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There he arriving round about doth flie,
No. XLIV.-WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 9th, 1820.
THE STORIES OF LAMIA, THE POT OF BASIL, THE EVE OF
ST. AGNES, &c. AS TOLD BY MR. KEATS.
(CONTINUED FROM LAST WEEK.) I As a specimen of the Poems, which are all lyrical, we must indulge ourselves in quoting entire the Ode to a Nightingale. There is that mixture in it of real melancholy and imaginative relief, which poetry alone presents us in her “charmed cup," and which some over-rational critics have undertaken to find wrong because it is not true. It does not follow that what is not true to them, is not true to others. If the relief is real, the mixture is good and sufficing. A poet finds refreshment in his imaginary wine, as other men do in their real; nor hare we the least doubt, that Milton found his grief for the loss of his friend King, more solaced by the allegorical recollections of Lycidas, (which were exercises of his mind, and recollections of a friend who would have admired them) than if he could have anticipated Dr. Johnson's objections, and mourned in nothing but broadcloth and matter of fact.
He yearned after the poetical as well as social part of his friend's nature; and had as much right to fancy it straying in the wilds and oceans of romance, where it had strayed, as in the avenues of Christ's College where his body had walked. In the same spirit the imagination of Mr. Keats betakes itself, like it 10 the same spirit
wind, listeth,” and is as truly there, as if his feet could follow it. The poem will be the more striking to the reader, when he understands what we take a friend's liberty in telling him, that the author's powerful mind has for some time past been inhabiting a sickened and shaken body, and that in the mean while it has had to contend with feelings that make a fine nature ache fór its species, even when it would disdain to do so for itself;--we mean, critical malignity,--that unhappy envy, which would wreak its own tortures upon others, especially upon those that really feel for it already.
categy boilt My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk: status I
€! In some melodious plot
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been
Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirtli!
And purple-stained mouth;
And with thee fade away into the forest dim:
What thou among the leaves brast never known,
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,
Through verdurous glooms and winding mousy ways.
Nor what soft inceuse bangs upon the bouglis,
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
And mid-May's eldest child,
The murmurous haunt of fies on summer eves.
Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
Callid him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
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:
The same that oft-times hath
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
vidji Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
As she is fam’d to do, deceiving elf.
In the next valley-glades:
Fled is that music:-Do I wake or sleep? .... The Hyperion is a fragment,--a gigantic one, like a ruin in the desart, or the bones of the mastodon. It is truly of a piece with its subject, which is the downfall of the elder gods. It opens with Saturn, dethroned, sitting in a deep and solitary valley, benumbed in spite of his huge powers with the amazement of the change.
But where the dead leaf fell, there did it rest.
A stream went voiceless by, still deadened more
Along the margin-sand large foot-marks weni,
It seem'd no force could wake him from his place
By degrees, the Titans meet in one spot, to consult how they may regain their lost empire; but Clymene the gentlest, and Oceanus the most reflective of those earlier deities, tell them that it is irrecoverable. A very grand and deep-thoughted cause is assigned for this by the
latter. Intellect, he gives them to understand, was inevitably displacing a more brute power.
Great Saturn, thou
So thou art not the last; it cannot be: notte Thou art not the beginning nor the end. Bei uns
Now comes the pain of truth, to whom 'uis pain;
O folly! for to bear all naked truths,
That is the top of sovereignty. Mark well!
In glory that old Darkness. The more imaginative parts of the poem are worthy of this sublime moral. Hyperion, the God of the Sun, is the last to give way; but horror begins to visit his old beautitude with new and dread sensations. The living beauty of his palace, whose portals open like a rose, the awful phænomena that announce a change in heaven, and his inability to bid the day break as he was accustomed, -all this part, in short, which is the core and inner diamond of the poem, we must enjoy with the reader.
His palace bright
Hyperion, leaving twilight in the rear,
To this result: “ O dreams of day and night!
Why do I know ye? why have I seen ye? wliy Is my eternal essence thus distraught “ To see and to behold these horrors new? “ Saturn is fallen, am I too to fall? " Am I to leave this haven of my rest, " This cradle of my glory, this soft clime, “ This calm luxuriance of blissful light, “ These crystalline pavilions, and pure lanes, “Of all my lucent empire ? It is left “ Deserted, void, nor any haunt of mine. “ The blaze, the splendor, and the symmetry,
I cannot see-but darkness, dearh and darkness, “ Even here, into my centre of
repose, • The shady visions come to domineer, 6 Josult, and blind, and stifle up my pomp. “ Fall!-No, by Tellus and her briny robes ! 66 Over the fiery frontier of realms " I will advance a terrible right arm
Shall scarce that infant thunderer, rebel Jove, " And bid
id old Saturn take his throne amainimi He spake, and ceas'd, the while a liea vier tlireat Held struggle with his throat but carne not forth'; in For as in theatres of crowded men Hubbub increases more they call out “Iluslı!" So at Hyperion's words the Phantoms pale Bestirr'd themselves, thrice horrible and cold; And from the mirror'd level where he stood A mist arose, as from a scummy marshi. At this, through all his bulk an agony Crept gradual, from the feet unto the crown, Like a lithe serpent vast and muscular Making slow way, with head and neck convalsd From over-strained might. Releas’d, he fied To the eastern gates, and full six dewy hours Before the dawn in season due should blush, He breath'd fierce breathi against the sleepy portals, Clear'd then of heavy vapours, burst them wide