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Standing aloof in giant ignorance,
Of thee I hear and of the Cyclades,
To visit dolphin-coral in deep seas.
For Jove uncurtain'd Heaven to let thee live,
And Pan made sing for thee his forest-hive ;
This admirable sonnet also occurs in manuscript in Sir Charles Dilke's copy of Endymion, and was included, like the preceding, in the Literary Remains. The date given in both places is 1818. The evidence of the manuscript on this point is of consequence as bearing on the relative positions of this sonnet and that On first looking into Chapman's Homer (Volume 1, page 77). I understand the “giant ignorance" of line i to have reference to Keats's inability to enjoy Homer in the original Greek, and not to an entire ignorance of the Iliad and Odyssey such as might have characterized the period before the sonnet on Chapman's version was written in 1816. Indeed the second quatrain seems to me to be too well felt for so vague an attitude as Keats's must have been towards Homer before he knew any version at all; but the late Dante Gabriel Rossetti, whose intuitions in such matters were of the keenest, and entitled to the most careful consideration, held that the present sonnet must have preceded that of 1816, and received with considerable reserve the evidence as to the date which I communicated to him in the course of our correspondence. It will be of interest to many lovers both of Keats and of Rossetti to learn that the later
Aye on the shores of darkness there is light,
And precipices show untrodden green,
There is a triple sight in blindness keen ;
poet whom we have but lately lost considered this sonnet to contain Keats's finest single line of poetry
There is a budding morrow in midnight, a line which Rossetti told me he thought one of the finest“ in all poetry.” No one will dispute that it is a most astonishing line, more particularly for a young man of Keats's years in 1818. The text given above is that of Sir Charles Dilke's manuscript, in which, however, the word spumy in line 7 is altered to spermy in what seems to me to be the handwriting of Mr. Dilke, the grandfather of the present Baronet.
A DRAUGHT OF SUNSHINE.
ENCE Burgundy, Claret, and Port,
There's a beverage brighter and clearer.
My bowl is the sky,
A Delphian pain-
On the green of the hill
Till our brains intertwine
These lines are part of an extract} from a letter to Reynolds dated “ Hampstead, Jan. 31st, 1818", published in Volume I of the Life, Letters &c. (1848), but omitted from the Life and Letters of 1867 as 'a page of doggerel not worth transcription”. The time has now come when students will feel entitled to have even Keats's doggerel, some of which, by the bye, has far less reason (and rhyme too) than the present effusion—to my mind rather a bright and happy specimen, notwithstanding Keats's own plea to his correspondent, “you must forgive all this ranting ; but the fact is, I cannot write sense this morning.” With the view of giving Reynolds some sense" nevertheless, he proceeds to copy out his latest
God of the Meridian,
And of the East and West,
And my body is earthward press'd.-
sonnet, “When I have fears” &c. To the present fragment I have ventured to add a very obvious title.
(35) In the Life, Letters &c. bare stands in place of bear; and very likely Keats wrote bare here as he often did elsewhere for bear.
SHED no tear-O shed no tear !
Shed no tear.
Adieu, Adieu !
These two songs appeared in the Life, Letters &c. (1848) among the Literary Remains; and a fac-simile of the manuscript of No. I was inserted in the second volume by way of frontispiece. The variations shown by the manuscript according to this reproduction are mainly in minute details ; and I have adopted many