreadful cares, More hearkening to the sermon's horrid sound. Surely the mind of man is closely bound
In some black spell; seeing that each one tears
Himself from fireside joys, and Lydian airs, And converse high of those with glory crown'd. Still, still they toll, and I should feel a damp,
A chill as from a tomb, did I not know That they are dying like an outburnt lamp;
That 'tis their sighing, wailing ere they go
Into oblivion ;—that fresh flowers will grow, And many glories of immortal stamp.
In Tom Keats's copy-book this sonnet is headed as above and dated “Sunday Evening, Dec. 24, 1816”. In the Aldine edition it is headed “Written on a Summer Evening”. I give the text from the transcript, which varies in some details from the Aldine text. The latter reads toll'd for toll in line 1, To some blind spell in line 6, Fond for And in line 8, and as for ere in line 12.
AFTER dark vapors have oppress'd our plains
For a long dreary season, comes a day
Born of the gentle South, and clears away From the sick heavens all unseemly stains. The anxious month, relieved of its pains,
Takes as a long-lost right the feel of May;
The eyelids with the passing coolness play
Budding—fruit ripening in stillness-Autumn suns
The gradual sand that through an hour-glass runs-
This sonnet appeared in The Examiner for the 23rd of February 1817, and is dated January 1817 in Lord Houghton's editions. In line 5 The Examiner reads relieving of; his Lordship reads relieved from, and again And for The at the beginning of line 9, and sleeping for smiling in line 12. The word relieving in the earlier version must, I think, have been a slip, and not an intentional use of relieve as an intransitive verb, though Keats was perhaps capable of such use in his early strife after freshness of speech.