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troubled realities of human love. Let These are the living pleasures of the bard:
it not be supposed that the creations of what does he murmur with his latest breath,

But richer far posterity's award. even his young imagination were cold, while his proud eye looks thro' the film of death? passionless, and unimbued with natural Yet shall my spirit lofty converse hold

What tho I leave this dull and earthly mould, feelings; so far from it, it may be con- With after times. The patriot shall feel jectured that it was the blending of the Aly stern alarum, and unsheath his steel ;

Or in the senate thunder out my numbers, ideal and sensual life, so peculiar to the To startle princes from their easy slumbers ; Grecian Mythology, which rendered The sage will mingle with each moral theme it so attractive to the mind of Keats, with lofty periods when my verses fire him,

My happy thoughts sententious: he will teem and when the “Endymion” comes to And then I'll stoop from heaven to inspire him. be critically considered, it will at once Lays have I left of such a dear delight,

That maids will sing them on their bridal night. appear that its excellence consists in the appreciation of that ancient spirit Then, as if feeling his presumptuousof beauty, to which all outward percep-ness, he checks himself and saystions so excellently ministered, and which could I, at once, my mad ambition smother, undertook to refine and to elevate the For tasting joys like these, sure I should be instinctive feelings of those who would Happier and dearer to society. submit to their influence.

At times, 'tis true, I've felt relief from pain,

When some bright thought has darted thro' my Friendship, generally ardent in youth, would not remain without its impres- Than if I had brought to light a hidden treasure.

Thro' all that day I've felt a greater pleasure sion in the early poems of Keats. With Mr. Felton Mather, to whom his first

His third epistle (Sept., 1816), adpoetical epistle is addressed, he enjoyed dressed to his friend Cowden Clarke, is a high intellectual sympathy. "This written in a bolder, freer strain than friend had introduced him to congenial the others. In it occur those just and society, both of men and books. Those sententious descriptions of the various verses were written just at the time orders of verse with which his friend had Keats · became aware of the little in- familiarized his mind. They betoken terest which he felt in the profession that he united clearness of perception he was so studiously pursuing, and was to brilliance of fancy :already in the midst of that conflict

The sonnet swelling loudly between the outer and inner world, Up to its climax ar then dying proudly; which is, alas! too often the poet's the ode, heritage in life. Mr. Mather remarks that at that time “the eye of Keats was

Growing like Atlas, stronger for its load; more critical than tender, and so was

the epic,

Of all the king, his mind; he admired more the ex

Round, vast, and spanning all, like Saturn's ternal decorations than felt the deep

ring; emotions of the muse. He delighted in

The sharp the rapier-pointed epigram; leading you through the mazes of elaborate description, but was less con

Spenserian vowels that elope with ease,

And float along like birds on summer seas. scious of the sublime and pathetic; he used to spend many evenings in reading Among his sonnets, of which he wrote to me, but I never observed the tears in several, some are of unequal merit, and his eyes, nor the broken voice which relating to forgotten details of every-day are indicative of extreme sensibility.” life, are only interesting so far as they This modification of a nature, at first illustrate the progress of genius and the passionately susceptible, and the suc- constant striving after something worthy ceeding development of the imagination, of the high and noble art to which he is not an unfrequent phenomenon in had dedicated his powers. A few, howpoetical psychology. His next poetic ever, exist of surpassing lovelinessepistle, dated August 1816, is addressed sublime in strength, rich in expression, to his brother George, and we find and harmonious in rhythm. That Spenser there too. By this time the “On First Looking into Chapman's delightful consciousness of latent genius Homer,” has, by a high judge of poetry, had dawned upon him. After a gorgeous been pronounced “the most splendid description of the present happiness of sonnet in the language.” the poet, he betrays that he is not alto- Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold, gether free from what has been so aptly And many goodly states and kingdoms seen; designated the “weakness of great which bards in fealty to Apollo bold:

Round many western islands have I been, minds,”--the love of fame.

Oft of one wide expanse had I been told,

He says

That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne; in the same year. These two pieces, of Yet did I never breathe its pure serene, Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold :

considerable length, show the sustained Then felt I like some watcher of the skies, vigour of the young poet's fancy. Yet When a new planet swims into his ken; Or like stout Cortez, when with eagle eyes

the imperfections of Keats's style are. He star'd at the Pacific--and all his men

here more apparent than in his shorter Look'd at each other with a wild surmise

efforts. Poetry to him was not yet an Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

art; the irregularities of his own verse Leigh Hunt remarks, it is “epical in were to him no more than the irregulathe splendour and dignity of its images, rities of that nature of which he consiand terminates with the noblest Greek dered himself as the interpreter. simplicity.”

