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This sonnet was prefixed to Keats's first volume. "On the evening the last proof-sheet was brought from the printer," writes Mr. Cowden Clarke, "it was accompanied by the information that if a dedication was intended, it must be sent forthwith. Whereupon Keats withdrew to a side table, and, amid the buzz of a mixed conversation, he composed this sonnet, and sent it to Charles Ollier for publication."
LORY and Loveliness have pass'd away;
Into the east to meet the smiling day:
In woven baskets bringing ears of corn,
HIS pleasant tale is like a little copse:
To keep the reader in so sweet a place, So that he here and there full-hearted stops;
And oftentimes he feels the dewy drops
Meekly upon the grass, as those whose sobbings Were heard of none beside the mournful robins. 1817
ON A PICTURE OF LEANDER.
OME hither, all sweet maidens soberly, Down-looking aye, and with a chasten'd light
Hid in the fringes of your eyelids white,
Untouch'd, a victim of your beauty bright,
Mr. Clarke had fallen asleep over the book, and on waking, found it on his lap with this addition.
Sinking bewilder'd 'mid the dreary sea:
ON THE SEA.
T keeps eternal whisperings around Desolate shores, and with its mighty swell
Gluts twice ten thousand caverns, till the spell
Of Hecate leaves them their old shadowy sound. Often 'tis in such gentle temper found,
That scarcely will the very smallest shell
Be moved for days from whence it sometime fell, When last the winds of heaven were unbound. Oh ye! who have your eye-balls vex'd and tired, Feast them upon the wideness of the Sea; Oh ye! whose ears are dinn'd with uproar rude, Or fed too much with cloying melody,—
Sit ye near some old cavern's mouth, and brood Until ye start, as if the sea-nymphs quired!
A POETIC ROMANCE
INSCRIBED TO THE MEMORY OF
"The stretched metre of an antique song."
THINK it well to insert the first Pre
face to "Endymion,"
markable letter Keats addressed to Mr. Reynolds in answer to his disapproval and objections. Many as were the intellectual obligations the poet owed to this friend, the suppression of this faulty composition was perhaps the greatest.
In a great nation, the work of an individual is of so little importance; his pleadings and excuses are so uninteresting; his way of life' such a nothing, that a Preface seems a sort of impertinent bow to strangers who care nothing about it.
"A Preface, however, should be down in so many words; and such a one that by an eye-glance over the type the Reader may catch an idea of an Author's modesty, and non-opinion of himself— which I sincerely hope may be seen in the few lines I have to write, notwithstanding many proverbs of many ages old which men find a great pleasure in receiving as gospel.
"About a twelvemonth since, I published & little book of verses; it was read by some dozen