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Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey
hairs; Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies; Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
And leaden-eyed despairs ;
Or new love pine at them beyond to-morrow
Away! away ! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards ;
But here there is no light,
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
Wherewith the seasonable month endous
And mid-May's eldest child,
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 take into the air my quiet breath ;
In such an ecstasy!
To thy high requiem become a sod.
T'hou wast not born for death, immortal bird !
No hungry generations tread thee down ;
In ancient days by emperor and clown;
The same that ofttimes hath
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn. (19)
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.
In the next valley-glades!
Fled is that music? Do I wake or sleep?
(18) Ode to a Nightingaie. 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
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 colour 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;
Round many western islands have I been,
That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne ·
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene,
When a new planet swims into his ken ;
He star'd at the Pacific (20)—and all his men
Silent, upon a peak in Darien. (>')
(20) He star'il 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 the Homer of Chapman.
(29) 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."