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but she says she is only wearied; and at the same moment, they stop at the entrance of a magnificent house :

A pillard porch, with lofty portal door,
Where hung a silver lamp, whose phosphor glow
Reflected in the slabbed steps below,

Mild as a star in water. Here they lived for some time, undisturbed by the world, in all the delight of a mutual passion. The house remained invisible to all eyes, but those of Lycius. There were a few Persian mutes, “seen that year about the markets;" and nobody knew whence they came; but the most inquisitive were baffled in endeavouring to track them to some place of abode.

But all this while, a god was every night in the house, taking offence. Every night

With a terrific glare,
Love, jealous grown of so complete a pair,
Hovered and buzzed his wings with fearful roar
Above the lintel of their chamber door,

And down the passage cast a glow upon the floor. Lycius, to the great distress of his mistress, who saw in his vanity a great danger, persuaded her to have a public wedding-feast. She only begged him not to invite Apollonius; and then, resolving to dress up her bridals with a sort of despairing magnificence, equal to her apprehensions of danger, she worked a fairy architecture in secret, served only with the noise of wings and a restless sound of music

A haunting music, sole perhaps and lone
Supportress of the faery-roof, made moan

Throughout, as fearful the whole charm might fade. This is the very quintessence of the romantic. The walls of the long vaulted room were covered with palms and

plantain-trees imitated in cedar-wood, and meeting over head in the middle of the ceiling; between the stems were jasper pannels, from which “there burst forth creeping imagery of slighter trees;” and before each of these “lucid pannels

Fuming stood
A censer filled with myrrh and spiced wood, &c.'

Twelve tables stood in this room, set round with circular couches, and on every table was a noble feast and the statue of a god.

The guests came. They wondered and talked ; but their gossiping would have ended well enough, when the wine prevailed, had not Apollonius, an unbidden guest, come with them. He sat right opposite the lovers, and

- Fixed his eye, without a twinkle or stir
Full on the alarmed beauty of the bride,
Brow-beating her fair form, and troubling her sweet pride.

Lycius felt her hand grow alternately hot and cold, and wondered more and more both at her agitation and the conduct of his old tutor. He looked into her eyes, but they looked nothing in return: he spoke to her, but she made no answer: by degrees the music ceased, the flowers faded away, the pleasure all darkened, and

A deadly silence step by step increased,
Until it seemed a horrid presence there,

And not a man but felt the terror in his hair. The bridegroom at last shrieked out her name ; but it was only echoed back to him by the room. Lamia sat fixed, her face of a deadly white. He called in mixed

1 Hunt adds here lines 178 to 182 (see page 35); and, after the words statue of a god, he quotes lines 133 to 137 and 142 to 145.

agony and rage to the philosopher to take off his eyes; but Apollonius, refusing, asked him whether his old guide and instructor who had preserved him from all harm to that day, ought to see him made the prey of a serpent. A mortal faintness came into the breath of Lamia at this word; she motioned him, as well as she could, to be silent; but looking her stedfastly in the face, he repeated Serpent! and she vanished with a horrible scream. Upon the same night, died Lycius, and was swathed for the funeral in his wedding-garments.

Mr. Keats has departed as much from common-place in the character and moral of this story, as he has in the poetry of it. He would see fair play to the serpent, and makes the power of the philosopher an ill-natured and disturbing thing. Lamia though liable to be turned into painful shapes had a soul of humanity; and the poet does not see why she should not have her pleasures accordingly, merely because a philosopher saw that she was not a mathematical truth. This is fine and good. It is vindicating the greater philosophy of poetry. At the same time, we wish that for the purpose of his story he had not appeared to give into the common-place of supposing that Apollonius's sophistry must always prevail, and that modern experiment has done a deadly thing to poetry by discovering the nature of the rainbow, the air, &c. : that is to say, that the knowledge of natural history and physics, by shewing us the nature of things, does away the imaginations that once adorned them. This is a condescension to a learned vulgarism, which so excelTent a poet as Mr. Keats ought not to have made. The world will always have fine poetry, so long as it has events, passions, affections, and a philosophy that sees deeper than this philosophy. There will be a poetry of the heart, as long as there are tears and smiles : there

will be a poetry of the imagination, as long as the first causes of things remain a mystery. A man who is no poet, may think he is none, as soon as he finds out the physical cause of the rainbow; but he need not alarm himself :-he was none before. The true poet will go deeper. He will ask himself what is the cause of that physical cause ; whether truths to the senses are after all to be taken as truths to the imagination; and whether there is not room and mystery enough in the universe for the creation of infinite things, when the poor matterof-fact philosopher has come to the end of his own vision. It is remarkable that an age of poetry has grown up with the progress of experiment; and that the very poets, who seem to countenance these notions, accompany them by some of their finest effusions. Even if there were nothing new to be created,-if philosophy, with its line and rule, could even score the ground, and say to poetry “Thou shalt go no further," she would look back to the old world, and still find it inexhaustible. The crops from its fertility are endless. But these alarms are altogether idle. The essence of poetical enjoyment does not consist in belief, but in a voluntary power to imagine.

The next story, that of the Pot of Basil, is from Boccaccio. After the narrative of that great writer, we must make as short work of it as possible in prose. To turn one of his stories into verse, is another thing. It is like setting it to a more elaborate music. Mr. Keats is so struck with admiration of his author, that even while giving him this accompaniment, he breaks out into an apology to the great Italian, asking pardon for this

-Echo of him in the north-wind sung.

We might waive a repetition of the narrative altogether,

as the public have lately been familiarized with it in the Sicilian Story of Mr. Barry Cornwall :' but we cannot help calling to mind that the hero and heroine were two young and happy lovers, who kept their love a secret from her rich brothers; that her brothers, getting knowledge of their intercourse, lured him into a solitary place, and murdered him; that Isabella, informed of it by a dreary vision of her lover, found out where he was buried, and with the assistance of her nurse, severed the head from the body that she might cherish even that ghastly memorial of him as a relic never to be parted with ; that she buried the head in a pot of earth, and planting basil over it, watered the leaves with her continual tears till they grew into wonderful beauty and luxuriance ; that her brothers, prying into her fondness for the Pot of Basil, which she carried with her from place to place, contrived to steal it away; that she made such lamentations for it, as induced them to wonder what could be its value, upon which they dug into it, and discovered the head; that the amazement of that discovery struck back upon their hearts, so that after burying the head secretly, they left their native place, and went to live in another city; and that Isabel continued to cry and moan for her Pot of Basil, which she had not the power to cease wishing for ; till, under the pressure of that weeping want, she died.

Our author can pass to the most striking imaginations

? Tempora mutantur! In 1820 Hunt appeals to Procter's Sicilian Story to stand him in stead for the tale of Isabella. Now the book containing that and other verses by Bryan Waller Procter may perhaps be sought by a few students as a venerable curiosity, interesting for purposes of comparison with Keats's Pot of Basil, but scarcely for its own sake as an example how to tell the public that supreme story.

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