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"After so many hours of toil and quest,
Though I have found, I will not rob thy nest "Saving of thy sweet self; if thou think'st well "To trust, fair Madeline, to no rude infidel.
and of line 4
"Hark! 'tis an elfin-storm from faery land,
Ah silver shrine by thee will I take rest.
Line 6 originally began with the words With tearful; and there are two completed versions—
With features pale and mournful Pilgrim's weeds
Though I have found I cannot rob thy nest! and finally the last three lines are left standing thus:
Though I have found but cannot rob thy nest!
To sing to me-but hark! the blinded tempest's rage!
The inverted commas are closed at the end of the stanza in Keats's edition. Hunt says, "With what a pretty wilful conceit the costume of the poem is kept up in the third line about the shield! The poet knew when to introduce apparent trifles forbidden to those who are void of real passion, and who, feeling nothing intensely, can intensify nothing."
(XXXIX) Line 2 originally ended with but, my love, to us, which was altered first to but a boon in truth and then to but a boon indeed. Line 3 has a cancelled reading, Arise my Love. For line 6 there is a false start, Over the moors. Line 7 originally ended with
"Drown'd all in Rhenish and the sleepy mead:
"Awake! arise! my love, and fearless be,
"For o'er the southern moors I have a home for thee."
She hurried at his words, beset with fears,
For there were sleeping dragons all around,
A chain-droop'd lamp was flickering by each door; The arras, rich with horseman, hawk, and hound, Flutter'd in the besieging wind's uproar; And the long carpets rose along the gusty floor.
the drench of mead, altered to the drenching mead before the happier reading of the text was supplied. The last two lines stand thus in the manuscript
Put on warm cloathing, sweet, and fearless be
There is a cancelled reading, Over the bleak Dartmoor; but for which one might not have felt perfectly certain that dartmoor blak (with a small d) was an allusion to that moor wherein the river Dart takes its rise, and which Keats could see from Teignmouth in looking up the Estuary of the Teign.
(XL) In line 2, about stands cancelled for around in the manuscript; and line 3 was first written thus :
Or perhaps at glaring watch with ready spears
but the reading of the text is substituted. Well is struck out at the beginning of line 4; and in line 5 not a is struck out and heard no written instead. Then there is much fastidiousness in the matter of going on, as thus—
But noise of winds besieging the high towers...
But the b...
But the besieging Storm...
They glide, like phantoms, into the wide hall;
With a huge empty flaggon by his side:
By one, and one, the bolts full easy slide-
The chains lie silent on the footworn stones ;— The key turns, and the door upon its hinges groans.
The Lamps were flickering death shades on the walls
The Lamps were dying in...
But here and there a Lamp was flickering out...
All these readings are rejected, and the stanza then proceeds to the end without further erasures except the word flutter'd after arras in line 7, and with cold after Flutter'd in line 8. Hunt observes upon the Alexandrine "This is a slip of the memory, for there were hardly carpets in those days. But the truth of the painting makes amends, as in the unchronological pictures of old masters." Mr. Dante Gabriel Rossetti, in similar circumstances in his magnificent ballad of The King's Tragedy, has avoided the unchronological flaw thus :
And now the ladies fled with the Queen;
And thorough the open door
The night-wind wailed round the empty room
(XLI) Lines 1 and 2 were first written thus:
Like Spirits into the wide-paven hall
They glide, and to the iron porch in haste;
but the reading of the text is supplied in the manuscript. In line 3, slept is substituted for lay, and lay again for slept. The manuscript reads beaker for flaggon. For line 6 was originally written
And paced round Madeline all angerless,
And they are gone: aye, ages long ago
But with a calmed eye his mistress owns,
and then the reading of the text except that unanger'd has the place of sagacious, which does not appear in the manuscript at all. Of line 7 there is a rejected opening, The chains are loos'd, the... and again a rejected close
the easy bolts back slide
Line 8 was originally—
Upon the pavement lie the heavy chains;
and in the line of the text as written lay stands for lie. (XLII) Lines I to 6 were at first written thus :
And they are gone—Aye, ages long ago
These lovers fled into a night of storms-
Line 2 is left unfinished, as a night of is struck out and the storm (?) inserted but the second word cancelled. In line 3 night is struck out in favour of Morn; but Morn was rejected and night restored, doubtless, when in revising the proof night was removed from line 2. In line 5 charnal stands cancelled for coffin. In line 6 long is cancelled and all left standing in its place; and for the rest the manuscript is revised to correspond with the stanza as given in the text. Hunt's last word is-" Here endeth the young and divine Poet, but not the delight and gratitude of his readers; for, as he sings elsewhere
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever."