Poems by John Keats

Song of the Indian Maid 

Why dost borrow 
The natural hue of health, from vermeil lips?— 
To give maiden blushes 
To the white rose bushes? 5 
Or is it thy dewy hand the daisy tips? 

O Sorrow! 
Why dost borrow 
The lustrous passion from a falcon-eye?— 
To give the glow-worm light? 10 
Or, on a moonless night, 
To tinge, on siren shores, the salt sea-spry? 

O Sorrow! 
Why dost borrow 
The mellow ditties from a mourning tongue?— 15 
To give at evening pale 
Unto the nightingale, 
That thou mayst listen the cold dews among? 

O Sorrow! 
Why dost borrow 20 
Heart's lightness from the merriment of May?— 
A lover would not tread 
A cowslip on the head, 
Though he should dance from eve till peep of day— 
Nor any drooping flower 25 
Held sacred for thy bower, 
Wherever he may sport himself and play. 

To Sorrow 
I bade good morrow, 
And thought to leave her far away behind; 30 
But cheerly, cheerly, 
She loves me dearly; 
She is so constant to me, and so kind: 
I would deceive her 
And so leave her, 35 
But ah! she is so constant and so kind. 

Beneath my palm-trees, by the river side, 
I sat a-weeping: in the whole world wide 
There was no one to ask me why I wept,— 
And so I kept 40 
Brimming the water-lily cups with tears 
Cold as my fears. 

Beneath my palm-trees, by the river side, 
I sat a-weeping: what enamour'd bride, 
Cheated by shadowy wooer from the clouds, 45 
But hides and shrouds 
Beneath dark palm-trees by a river side? 

And as I sat, over the light blue hills 
There came a noise of revellers: the rills 
Into the wide stream came of purple hue— 50 
'Twas Bacchus and his crew! 
The earnest trumpet spake, and silver thrills 
From kissing cymbals made a merry din— 
'Twas Bacchus and his kin! 
Like to a moving vintage down they came, 55 
Crown'd with green leaves, and faces all on flame; 
All madly dancing through the pleasant valley, 
To scare thee, Melancholy! 
O then, O then, thou wast a simple name! 
And I forgot thee, as the berried holly 60 
By shepherds is forgotten, when in June 
Tall chestnuts keep away the sun and moon:— 
I rush'd into the folly! 

Within his car, aloft, young Bacchus stood, 
Trifling his ivy-dart, in dancing mood, 65 
With sidelong laughing; 
And little rills of crimson wine imbrued 
His plump white arms and shoulders, enough white 
For Venus' pearly bite; 
And near him rode Silenus on his ass, 70 
Pelted with flowers as he on did pass 
Tipsily quaffing. 

'Whence came ye, merry Damsels! whence came ye, 
So many, and so many, and such glee? 
Why have ye left your bowers desolate, 75 
Your lutes, and gentler fate?'— 
'We follow Bacchus! Bacchus on the wing, 
Bacchus, young Bacchus! good or ill betide, 
We dance before him thorough kingdoms wide:— 80 
Come hither, lady fair, and joinèd be 
To our wild minstrelsy!' 

'Whence came ye, jolly Satyrs! whence came ye, 
So many, and so many, and such glee? 
Why have ye left your forest haunts, why left 85 
Your nuts in oak-tree cleft?'— 
'For wine, for wine we left our kernel tree; 
For wine we left our heath, and yellow brooms, 
And cold mushrooms; 
For wine we follow Bacchus through the earth; 90 
Great god of breathless cups and chirping mirth! 
Come hither, lady fair, and joinèd be 
To our mad minstrelsy!' 

Over wide streams and mountains great we went, 
And, save when Bacchus kept his ivy tent, 95 
Onward the tiger and the leopard pants, 
With Asian elephants: 
Onward these myriads—with song and dance, 
With zebras striped, and sleek Arabians' prance, 
Web-footed alligators, crocodiles, 100 
Bearing upon their scaly backs, in files, 
Plump infant laughers mimicking the coil 
Of seamen, and stout galley-rowers' toil: 
With toying oars and silken sails they glide, 
Nor care for wind and tide. 105 

Mounted on panthers' furs and lions' manes, 
From rear to van they scour about the plains; 
A three days' journey in a moment done; 
And always, at the rising of the sun, 
About the wilds they hunt with spear and horn, 110 
On spleenful unicorn. 

I saw Osirian Egypt kneel adown 
Before the vine-wreath crown! 
I saw parch'd Abyssinia rouse and sing 
To the silver cymbals' ring! 115 
I saw the whelming vintage hotly pierce 
Old Tartary the fierce! 
The kings of Ind their jewel-sceptres vail, 
And from their treasures scatter pearlèd hail; 
Great Brahma from his mystic heaven groans, 120 
And all his priesthood moans, 
Before young Bacchus' eye-wink turning pale. 
Into these regions came I, following him, 
Sick-hearted, weary—so I took a whim 
To stray away into these forests drear, 125 
Alone, without a peer: 
And I have told thee all thou mayest hear. 

Young Stranger! 
I've been a ranger 
In search of pleasure throughout every clime; 130 
Alas! 'tis not for me! 
Bewitch'd I sure must be, 
To lose in grieving all my maiden prime. 

Come then, Sorrow, 
Sweetest Sorrow! 135 
Like an own babe I nurse thee on my breast: 
I thought to leave thee, 
And deceive thee, 
But now of all the world I love thee best. 

There is not one, 140 
No, no, not one 
But thee to comfort a poor lonely maid; 
Thou art her mother, 
And her brother, 
Her playmate, and her wooer in the shade. 145 

Ode to a Nightingale

MY heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains 
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk, 
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains 
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk: 
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot, 5 
But being too happy in thine happiness, 
That thou, light-wingèd Dryad of the trees, 
In some melodious plot 
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless, 
Singest of summer in full-throated ease. 10 

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 Proven?al song, and sunburnt mirth! 
O for a beaker full of the warm South! 15 
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene, 
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim, 
And purple-stainèd mouth; 
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen, 
And with thee fade away into the forest dim: 20 

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 palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs, 25 
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies; 
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow 
And leaden-eyed despairs; 
Where beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, 
Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow. 30 

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, 35 
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne, 
Cluster'd around by all her starry Fays 
But here there is no light, 
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown 
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways. 40 

I cannot see what flowers are at my feet, 
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs, 
But, in embalmèd darkness, guess each sweet 
Wherewith the seasonable month endows 
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild; 45 
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine; 
Fast-fading violets cover'd up in leaves; 
And mid-May's eldest child, 
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine, 
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves. 50 

Darkling I listen; and, for many a time 
I have been half in love with easeful Death, 
Call'd him soft names in many a musèd rhyme, 
To take into the air my quiet breath; 
Now more than ever seems it rich to die, 55 
To cease upon the midnight with no pain, 
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad 
In such an ecstasy! 
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain— 
To thy high requiem become a sod. 60 

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird! 
No hungry generations tread thee down; 
The voice I hear this passing night was heard 
In ancient days by emperor and clown: 
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path 65 
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 
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn. 70 

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell 
To toll me back from thee to my sole self! 
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well 
As she is famed to do, deceiving elf. 
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades 75 
Past the near meadows, over the still stream, 
Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep 
In the next valley-glades: 
Was it a vision, or a waking dream? 
Fled is that music:—do I wake or sleep? 80 

Ode on a Grecian Urn

THOU still unravish'd bride of quietness  
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time  
Sylvan historian who canst thus express 
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme: 
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape 5 
Of deities or mortals or of both  
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady? 
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth? 
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape? 
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy? 10 

Heard melodies are sweet but those unheard 
Are sweeter; therefore ye soft pipes play on; 
Not to the sensual ear but more endear'd  
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone: 
Fair youth beneath the trees thou canst not leave 15 
Thy song nor ever can those trees be bare; 
Bold Lover never never canst thou kiss  
Though winning near the goal—yet do not grieve; 
She cannot fade though thou hast not thy bliss  
For ever wilt thou love and she be fair! 20 

Ah happy happy boughs! that cannot shed 
Your leaves nor ever bid the Spring adieu; 
And happy melodist unwearièd  
For ever piping songs for ever new; 
More happy love! more happy happy love! 25 
For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd  
For ever panting and for ever young; 
All breathing human passion far above  
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd  
A burning forehead and a parching tongue. 30 

Who are these coming to the sacrifice? 
To what green altar O mysterious priest  
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies  
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest? 
What little town by river or sea-shore 35 
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel  
Is emptied of its folk this pious morn? 
And little town thy streets for evermore 
Will silent be; and not a soul to tell 
Why thou art desolate can e'er return. 40 

O Attic shape! fair attitude! with brede 
Of marble men and maidens overwrought  
With forest branches and the trodden weed; 
Thou silent form! dost tease us out of thought 
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral! 45 
When old age shall this generation waste  
Thou shalt remain in midst of other woe 
Than ours a friend to man to whom thou say'st  
'Beauty is truth truth beauty —that is all 
Ye know on earth and all ye need to know.' 50 

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-conchèd ear: 
Surely I dream'd to-day, or did I see 5 
The wingèd Psyche with awaken'd eyes? 
I wander'd in a forest thoughtlessly, 
And, on the sudden, fainting with surprise, 
Saw two fair creatures, couchèd side by side 
In deepest grass, beneath the whisp'ring roof 10 
Of leaves and trembled blossoms, where there ran 
A brooklet, scarce espied: 
'Mid hush'd, cool-rooted flowers, fragrant-eyed, 
Blue, silver-white, and budded Tyrian 
They lay calm-breathing on the bedded grass; 15 
Their arms embracèd, and their pinions too; 
Their lips touch'd not, but had not bade adieu, 
As if disjoinèd by soft-handed slumber, 
And ready still past kisses to outnumber 
At tender eye-dawn of aurorean love: 20 
The wingèd boy I knew; 
But who wast thou, O happy, happy dove? 
His Psyche true! 

O latest-born and loveliest vision far 
Of all Olympus' faded hierarchy! 25 
Fairer than Phoebe'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 30 
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. 35 

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 retired 40 
From happy pieties, thy lucent fans, 
Fluttering among the faint Olympians, 
I see, and sing, by my own eyes inspired. 
So let me be thy choir, and make a moan 
Upon the midnight hours; 45 
Thy voice, thy lute, thy pipe, thy incense sweet 
From swingèd censer teeming: 
Thy shrine, thy grove, thy oracle, thy heat 
Of pale-mouth'd prophet dreaming. 

Yes, I will be thy priest, and build a fane 50 
In some untrodden region of my mind, 
Where branchèd 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-ridgèd 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! 

To Autumn

SEASON of mists and mellow fruitfulness! 
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun; 
Conspiring with him how to load and bless 
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run; 
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees 5 
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; 
To swell the gourd and plump the hazel shells 
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more  
And still more later flowers for the bees  
Until they think warm days will never cease 10 
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells. 

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? 
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find 
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor  
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; 15 
Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep  
Drowsed with the fume of poppies while thy hook 
Spares the next swath and all its twinèd flowers; 
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep 
Steady thy laden head across a brook; 20 
Or by a cider-press with patient look  
Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours. 

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay where are they? 
Think not of them thou hast thy music too — 
While barrèd clouds bloom the soft-dying day 25 
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue; 
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn 
Among the river sallows borne aloft 
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies; 
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; 30 
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft 
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft; 
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies. 

Ode on Melancholy

NO no! go not to Lethe neither twist 
Wolf's-bane tight-rooted for its poisonous wine; 
Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kist 
By nightshade ruby grape of Proserpine; 
Make not your rosary of yew-berries 5 
Nor let the beetle nor the death-moth be 
Your mournful Psyche nor the downy owl 
A partner in your sorrow's mysteries; 
For shade to shade will come too drowsily  
And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul. 10 

But when the melancholy fit shall fall 
Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud  
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all  
And hides the green hill in an April shroud; 
Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose 15 
Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave  
Or on the wealth of globèd peonies; 
Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows  
Emprison her soft hand and let her rave  
And feed deep deep upon her peerless eyes. 20 

She dwells with Beauty—Beauty that must die; 
And Joy whose hand is ever at his lips 
Bidding adieu; and aching Pleasure nigh  
Turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips: 
Ay in the very temple of Delight 25 
Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine  
Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue 
Can burst Joy's grape against his palate fine; 
His soul shall taste the sadness of her might  
And be among her cloudy trophies hung. 30 

Fragment of an Ode to Maia 
(Written on May-Day 1818)

MOTHER of Hermes! and still youthful Maia! 
May I sing to thee 
As thou wast hymnèd on the shores of Bai?? 
Or may I woo thee 
In earlier Sicilian? or thy smiles 5 
Seek as they once were sought in Grecian isles  
By bards who died content on pleasant sward  
Leaving great verse unto a little clan? 
O give me their old vigour! and unheard 
Save of the quiet primrose and the span 10 
Of heaven and few ears  
Rounded by thee my song should die away 
Content as theirs  
Rich in the simple worship of a day. 

Bards of Passion and of Mirth 
Written on the Blank Page before Beaumont and Fletcher's 
Tragi-Comedy 'The Fair Maid of the Inn'

BARDS of Passion and of Mirth  
Ye have left your souls on earth! 
Have ye souls in heaven too  
Doubled-lived in regions new? 
Yes and those of heaven commune 5 
With the spheres of sun and moon; 
With the noise of fountains wondrous  
And the parle of voices thund'rous; 
With the whisper of heaven's trees 
And one another in soft ease 10 
Seated on Elysian lawns 
Browsed by none but Dian's fawns; 
Underneath large blue-bells tented  
Where the daisies are rose-scented  
And the rose herself has got 15 
Perfume which on earth is not; 
Where the nightingale doth sing 
Not a senseless trancèd thing  
But divine melodious truth; 
Philosophic numbers smooth; 20 
Tales and golden histories 
Of heaven and its mysteries. 

Thus ye live on high and then 
On the earth ye live again; 
And the souls ye left behind you 25 
Teach us here the way to find you  
Where your other souls are joying  
Never slumber'd never cloying. 
Here your earth-born souls still speak 
To mortals of their little week; 30 
Of their sorrows and delights; 
Of their passions and their spites; 
Of their glory and their shame; 
What doth strengthen and what maim. 
Thus ye teach us every day 35 
Wisdom though fled far away. 

Bards of Passion and of Mirth  
Ye have left your souls on earth! 
Ye have souls in heaven too  
Double-lived in regions new! 40 


EVER let the Fancy roam, 
Pleasure never is at home: 
At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth, 
Like to bubbles when rain pelteth; 
Then let wingèd Fancy wander 5 
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, 10 
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? 15 
Sit thee by the ingle, when 
The sear faggot blazes bright, 
Spirit of a winter's night; 
When the soundless earth is muffled, 
And the cakèd snow is shuffled 20 
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, 25 
With a mind self-overawed, 
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; 30 
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 heapèd Autumn's wealth, 35 
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; 40 
Rustle of the reapèd corn; 
Sweet birds antheming the morn: 
And, in the same moment—hark! 
'Tis the early April lark, 
Or the rooks, with busy caw, 45 
Foraging for sticks and straw. 
Thou shalt, at one glance, behold 
The daisy and the marigold; 
White-plumed lilies, and the first 
Hedge-grown primrose that hath burst; 50 
Shaded hyacinth, alway 
Sapphire queen of the mid-May; 
And every leaf, and every flower 
Pearlèd with the self-same shower. 
Thou shalt see the fieldmouse peep 55 
Meagre from its cellèd sleep; 
And the snake all winter-thin 
Cast on sunny bank its skin; 
Freckled nest-eggs thou shalt see 
Hatching in the hawthorn-tree, 60 
When the hen-bird's wing doth rest 
Quiet on her mossy nest; 
Then the hurry and alarm 
When the beehive casts its swarm; 
Acorns ripe down-pattering 65 
While the autumn breezes sing. 

O sweet Fancy! let her loose; 
Every thing is spoilt by use: 
Where 's the cheek that doth not fade, 
Too much gazed at? Where 's the maid 70 
Whose lip mature is ever new? 
Where 's the eye, however blue, 
Doth not weary? Where 's the face 
One would meet in every place? 
Where 's the voice, however soft, 75 
One would hear so very oft? 
At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth 
Like to bubbles when rain pelteth. 
Let, then, wingèd Fancy find 
Thee a mistress to thy mind: 80 
Dulcet-eyed as Ceres' daughter, 
Ere the God of Torment taught her 
How to frown and how to chide; 
With a waist and with a side 
White as Hebe's, when her zone 85 
Slipt its golden clasp, and down 
Fell her kirtle to her feet, 
While she held the goblet sweet, 
And Jove grew languid.—Break the mesh 
Of the Fancy's silken leash; 90 
Quickly break her prison-string, 
And such joys as these she'll bring.— 
Let the wingèd Fancy roam, 
Pleasure never is at home. 