For what has made the sage or poet write, These critical remarks have antici

But the fair paradise of Nature's light? pated the termination of Keats's appren- In the calm grandeur of a sober line,

We see the moving of the mountain pine. ticeship and his removal to London, for

And when a tale is beautifully staid, the purpose of walking the hospitals. We feel the safety of a hawthorn glade. He lodged in the Poultry, and having

He had yet to learn that art should been introduced by his friend, C. Clarke, to some literary friends, he soon

found purify and elevate that nature which it himself in a genial and sympathizing comprehends ; and that the ideal

loses atmosphere, which stimulated and en fection of form as well as of view. He

none of its beauty in aiming at percouraged him to exertion. One of his did not like to consider poetry as the most intimate friends at that time, result of anxious and studious thought; eminent for his poetical originality and

nor that it should represent the strugpolitical persecutions, was Leigh Hunt, gles in the hearts of men. whom all must admire for his noble,

most exquisitely, that independent spirit, which recoiled from

A drainless shower every species of oppression, as well as

Of light is poesy-'tis the supreme power; for the delightful, melodious poetry with "Tis might half slumbering on its own right arm. which he has enriched his country. Miserable, indeed, was the return which

At the completion of the first volume, his fearless advocacy of justice met with. he gave a striking proof of his facility In those days of hard opinion, which for composition. He was enjoying the we of a “freer and worthier time," look evening with a lively circle of friends, back upon with strong indignation, Mr. when the last proof-sheet was brought Hunt had been imprisoned for an ex

him, with a message from the publisher pression of public feeling, in his “Jour-that, if he intended to have a dedication, nal,” a little too liberal for those times. he must write one immediately; he adThe heart of Keats leaped towards him, journed to a side table, and, whilst the in human and poetic brotherhood; and rest were busily conversing, wrote the the earnest sonnet on the day Hunt

Sonnet commencing, left prison, cemented the friendship.

Glory and loveliness have passed away. They read and walked together, and This little book, the beloved first wrote verses in competition on a given fruits of so great a genius, scarcely arsubject. "No imaginative pleasure," rested the public attention; it had observes Mr. Hunt, “ was left unnoticed hardly a purchaser beyond the circle of by us or unenjoyed, from the recollection ardent friends, who composed most of of the bards and patriots of old, to the the great minds of that time—and the luxury of a summer rain at our windows, profuse admiration which they bestowed or the clicking of the coal in winter- upon it, must have contrasted strangely, time.” Thus he became intimate with with the utter neglect of the rest of Hazlitt, Shelley, and Haydon, Basil mankind, and been a bitter lesson to Montague and his distinguished family, his highly sensitive feelings. Haydon, and with Mr. Ollier, a young publisher, Dilke, Reynolds, Woodhouse, Rice, who offered to publish a volume of Taylor, Wessey, Leigh Hunt, Bailey, Keat's productions. The poem with and Haslam, were, at this time, Keats's which it commences was suggested by principal companions and correspona delightful summer's day, as he stood dents. by a gate on Hampstead Heath, leading The uncongenial nature of the prointo a field by Caen Wood; and the fession for which Keats was preparing last “Sleep and Poetry," was occasioned himself, became daily more apparent to by his sleeping in Mr. Hunt's cottage him. An extensive book of careful an

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notations testify his diligence—distaste- 'God forbid that I should be withful as he felt his profession to be out such a task.' I have heard though one of his fellow students de- Hunt say and I may be asked, ' why scribes him at the lectures as being very endeavour after a long poem ?” to this I fond of mixing up the notes with dog- should answer, Do not the lovers of gerel rhymes, especially when he got poetry like to have a little region to hold of another student's syllabus. He wander in, where they may pick and did not meet with much sympathy choose, and in which the images are so among the students, and whenever he numerous that many are forgotten and showed them his graver compositions, found new in a second reading,—which they were sure to be severely ridiculed. may be food for a week's stroll in the They were therefore much surprised, summer? Do not they like this better when he presented himself at the than what they can read through before Apothecaries' Hall, that he “passed” Mrs. Williams comes down stairs? a the examination with much credit. morning's work at most. When, however, he entered on the prac- Besides, a long poem is a test of intical part, although successful in all his vention, which I take for the polar star operations, yet his mind was so op- of poetry, as fancy is the sails, and pressed with the dread of doing harm, imagination the rudder. Did our great that he came to the settled conviction poets ever write short pieces? I mean in that he was totally unfit for the profes- the shape of tales. This same invension, on which he had expended so tion seems, indeed, of late years, to many years of study and a considerable have been forgotten in a partial excelpart of his property. My dexterity,” | lence.” he remarks, “ used to seem to me a mira- So much for what Keats says of his cle, and I resolved never to take up own composition-of its imperfections à surgical instrument again :" and thus (which consist rather in the excessive he found himself on the threshold of luxuriance of imagery, and extreme manhood—without the means of daily sensibility, if these can be called faults, subsistence, but with a host of friends than in overdrawn and “ spun-out deeply interested in his welfare, and in- description) he was well aware, as the dulging those proud hopes for the fu- reader may perceive by the preface to ture which so often buoy up only to " Endymion :" Knowing within mydeceive the highest geniuses.

