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ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE.18
My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk.
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
Of beeches green, and shadows numberless,
O for a draught of vintage, that hath been
Cool'd a long age in the deep-delvèd earth, Tasting of Flora and the country-green,
Dance, and Provençal song, and sun-burnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never known, The weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit, and hear each other groan;
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards, But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards; Already with thee! tender is the night,
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
But here there is no light,
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
Darkling I listen; and, for many a time,
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain-
Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird!
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home, She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
The same that ofttimes hath
Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam
Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
As she is fam'd to do, deceiving elf.
Fled is that music? Do I wake or sleep?
18" Ode to a Nightingale."-This poem was written in a house at the foot of Highgate Hill, on the border of the fields looking towards Hampstead. The poet had then his mortal illness upon him, and knew it. Never was the voice of death sweeter.
19" Charm'd magic casements," &c.-This beats Claude's Enchanted Castle, and the story of King Beder in the Arabian Nights. You do not know what the house is, or where, nor who the bird. Perhaps a king himself. But you see the window, open on the perilous sea, and hear the voice from out the trees in which it is nested, sending its warble over the foam. The whole is at once vague and particular, full of mysterious life. You see nobody, though something is heard; and you know not what of beauty or wickedness is to come over that sea. Perhaps it was suggested by some fairy tale. I remember nothing of it in the dream-like wildness of things in Palmerin of England, a book which is full of color and home landscapes, ending with a noble and affecting scene of war; and of which Keats was very fond.
ON FIRST LOOKING INTO CHAPMAN'S HOMER.
Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne;
When a new planet swims into his ken;
He star'd at the Pacific20-and all his men
20" He stared at the Pacific," &c.—"Stared" has been thought by some too violent, but it is precisely the word required by the
occasion. The Spaniard was too original and ardent a man either to look, or to affect to look, coldly superior to it. His "eagle eyes" are from life, as may be seen by Titian's portrait of him.
The public are indebted to Mr. Charles Knight for a cheap reprint of Homer and Chapman.
21" Silent, upon a peak in Darien." -A most fit line to conclude our volume. We leave the reader standing upon it, with all the illimitable world of thought and feeling before him, to which his imagination will have been brought, while journeying through these "realms of gold."