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So came these words and went.
judgment hereafter. The genius of to his death. Had he lived less he might, poetry must work out its own salvation possibly, have lived longer.
It cannot be matured by law When in December, Keats was left and precept, but by sensation and watch alone by the death of his brother Tom, fulness in itself-that which is created, (who had long been in consumption,) must create itself.”
he accepted the invitation of Mr. Brown A few weeks later he writes on the to reside with him. The cheerful sociey same subject, “Reynolds is well and of his friend had a beneficial effect on persuades me to publish my 'Pot of his spirits, and stimulated him to reBasil,' as an answer to the attack made on newed poetic exertions. It was then he me by 'Blackwood' and the 'Quarterly. begun - Hyperion,” that noble fragment
I think I shall be among the full “ of the large utterance of the early English Poets after my death. Even as gods," of which Shelley said the scenery a matter of present interest the attempt and drawing of Saturn, dethroned by to crush me in the 'Quarterly' has only the fallen Titans, surpassed those of brought me more into notice, and it is Satan and his rebellious angels in a common expression among book-men, “Paradise Lost.” 'I wonder the “Quarterly' should cut Hypernion is, without doubt, the its own throat.'” So little, indeed, had most mature of his poems, and contains it cooled his ardour, or broken his spirit, more of the sublime than any other, that about this time he penned the fol- which is relieved and softened byimagery lowing passage of exalted feeling : of the most exquisite and äeriel hue. “ In the second place I will speak of my Take, for example, the following frag. views, and of the life I purpose to my: mentary passage: self. I am ambitious of doing the world
As when upon a tranced summer-night, some good ; if I should be spared that
Those green-robed senators of mighty woods, may be the work of future years. In the Tall oaks, branch-charmed by the earnest stars, interval I will assay to reach as high
Dream, and so dream all night without a stir,
Save from one gradual solitary gust, a summit in poetry as the nerve bestowed Which comes upon the silence and dies off, upon me will suffer. The fairest con- As if the ebbing air had but one wave: ceptions I have of poems to come, bring the blood frequently into my forehead. A simile of more unearthly haunting All I hope is that I may not lose all in- majesty than the following, the intellect terest in human affairs; that the solitary of man could hardly create :indifference I feel for applause, even There is a roaring in the bleak grown pines from the finest spirits, will not blunt When winter lifts his voice; there is a noise any acuteness of vision I may have. I
Among immortals when a God gives sign,
With hushing finger, how he means to load do not think it will. I feel assured I should
His tongue with the full weight of utterless write from the mere yearning and fond- thought,
With thunder and with music and with pomp. ness I have for the beautiful, even if my Such noise is like the roar of bleak-grown pines night's labours should be burnt every Which when it ceases in this mountain'd world,
No other sound succeeds. morning, and no eye ever shine upon them.”
The “Eve of St. Agnes” was begun in In a letter to his brother George, 1819 in Hampshire, and finished on October, 1818, he mentions a lady of his return to Hampstead—there is a noble form, refined manners, and su- certain Spenserian handling about it, perior intellect, as simply admiring ber but with a striking improvement in --this admiration in time ripened into diction and versification. "Lord Jeffrey a passion which ceased only with his exist- justly remarks, “The glory and charm
However warmly the devotion of of the poem is the description of the Keats may have been returned, his out- fair maiden's antique chamber and of all ward circumstances soon became in so that passes in that sweet and angeluncertain a state as to render a union guarded sanctuary, every part of which for some years at least impossible. is touched with colour at once rich and Poverty and sickness overtook him; delicate, and the whole chastened and these he met, and for a time success- harmonized in the midst of its gorgeous fully baffled, with strong hope and con distinctness by a pervading grace and sciousness of his own mighty power of purity, that indicate not less clearly the intellect; but they at length overcame exaltation than the refinement of the him, and the very intensity of his pas- author's fancy.” We find the following sion was, in a certain sense, accessory I critical observations in Leigh Hunt's
delightful work on Imagination and poet, and the contrast between the Fancy:"-" The Eve of St. Agnes' is glory of the diction and the poverty of young, but full-grown poetry of the invention is very striking. rarest description; graceful as the beard- Keats now began to find himself in less Apollo; glowing and gorgeous with somewhat straightened circumstances, the colours of romance-in addition to from various causes. His volumes of felicity of treatment, its subject is in poems had not sold so well as he had every respect a happy one, and helps to hoped they would. Then it is possible
paint' this our bower of poetry with he possessed no overplus of prudence delight.' In all the luxury of the poem and economy in money matters—a quathere is nothing of the conventional lity which is not usually found to exist craft of artificial writers; no heaping up in excess in men of high literary talent. of words or similes for their own sakes Certainly their is no reason why common or the rhyme's sake; no gaudy common practical sense should not be combined places; no borrowed airs of earnest- with intellectual superiority, though it ness; no tricks of inversion ; no sub- rarely is. To meet his present wants, he stitution of reading or of ingenious determined to write for the periodicals, thoughts for feeling or spontaneity, no although he formerly entertained strong irrelevancy or unfitness of any sort. objections to magazine writing; he All flows out of sincerity and passion. subdued his proud feelings, and there The writer is as much in love with his are several letters which relate to this heroine as his hero is; his description subject, but it does not appear that he of the painted window, however gor- ever carried out his intentions, for it geous, has not an untrue or superfluous was in the early part of 1820, that word; and the only speck of a fault in symptoms first appeared of that disease the whole poem arises from an excess of which was soon to close his bright, emotion."