self the manner in which this poem has While at Margate in May, 1817, he been produced, it is not without a feelcommenced the poem of “ Endymion:" ing of regret that I make it public, what it was finished on 28th November of manner I mean will be quite clear to the same year, as recorded by the ex- the reader, who must soon perceive isting manuscript, fairly written in a great inexperience, immaturity, and book, with various corrections of words every error, denoting a feverish attempt, and phrases, but with little transposi- rather than a deed accomplished.” tion of sentences. In the following “Endymion” is filled with imagery extract from a letter to his brother of the most startling loveliness, gorGeorge, he gives his reasons for working geous descriptions, and wild, rich, everout a simple mythological legend into varying Æolian music; the metre is so long a story

“As to what you say capricious, indeed, it can hardly be said about my being a poet, I can return no to have any versification, and the lines answer but by saying that the high are broken in the strangest, though not idea I have of poetical fame makes me unnatural manner, so that it is easy to think I see it towering too high above mistake it for blank verse, unless readme. At any rate I have no right to ing aloud, although the rhymes are retalk until • Endymion' is finished. It markably correct and ingenious. The will be a test, å trial of my powers of whole poem displays a singularly accuimagination, and chiefly of my inven- rate acquaintance with the mythology tion—which is a rare thing indeed—by of Greece, and an exquisite appreciawhich I must make 4,000 lines of one tion of its beauties. In reading the bare circumstance, and fill them with poem we are constrained to own that in poetry. And when I consider that this - bidding to live again the images of is a great task, and that when done it pagan beauty,” Keats had not dulled will take me but a dozen paces towards their brightness. the Temple of Fame-it makes me say, The winter of 1817-18 was spent

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cheerily enough among his friends at tellectual than the other features. His Hampstead; his society was much countenance lives in my mind, as one courted for the agreeable mingling of of singular beauty and brightness; it playfulness and earnestness which dis- had an expression as if it had been tinguished his manner towards all men. looking on some glorious sight. The He was perfectly natural and unassum- shape of his face had not the squareness ing; there was no striving to say of a man's, but more like some women's “smart things;" he joked well or ill, as face I have seen; it was so wide over the case might be, with a laugh that the forehead, and so small at the chinstill rings sweetly in many ears; but at he seemed in perfect health, and with the mention of oppression, or baseness, life offering all things that were precious or any calumny against those he loved, to him.” he rose into grave manliness at once, Wecannot resist quoting three axioms and gave vent to his indignation in which Keats penned in February 1818, withering words of reproach ; his ha- to his friend Taylor (we presume the bitual gentleness and self-control made author of “ Philip Van Artevelta," &e.) these occasional looks of bitterest con- on poetry, which show what a simple tempt almost terrible. At one time, correct taste he possessed, united to a hearing a gross falsehood respecting the most feeling appreciation of its exqui. artist Severn, repeated and dwelt upon, siteness. he left the room, declaring " he should Axiom 1.--"I think poetry should surbe ashamed to sit with men who could prise by å fine excess, and not by sinutter and believe such things." At gularity; it should strike the reader as another time, hearing of some unworthy a wording of his own highest thoughts, .conduct, he burst out-"Is there no and appear almost a remembrance. human dusthole into which we can 2.—“Its touches of beauty should sweep such fellows?"

never be half-way, thereby making the To display of every kind he had espe- reader breathless instead of content, cial abhorrence, and he complains, in a The rise, the progress, the telling of note to Haydon, that “conversation is imagery should, like the sun, come not a search after knowledge, but an natural to him, shine over him, and endeavour at effect; if Bacon were alive, set soberly, although in magnificence

, and to make a remark in the present day, leaving him in the luxury of twilight. in company, the conversation would But it is easier to think what poetry stop on a sudden, I am convinced of should be, than to write it. And this." · Plain practical life, on the one this leads me to another axiom-That hand, and a free exercise of his rich if poetry comes not as naturally as the imagination, on the other, were the leaves to a tree, it had better not come ideal of his existence; his poetry never at all. If Endymion' serves me as a weakened his action, and his simple pioneer, perhaps I ought to be content, every-day habits never coarsened the for, thank God, I can read, and perhaps beauty of the world within him," In a understand, Shakspere to his depths; letter written to Bailey about this time, and I have, I am sure, many friends we find the following fine suggestive who, if I fail, will attribute any change, idea :—“Twelve days have passed since in my life and temper to humbleness your last reached me. What has gone rather than pride—to a cowering under through the myriads of human minds the wings of great poets, rather than to since the 12th. We talk of the immense a bitterness that I am not appreciated.” number of books, the volumes ranged Keats's letters of this period are pethousands by thousands; but perhaps culiarly his own; they exhibit great more goes through the human intelligence powers of perception, depth of thought, in twelve days than ever was written.intensity of feeling, originality of con