IN a drear-nighted December  
Too happy happy tree  
Thy branches ne'er remember 
Their green felicity: 
The north cannot undo them 5 
With a sleety whistle through them; 
Nor frozen thawings glue them 
From budding at the prime. 

In a drear-nighted December  
Too happy happy brook 10 
Thy bubblings ne'er remember 
Apollo's summer look; 
But with a sweet forgetting  
They stay their crystal fretting  
Never never petting 15 
About the frozen time. 

Ah! would 'twere so with many 
A gentle girl and boy! 
But were there ever any 
Writhed not at passèd joy? 20 
To know the change and feel it  
When there is none to heal it  
Nor numbèd sense to steal it  
Was never said in rhyme. 

La Belle Dame sans Merci

'O WHAT can ail thee knight-at-arms  
Alone and palely loitering? 
The sedge is wither'd from the lake  
And no birds sing. 

'O what can ail thee knight-at-arms 5 
So haggard and so woe-begone? 
The squirrel's granary is full  
And the harvest 's done. 

'I see a lily on thy brow 
With anguish moist and fever dew; 10 
And on thy cheeks a fading rose 
Fast withereth too.' 

'I met a lady in the meads  
Full beautiful—a faery's child  
Her hair was long her foot was light 15 
And her eyes were wild. 

'I made a garland for her head  
And bracelets too and fragrant zone; 
She look'd at me as she did love  
And made sweet moan. 20 

'I set her on my pacing steed 
And nothing else saw all day long  
For sideways would she lean and sing 
A faery's song. 

'She found me roots of relish sweet 25 
And honey wild and manna dew  
And sure in language strange she said  
I love thee true!  

'She took me to her elfin grot  
And there she wept and sigh'd fill sore; 30 
And there I shut her wild wild eyes 
With kisses four. 

'And there she lullèd me asleep  
And there I dream'd—Ah! woe betide! 
The latest dream I ever dream'd 35 
On the cold hill's side. 

'I saw pale kings and princes too  
Pale warriors death-pale were they all; 
They cried—"La belle Dame sans Merci 
Hath thee in thrall!" 40 

'I saw their starved lips in the gloam 
With horrid warning gapèd wide  
And I awoke and found me here  
On the cold hill's side. 

'And this is why I sojourn here 45 
Alone and palely loitering  
Though the sedge is wither'd from the lake  
And no birds sing.' 

On first looking into Chapman's Homer

MUCH have I travell'd in the realms of gold  
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen; 
Round many western islands have I been 
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold. 
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told 5 
That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne: 
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene 
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold: 
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies 
When a new planet swims into his ken; 10 
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes 
He stared at the Pacific—and all his men 
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise— 
Silent upon a peak in Darien. 

When I have Fears that I may cease to be

WHEN I have fears that I may cease to be 
Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain  
Before high pil`d books in charact'ry  
Hold like rich garners the full-ripen'd grain; 
When I behold upon the night's starr'd face 5 
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance  
And feel that I may never live to trace 
Their shadows with the magic hand of chance; 
And when I feel fair creature of an hour! 
That I shall never look upon thee more 10 
Never have relish in the faery power 
Of unreflecting love;—then on the shore 
Of the wide world I stand alone and think  
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink. 

To Sleep

O SOFT embalmer of the still midnight! 
Shutting with careful fingers and benign 
Our gloom-pleased eyes embower'd from the light  
Enshaded in forgetfulness divine; 
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee close 5 
In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes  
Or wait the amen ere thy poppy throws 
Around my bed its lulling charities; 
Then save me or the passèd day will shine 
Upon my pillow breeding many woes; 10 
Save me from curious conscience that still lords 
Its strength for darkness burrowing like a mole; 
Turn the key deftly in the oilèd wards  
And seal the hushèd casket of my soul. 

Last Sonnet

BRIGHT Star! would I were steadfast as thou art— 
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night  
And watching with eternal lids apart  
Like Nature's patient sleepless Eremite  
The moving waters at their priest-like task 5 
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores  
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask 
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors— 
No—yet still steadfast still unchangeable  
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast 10 
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell  
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest  
Still still to hear her tender-taken breath  
And so live ever—or else swoon to death.

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