though not unclouded, career. Keats spent the greater part of the One night, about eleven o'clock he summer at Shanklin in company with returned home in a state of great phyhis friend Brown. Here they attempted sical excitement—to those who did not a combination of intellectual power as know him, it might appear in a state of was hardly likely to prove successful, fierce intoxication. He told his friend they were to write a drama between that he had been outside a coach, had them. Brown was to supply the cha- received a severe chill and was a little racters, incident and dramatic plot, fevered, but added, “I don't feel it while Keats translated them into rich now.” He was easily persuaded to go and glowing verse—this was no doubt to bed, and as he leaped into the cold an amusing diversion, but it requires sheets, he slightly coughed, and said, no profound esthetic knowledge to un- That is blood from my month, bring derstand that this singular mode of com- me the candle, let me see this blood." He position was not likely to be successful gazed stedfastly, for some moments, at
for the unity of form and emotion the crimson stain, and then, looking must receive an injury hard to be com- into his friend's face with an expression pensated by any apparent improvement of sudden calmness never to be forin the several parts, and a certain in- gotten, remarked, “I know the colour feriority is often more agreeable than an of that blood—it is arterial blood-I attempt at entire completeness, at the cannot be deceived in that colour; that sacrifice of that unity of feeling and drop is my death warrant. I must character, which in the drama most die." especially should be preserved—“the A surgeon was immediately called in, story is confused and unreal, and the and after being bled, Keats fell into a personages are mere imbodied passions, quiet sleep. The medical man declared the heroine and her brotherwalk through the lungs to be sound and the rupture the whole piece like the demons of an unimportant; but Keats was of a difold romance, and the historical cha- ferent opinion, and with the frequent racter which gives his name to the play self-prescience of disease, added to his (Otho the Great) is almost excluded and scientific knowledge, he was not to be made a part of the pageantry-passages, persuaded out of his forebodings; his however, of great beauty and power are love of life did at times, however, get continually recurring—there is scarce a the better of his gloom. page without some touch of the great The advancing year brought with it
such an improvement in health and Pillowed upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell, strength, as amounted almost in the
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest, estimation of many of his most san- Still, still to hear her tender taken breath, guine friends, to recovery. Gleams of And so live ever-or else swoon to death. his old cheerfulness returned. In a letter which was the last he ever wrote. (February, 1820) he remarks, with ex- A violent storm in the Bay of Biscay quisite delicacy and feeling, “how asto- lasted thirty hours.
After the tempest nishingly does the chance of leaving had subsided, Keats was reading the the world impress a sense of its natural description of the storm in Don Juan, beauties upon us, I think of green and cast the book on the floor in & fields; I muse with the greatest affection transport of indignation—"How horrion every flower I have known since my ble an example of human nature," he infancy, their shapes and colours are as cried, “is this man, who has no pleasure new to me as if I had just created them left him, but to gloat over 'and jeer at with a superhuman fancy. It is be the most awful incidents of life. Oh! cause they are connected with the most this is a paltry originality, which conthoughtless and the happiest moments sists in making solemn things gay, and of our lives. I have seen foreign flowers, gay things solemn, and yet it will in hot-houses, of the most beautiful fascinate thousands, by the very diabolinatures, but I do not care a straw for cal outrage of their sympathies. Byron's them. The simple flowers of spring are perverted education makes him assume what I want to see again.”