A lady, whose intuitive perception ception. The following earnest paraonly equals the depth of her understand graph will show how unwearied he was ing, says, she distinctly remembers in the endeavour rightly to “occupy." Keats, as he appeared at this time at the five talents entrusted to his stewardHazlitt's lectures. “ His eyes were ship-even to the sacrifice of his most large' and blue, his hair auburn, he darling hopes. wore it divided down the centre, and it "I was proposing to travel over the fell in rich masses on each side of his North this summer. There is but one face; his mouth was full and less in- I thing to prevent me.

I know nothing

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-I have read nothing—and I mean to notice at all, (pity indeed that the refollow Solomon's directions, “ Get learn- viewer set no higher value on his time, ing, get understanding.” I find earlier than to waste it in such a manner!) days are gone by, I find that I can From the article, the reader would per. have no enjoyment in the world, but ceive the writer's utter incapacity to continual drinking of knowledge. I appreciate poetry of any sort, and the find there is no worthy pursuit, but avowal that he could not read the book the idea of doing some good to the he had undertaken to criticise, (!) was a world. Some do it with their society; piece of impertinence so glaring, as some with their wit; some with their should have deterred all from reading benevolence; some with a sort of power the criticism. The notice in Blackof conferring pleasure and good humour wood was even more scurrilous, but on all they meet, and in a thousand more amusing and inserted quotations ways, all dutiful to the command of of some length. Now it has been curgreat nature. There is but one way rently believed that these severe cuts, for me.

The road lies through applica- in two leading Reviews were so bitterly tion, study, and thought. I will pursue felt by Keats, that they brought on a it; and for that end, propose retiring consumption, of which he ultimately for some years. I have been hovering died—true, Keats did die shortly after for some time between an exquisite the criticisms upon him, and his friends sense of the luxurious, and a love for out of honest anger, propagated the philosophy; were I calculated for the notion, that the brutality of the critics former, I should be glad, but as I am had a most injurious effect on his not I shall turn all my soul to the health, but a conscientious enquiry latter."

entirely dispels such a belief. It is suffiThe usual monotony of Keats's life ciently apparent from Keat's letters, was now agreeably varied by a pedes- how little importance he attaches to trian tour, through the lakes and high-such opinions, how seldom he alludes lands, with his friend Brown. The to them at all, and with how little conrapture of Keats was unbounded when cern when he does so. Mark his own he became sensible to the full effect of words in a confidential letter to his mountain scenery. At the turn of the publisher, shortly after seeing the road above Bowness, when the Lake critiques. Windermere first bursts on the view,

"I cannot but feel indebted he stopped as if petrified with beauty. to those gentlemen who have taken my A sort of journal of this tour, remains part. As for the rest I begin to get a in various letters written at this time, little acquaintance with my own strength they are saturated with the spirit of and weakness. Praise or blame has but delight which he felt at beholding na- a momentary effect on the man whose ture in her wildest, grandest moods, love of beauty in the abstract makes and bear witness how eminently his him a severe critic on his own works. mind was qualified to appreciate nature My own domestic criticism has given in her touchingly simple, as well as me pain without comparison beyond her overpoweringly grand forms, from what“ Blackwood,” or the “Quarterly” the “trembling light heather bells” to could inflict; and also when I feel I " black mountain peaks,” or “mossy am right, no external praise can give waterfalls,” yet there is a vein of rich (me such a glow as my own solitary rehumour in them, and they abound in perception and ratification of what is remarks on the people, and their pecu- tine. "I. S. is perfectly right in regard liar habits and modes of life.

to the “Slip-shod Endymion;" that it is In November, 1818, there appeared so is no fault of mine. No! though it in the Quarterly, an article most may sound a little paradoxical, it is as severely and ungenerously criticising good as I had power to make it by myKeats's poems. It had no worth as criti- self. Had I been nervous about it being cism, (for the justness of the critic, a perfect piece, and with that view must be tested by what he admires, not | asked advice, and trembled over every only by what he dislikes and abuses) it page, it would not have been written; was eminently stupid; for the book for it not in my nature to fumble. according to the reviewer, might have I will write independently. I have been one of those productions, which written independently without juulgment, it is absolutely waste of time to I may write independently and with

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