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THE HON. WILLIAM SPENCER. 1770—1837.
Too late I've stay'd-forgive the crime
Unheeded flew the hours :
That only treads on flowers !
The ebbings of his glass,
That dazzle as they pass ?
Time's happy swiftness brings,
JOHN KEATS. 1796–1821.
ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE.
My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
One minute past, and Lethe-ward had sunk.
In some melodious plot
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth, Tasting of Flora and the country green,
Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!
Oh for a beaker full of the warm South,
And purple-stain'd mouth ;
And with thee fade away into the forest dim:
What thou among the leaves hast never known, The weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
And leaden-eyed despairs,
Or new love pine at them beyond to-morrow.
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards :
But here there is no light,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs, But, in embalm’d darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
And mid-May's eldest child,
Darkling I listen ; and, for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death, Calld him soft names in many a mused rhyme, To take into the air my quiet breath ;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
In such an ecstasy!
To thy high requiem become a sod.
No hungry generations tread thee down ;
In ancient days by emperor and clown: Perhaps the selfsame song that found a path Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for She stood in tears amid the alien corn; [home,
The same that ofttimes hath Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in fairy lands forlorn. Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self !
As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.
In the next valley-glades :
Fled is that music : do I wake or sleep?
ODE ON A GRECIAN URN.
Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness!
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady? [loth? What men or gods are these? What maidens What mad pursuit ? What struggle to escape ?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy ? 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 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!
Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu ;
For ever piping songs for ever new;
For ever panting and for ever young ;
A burning forehead and a parching tongue.
To what green altar, oh mysterious priest, Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands dress'd? What little town by river or seashore, Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of this 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.
Oh, 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 ! When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other wo Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st
Beauty is truth, truth beauty ;" that is all
ODE TO PSYCHE.
Oh, 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-couched ear : Surely I dream'd 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,
In deepest grass, beneath the whisp'ring roof
A brooklet, scarce espied :
Blue, silver-white, and budded Tyrian,
Their arms embraced, and their pinions too;
The winged boy I knew ;
His Psyche true!