to feel, and try to impart to others, In May, Keats went to Kentish Town those depraved sensations which the to be near his friend, Leigh Hunt, but want of any education excites in many." soon returned to Hampstead, and re- The invalid's sufferings increased mained with the family of the lady to during the latter part of the voyage, whom he was attached. But as the and a miserable ten days quarantine at summer and autumn advanced all the Naples. But when once fairly settled delusive hopes which his apparent reco- in comfortable quarters, his spirits apvery had fostered died away, for the peared somewhat to revive, and the disease was making visible progress, glorious scenery to bring back at and in September, as a last forlorn hope, moments his old sense of delight; these he was recommended to try the genial transitory gleams of hope were only climate of Italy. His friend Severn, remarkable as contrasting painfully nobly regardless of his fair prospects with the gloom of melancholy and defor the future, (the gold medal for the spair, which overcame all his feelings, best historical painting had just been even those of love. awarded to him) at once offered to ac- Little things which might have company Keats into Italy. Such a passed at other times unobserved, now companionship was everything to him, struck his exquisitely susceptible feeland though he reproached himself on ings with intense disgust. He could his deathbed with permitting Severn to not bear to go to the Opera, on account make the sacrifice, it no doubt afforded of the sentinels who were stationed all the alleviation of which his sad con- continually on the stage. “We will go dition was capable.
at once to Rome,” he said, "I know my The voyage was begun on the 20th of end approaches, and the continual visiSeptember, for a fortnight they were ble tyranny of this government prevents delayed in the Channel by contrary me from having any peace of mind—I winds. He landed once more on the could not lie quietly here—I will not Dorchester coast; the bright beauty of leave even my bones in the midst of the day and the scene revived the poet's this despotism.". drooping heart, it was then that he He had received at Naples a most composed that sonnet of solemn ten- kind letter from Shelley, anxiously en. derness,
quiring after his health, and concluding
with a pressing invitation to Pisa, Bright star! would I were stedfast as thou artNot in lone splendour hung aloft the night,
where he could ensure him every comAnd watching with eternal lips apart,
fort and attention. It is unfortunate Like Nature's patient sleepless eremite, The moving waters at their priestlike task
this invitation was not accepted, as it Of pare ablution round earth's human shores, might have spared the sufferer much Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask Of snow upon the mountains and the moors
annoyance, and relieved the mind of No-yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
his friend from much painful responsi
bility and distress. On arriving at since, and my poor Keats gone. Three Rome he delivered the letter of intro- days since the body was opened, the duction to Dr. (now Sir James) Clarke, lungs were completely gone." The docfrom whom he received all the tors could not imagine how he had attention which skill and knowledge lived these two months. I followed his can confer, and all that sympathy and dear body to the grave on Monday, delicate thoughtfulness which could with many English. The letters I lighten the dark passages of mortal placed in the coffin with my own hand.” sickness, and soothe the pillow of the Keats was buried in the Protestant forlorn stranger. Dr. Clarke procured cemetery at Rome, one of the most Keats a lodging in the Piazza di Spagna, beautiful spots on which the eye or opposite to his own dwelling; it was in heart of man can rest. It is a grassy the first house on your right hand as slope, amid the verdurous ruins of the you ascend the steps of the “Trinita Honorian walls of the diminished city, del Monte." The desolation and gloom and surrounded by the pyramidal of Keats's state were alone alleviated by tomb which Petarch attributed to the love and care of his faithful friend Remas, but which antiquarian truth Severn and Dr. Clarke. Once during has ascribed to the humbler man of his illness he requested that on his Caius Cestius, a tribune of the people grave stone might be this inscription :- only remembered by his sepulchre. In
Here lies one whose name was writ in water; one of those mental voyages into the he also wished that a purse of his sister's past, which often precede death, Keats together with an unopened letter, which had told Severn that “ he thought the he was unable to read, and some hair intensest pleasure he had received in should be placed in his coffin. This life was in watching the growth of flowrequest Severn fulfilled with his own ers;”, and another time, after lying hand. He continued to linger in a awhile still and peaceful, he said, “ I state of extreme suffering and weakness. feel the flowers growing over me.” And The lowering clouds of gloom and there they do grow, even all the winter foreboding which, during the first part long--violets, and daisies, mingling of his illness, hung so heavily and with the fresh herbage, and in the thickly around him, happily passed words of Shelley, making one in love away, and left a beautiful calm of quiet- with death, to think that one should be ness and peace. On the 27th February,
buried in so sweet a place.” 1821, Mr. Severn wrote a letter to a
To the memory of John Keats, Shelley friend,—“He is gone; he died with inscribed his exquisitely beautiful poem, the most perfect ease-he seemed to go
