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JOHN KEATS.

1796--1820.

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,
But being too happy in thy happiness,-
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,

In some melodious plot
Of bushes green, and shadows numberless,

Singest of summer in full-throated ease.

O for a draught of vintage, that hath been

Cooled a long aye in the deep-delved 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, 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:

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;

JOAN KEATS.

Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last grey hairs;
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
Where best 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.

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,
Clustered 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.

I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,

Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet

Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the forest-tree wild;
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
Fast-fading violets, covered up in leaves;

And mid-May's eldest child,
The evening musk-rose, full of dewy wine,

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, Called 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,

ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE.

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.

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
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn;

The same that oft-times hath Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam

Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.

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
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?

WILLIAM MOTHERWELL.

1797-1835.

SONG OF THE DANISH SEA-KING.

OUR bark is on the waters deep, our bright blade's in our hand,
Our birthright is the ocean vast—we scorn the girdled land;
And the hollow wind is our music brave, and none can bolder be
Than the hoarse-tongued tempest raving o'er a proud and swelling sea!

Our bark is dancing on the waves, its tall masts quivering bend
Before the gale, which hails us now with the hollo! of a friend;
And its prow is sheering merrily the upcurled billow's foam,
While our hearts, with throbbing gladness, cheer old Ocean as our home!

Our eagle-wings of might we stretch before the gallant wind,
And we leave the tame and sluggish earth a dim mean speck behind;
We shoot into the untracked deep, as earth-freed spirits soar,
Like stars of fire through boundless space—through realms without a shore!

Lords of this wide-spread wilderness of waters, we bound free,
The haughty elements alone dispute our sovereignty;
No landmark doth our freedom let, for no law of man can mete
The sky which arches o'er our head—the waves which kiss our feet :

The warrior of the land may back the wild horse in his pride;
But a fiercer steed we dauntless breast—the untamed ocean tide;
And a nobler tilt our bark careers, as it quells the saucy wave,
While the Herald storm peals o'er the deep the glories of the brave.

Hurrah! hurrah! the wind is up-it bloweth fresh and free,
And every cord, instinct with life, pipes loud its fearless glee;
Big swell the bosomed sails with joy, and they madly kiss the spray,
As proudly, through the foaming surge, the Sea-King bears away!

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FARE-THEE-WELL, our last and fairest,

Dear wee Willie, fare-thee-well! God, who lent thee, hath recalled thee

Back, with Him and His to dwell: Fifteen moons their silver lustre

Only o'er thy brow had shed, When thy spirit joined the seraphs, And thy dust the dead.

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