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ODE TO PSYCHE.

O GODDESS! hear these tuneless numbers, wrung

By sweet enforcement and remembrance dear, And pardon that thy secrets should be sung

Even into thine own soft-conched ear: Surely I dreamt to-day, or did I see

The winged Psyche with awaken'd eyes ? I wander'd in a forest thoughtlessly,

And, on the sudden, fainting with surprise, Saw two fair creatures, couched side by side

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Under date the 15th of April (1819) Keats writes to George and his wife, of this Ode, “ The following poem, the last I have written, is the first and only one with which I have taken even moderate pains; I have, for the most part, dashed off my lines in a hurry; this one I have done leisurely ; I think it reads the more richly for it, and it will I hope encourage me to write other things in even a more peaceable and healthy spirit. You must recollect that Psyche was not embodied as a goddess before the time of Apuleius the Platonist, who lived after the Augustan age, and consequently the goddess was never worshipped or sacrificed to with any of the ancient fervour, and perhaps never thought of in the old religion : I am more orthodox than to let a heathen goddess be so neglected.” This is an instance in which Keats seems to have gone beyond Lemprière's Classical Dictionary for his information ; but I presume we may not unsafely take the portraiture of Cupid and Psyche in the first stanza as an adapted reminiscence of his other favourite text book, Spence's Polymetis, in Plate VI of which the well known kissing Cupid and Psyche are admirably engraved from the statue at Florence,

IO

In deepest grass, beneath the whisp'ring roof
Of leaves and trembled blossoms, where there ran

A brooklet, scarce espied :

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'Mid hush'd, cool-rooted flowers, fragrant-eyed,

Blue, silver-white, and budded Tyrian,
They lay calm-breathing, on the bedded grass ;

Their arms embraced, and their pinions too;

Their lips touch'd not, but had not bade adieu,
As if disjoined by soft-handed slumber,
And ready still past kisses to outnumber
At tender eye-dawn of aurorean love:

The winged boy I knew;
But who wast thou, O happy, happy dove ?

His Psyche true!

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O latest born and loveliest vision far

Of all Olympus' faded hierarchy !
Fairer than Phæbe's sapphire-region'd star,

Or Vesper, amorous glow-worm of the sky;
Fairer than these, though temple thou hast none,

Nor altar heap'd with flowers;
Nor virgin-choir to make delicious moan

Upon the midnight hours;
No voice, no lute, no pipe, no incense sweet

From chain-swung censer teeming ;
No shrine, no grove, no oracle, no heat

Of pale-mouth'd prophet dreaming.

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O brightest! though too late for antique vows,

Too, too late for the fond believing lyre, When holy were the haunted forest boughs,

Holy the air, the water, and the fire; Yet even in these days so far retir'd

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From happy pieties, thy lucent fans,

Fluttering among the faint Olympians,
I see, and sing, by my own eyes inspir’d.
So let me be thy choir, and make a moan

Upon the midnight hours;
Thy voice, thy lute, thy pipe, thy incense sweet

From swinged censer teeming;
Thy shrine, thy grove, thy oracle, thy heat

Of pale-mouth'd prophet dreaming.

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Yes, I will be thy priest, and build a fane

50 In some untrodden region of my mind, Where branched thoughts, new grown with pleasant

pain, Instead of pines shall murmur in the wind : Far, far around shall those dark-cluster'd trees

Fledge the wild-ridged mountains steep by steep; 55 And there by zephyrs, streams, and birds, and bees,

The moss-lain Dryads shall be lull’d to sleep;
And in the midst of this wide quietness
A rosy sanctuary will I dress
With the wreath'd trellis of a working brain,

60 With buds, and bells, and stars without a name, With all the gardener Fancy e'er could feign,

Who breeding flowers, will never breed the same :
And there shall be for thee all soft delight
That shadowy thought can win,

65 A bright torch, and a casement ope at night,

To let the warm Love in!

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FANCY.

5

Ever let the Fancy roam,
Pleasure never is at home :
At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth,
Like to bubbles when rain pelteth ;
Then let winged Fancy wander
Through the thought still spread beyond her:
Open wide the mind's cage-door,
She'll dart forth, and cloudward soar.
O sweet Fancy! let her loose ;
Summer's joys are spoilt by use,
And the enjoying of the Spring
Fades as does its blossoming;
Autumn's red-lipp'd fruitage too,
Blushing through the mist and dew,
Cloys with tasting : What do then ?
Sit thee by the ingle, when
The sear faggot blazes bright,
Spirit of a winter's night;

IO

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Sir Charles Dilke's copy of Endymion contains a very interesting copy of these verses, dated 1818, from which an extract was given in The Athenæum of the 15th of September 1877. The variations noted below show Keats's usual good judgment in regard to change and exclusion. (6) In the manuscript this line is

Towards heaven still spread beyond her. (15-16) In the manuscript, we read kissing in place of tasting, and in an ingle for by the ingle.

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When the soundless earth is muffled,
And the caked snow is shuffled
From the ploughboy's heavy shoon;
When the Night doth meet the Noon
In a dark conspiracy
To banish Even from her sky.
Sit thee there, and send abroad,
With a mind self-overaw'd,
Fancy, high-commission'd :-send her!
She has vassals to attend her:
She will bring, in spite of frost,
Beauties that the earth hath lost;
She will bring thee, all together,
All delights of summer weather;
All the buds and bells of May,
From dewy sward or thorny spray ;
All the heaped Autumn's wealth,
With a still, mysterious stealth :
She will mix these pleasures up
Like three fit wines in a cup,
And thou shalt quaff it :-thou shalt hear
Distant harvest-carols clear;
Rustle of the reaped corn;
Sweet birds antheming the morn:
And, in the same moment-hark !
'Tis the early April lark,
Or the rooks, with busy caw,

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(28) She'll have, in the manuscript. (29) The manuscript reads

She will bring thee spite of frost... (43-5) In the manuscript these lines stand thus :

And in the same moment hark
To the rly Ap lark
And the rooks with busy caw...

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