· Adonäis—'truly one of the fairest to sleep. On the 23rd, about four, the monuments ever raised, and the sweetest approaches of death came on. "Severn
tribute of love that has ever been offered -1-lift me up-I am dying-I shall on the altar of departed genius.' And die
easy; don't be frightened-be firm, a few years after this was written, in and thank God it has come.' I lifted the extended burying-ground, a little him up
in my arms. The phlegm seemed above the grave of Keats, was placed boiling in his throat, and increased un- another tombstone, recording that below til eleven, when he gradually sunk into rested the passionate and world-worn death, so quiet that I still thought he slept. heart of Shelley himself-“Cor Cordium." I cannot say more now. I am broken
P. B. S. down by four nights watching, no sleep
ANDREW MARVELL. There are times in the histories of all well as upon the earth. The sun of nations which are strangely productive knowledge and the dews of faith soften of great minds. After a long dark win- the clods and warm them into life, and ter of sluggish inactivity, a spring time then the seeds which have been dropped comes upon the mind of the world as on the soil of humanity begin to ger
minate and prepare to put forth their providential government of the world, harvest. Such a period in the history note its workings in this, that a crisis of England was that which preceeded brings the men fitted to meet it; close the Commonwealth. Up to the reign upon the heels of the danger ever of the eighth Henry, superstition had follows the means of safety. If it were dominated over art, set limits to science, our task to trace the progress of confined intellect within a narrow cir- humanity, we might show how, with cle, and banned free thought. The the spirit of enquiry which marked the world's heart and brain were as though era of the Reformation, came intelthey were dead, so faint was the action lectual power from which rose Shakesof one, under the shadow of the hood pere and his contemporaries, and how of the monk—so faint the pulsation of the two blended to produce the pure, the other beneath its ecclesiastical earnest, unwavering, stern faith of the shroud.
Philosophers were fain to puritans. But that is not our purpose. hide their lore within the recesses of We may only so far touch history as to their studies, for fear that it might observe the general circumstances which offend the dogmas of the Church—and preceeded and accompanied partimen spake of the thoughts which began cular life-only so far indulge in specuto beam in upon their souls as though lation as to trace the connection of the
uth were a crime. But there were wide-spread cause with the one effect men who, like Galileo, spake with the which forms our subject. That we voices which echoed to them out of the have attempted to do as briefly as may recesses of nature, and braved the dun-be; and now to the matter in hand. geon—there were martyrs who like the At the town of Kingston-on-Hull, Lollards, proclaimed the faith which where the broad Humber floats between was in them, and dared the stake and verdant banks to the sea, stands a mothe flame. The first blow at a system nument bearing the following inscripthoroughly rotten, seals its fate. Its tion : "Near this place lyeth the body end may be delayed or put off—but of Andrew Marvell, Esq., a man so from that moment it is written on the endowed by nature, so improved by page of the future, for
education, study, and travel, so consumFreedom's battle once begun,
mated by experience, that joining the Bequeathed from bleeding sire to son, peculiar graces of wit and learning with Though baffled oft, is ever won.
a singular penetration and strength of Human thought often errs, but it has judgment; and exercising all these in this godlike quality, that in the end it the whole course of his life with an unutalways tends to the right. Keep it terable steadiness in the ways of virtue, still, silent, immovable-shut it in an he became the ornament and example exhausted receiver from which the air of his age, beloved by good men, feared of knowledge is thoroughly excluded, by bad, admired by all, though imitated it will remain latent—let but a breath by few, and scarce paralleled by any. enter its prison-house, and it begins to But a tombstone can neither contain wake—it ceases to be compressible—it his character, nor is marble necessary to grows, and puts a firm grasp on power. transmit it to posterity ; it is engraved It is a beautiful story, that in the Ara in the minds of this generation, and bian Nights' Tales where the fisherman will always be legible in his inimitdraws up in his net the vessel sealed able writings, nevertheless. He having with the magic signet of Solomon. served twenty years in Parliament, and When he opened it there arose from it that with such wisdom, dexterity, and a cloud—that cloud became a giant courage, as becomes a true patriot, the threatening him with destruction. That town of Kingston-upon-Hull, from is how thought was imprisoned; but whence he was deputed to that assemwhen once the seal was off its prison- bly, lamenting in his death the public house, it grew so rapidly that it was loss, have erected this monument of beyond the power of man to force it back their grief and their gratitude, 1688." into the narrow cell from which it bad It has been observed by a satirist, emerged.
that if the testimony of tombstones is It has been said that great men to be taken, the living have sadly degemake great times. Invert the sentence nerated from the virtues of the dead. and it is still true-great times make Monuments are so infected with the great men. Those who recognise the vice of flattery, that monumental in