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AFTER-LIFE OF THE POET'S WORKS.
[The following felicitous description is from this unfortunate poet's Epistle to his brother George, written in August, 1816, which appeared in his first volume of poems in 1817. After describing the poet's earthly life and its various experiences, Keats says:]
HESE are the living pleasures of the bard:
But richer far posterity's award.
What does he murmur with his latest breath,
While his proud eye looks through the film of
"What though I leave this dull and earthly mould,
Yet shall my spirit lofty converse hold
With after times. The patriot shall feel
My stern alarum, and unsheath his steel;
Or, in the senate thunder out my numbers
To startle princes from their easy slumbers.
sage will mingle with each moral theme
My happy thoughts sententious; he will teem
With lofty periods when my verses fire him,
And then I'll stoop from heaven to inspire him.
Lays have I left of such a dear delight
That maids will sing them on their bridal night.
Gay villagers, upon a morn of May,
When they have tired their gentle limbs with play,
And formed a snowy circle on the grass,
And placed in midst of all that lovely lass
Who chosen is their queen, with her fine head
Crowned with flowers purple, white, and red:
For there the lily and the musk-rose, sighing
Are emblems true of hapless lovers dying:
Between her breasts, that never yet felt trouble,
A bunch of violets full bloom, and double,
Serenely sleep:-she from a casket takes
A little book, and then a joy awakes
About each youthful heart,--with stifled cries,
And rubbing of white hands, and sparkling eyes:
For she's to read a tale of hopes and fears;
One that I fostered in my youthful years:
The pearls, that on each glist'ning circlet sleep,
Gush ever and anon with silent creep,
Lured by the innocent dimples. To sweet rest
Shall the dear babe, upon it s mother's breast,
Be lulled with songs of mine. Fair world, adieu!
Thy dales, and hills, are fading from my view
Swiftly I mount, upon wide spreading pinions,
Far from the narrow bounds of thy dominions.
Full joy I feel, while thus I cleave the air,
That my soft verse will charm thy daughters fair,
And warm thy sons!"
OU placed this flower in her hand, you say?
This pure, pale rose in her hand of clay?
Methinks could she lift her sealed eyes
They would meet your own with a grieved sur-
She has been your wife for many a year, When clouds hung low and when skies were clear;
At your feet she laid her life's glad spring
And her summer's glorious blossoming.
Her whole heart went with the hand you won;
If its warm love waned as the years went on,
If it chill'd in the grasp of an icy spell,
What was the reason? I pray you tell.
You cannot? I can! and beside her bier
My soul must speak, and your soul must hear;
If she was not all that she might have been,
Hers was the sorrow-yours the sin!
Whose was the fault if she did not grow
Like a rose in the summer? Do you know?
Does a lily grow when its leaves are chilled?
Does it bloom when its root is winter-killed?
For a little while, when you first were wed, Your love was like sunshine around her shed: Then a something crept between you two, You led where she could not follow you.
With a man's firm tread you went, and came;
You lived for wealth, for power, for fame;
Shut into her woman's work and ways,
She heard the nation chant your praise.
But ah! you had dropped her hand the while,
What time had you for a kiss, a smile!
You two, with the same roof overhead,
Were as far apart as the sundered dead!
You in your manhood's strength and prime;
She--worn and faded before her time.
'Tis a common story. This rose you say
You laid in her pallid hand to-day?
When did you give her a flower before?
Ah, well, what matter, when all is o'er?
Yet stay a moment; you'll wed again;
I mean no reproach; 'tis the way of men.
But pray you think, when some fairer face
Shines like a star from her wonted place,
That love will starve if it is not fed,
That true hearts pray for their daily bread.
NIGHTINGALE made a mistake-
She sang a few notes out of tune-
Her heart was ready to break,
And she hid from the moon.
She wrung her claws, poor thing,
But was far too proud to weep;
She tuck'd her head under her wing,
And pretended to be asleep.
A lark, arm-in-arm with a thrush,
Came sauntering up to the place;
The nightingale felt herself blush,
Though feathers hid her face.
She knew they had heard her song,
She felt them snicker and sneer;
She thought that this life was too long,
And wished she could skip a year.
"Oh, nightingale," cooed a dove,
"Oh, nightingale, what's the use?
You, a bird of beauty and love,
Why behave like a goose?