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A Collection of Short Poems and Sonnets by John Keats

Below you'll find a variety of shorter poems and sonnets by John Keats.

To see all available titles by other authors, drop by our index of free books alphabetized by author or arranged alphabetically by title.



Potential uses for the free books, stories and prose we offer
* Rediscovering an old favorite book, poem or story.
* Bibliophiles expanding their collection of public domain eBooks at no cost.
* Teachers trying to locate a free online copy of a classic poem or short story for use in the classroom.

NOTE: We try to present these classic poetic works as they originally appeared in print. As such, they sometimes contain adult themes, offensive language, typographical errors, and often utilize unconventional, older, obsolete or intentionally incorrect spelling and/or punctuation conventions.


"After dark vapours have oppressed our plains"

AFTER DARK VAPOURS HAVE OPPRESSED OUR PLAINS

BY JOHN KEATS

After dark vapours have oppressed our plains
For a long dreary season, comes a day
Born of the gentle South, and clears away
From the sick heavens all unseemly stains.
The anxious month, relieved of its pains,
Takes as a long-lost right the feel of May;
The eyelids with the passing coolness play,
Like rose leaves with the drip of summer rains.
And calmest thoughts come round us -- as of leaves
Budding -- fruit ripening in stillness -- autumn suns
Smiling at eve upon the quiet sheaves --
Sweet Sappho's cheek -- a smiling infant's breath --
The gradual sand that through an hour-glass runs --
A woodland rivulet -- a Poet's death.


"Answer to a Sonnet by J. H. Reynolds"

ANSWER TO A SONNET BY J. H. REYNOLDS, ENDING --

'Dark eyes are dearer far
Than those that mock the hyacinthine bell'


BLUE! 'Tis the life of heaven, -- the domain
Of Cynthia, the wide palace of the sun, --
The tent of Hesperus, and all his train, --
The bosomer of clouds, gold, grey and dun.
Blue! 'Tis the life of waters: Ocean
And all its vassal streams: pools numberless,
May rage, and foam, and fret, but never can
Subside, if not to dark-blue nativeness.
Blue! Gentle cousin of the forest-green,
Married to green in all the sweetest flowers, --
Forget-me-not, the Blue bell, and, that Queen
Of secrecy, the Violet: what strange powers
Hast thou, as a mere shadow! But how great,
When in an Eye thou art, alive with fate!


"As from the darkening gloom"

AS FROM THE DARKENING GLOOM

BY JOHN KEATS

As from the darkening gloom a silver dove
Upsoars, and darts into the Eastern light,
On pinions that naught moves but pure delight,
So fled thy soul into the realms above,
Regions of peace and everlasting love;
Where happy spirits, crowned with circlets bright
Of starry beam, and gloriously bedight,
Taste the high joy none but the blest can prove.
There thou or joinest the immortal quire
In melodies that even Heaven fair
Fill with superior bliss, or, at desire
Of the omnipotent Father, cleavest the air
On holy message sent -- What pleasures higher?
Wherefore does any grief our joy impair?


"Bright Star, would I were stedfast as thou art"

BRIGHT STAR, WOULD I WERE STEDFAST AS THOU ART

BY JOHN KEATS

Bright Star! would I were stedfast as thou art --
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors.
No -- yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever -- or else swoon to death.


"The Dove" by John Keats

THE DOVE

BY JOHN KEATS

I had a dove, and the sweet dove died;
And I have thought it died of grieving;
O, what could it grieve for? Its feet were tied
With a silken thread of my own hand's weaving;

Sweet little red feet, why should you die?
Why should you leave me, sweet bird! why?
You lived alone in the forest tree,
Why, pretty thing! would you not live with me?
I kissed you oft and gave you white peas;
Why not live sweetly, as in the green trees?


"Happy is England!" by John Keats

HAPPY IS ENGLAND!

BY JOHN KEATS

Happy is England! I could be content
To see no other verdure than its own;
To feel no other breezes than are blown
Through its tall woods with high romances blent;
Yet do I sometimes feel a languishment
For skies Italian, and an inward groan
To sit upon an Alp as on a throne,
And half forget what world or worldling meant.
Happy is England, sweet her artless daughters;
Enough their simple loveliness for me,
Enough their whitest arms in silence clinging:
Yet do I often warmly burn to see
Beauties of deeper glance, and hear their singing,
And float with them about the summer waters.


"The Human Seasons" by John Keats

THE HUMAN SEASONS

BY JOHN KEATS

Four Seasons fill the measure of the year;
There are four seasons in the mind of man:
He has his lusty Spring, when fancy clear
Takes in all beauty with an easy span:
He has his Summer, when luxuriously
Spring's honey'd cud of youthful thought he loves
To ruminate, and by such dreaming high
Is nearest unto Heaven: quiet coves
His soul has in its Autumn, when his wings
He furleth close; contented so to look
On mists in idleness -- to let fair things
Pass by unheeded as a threshold brook.
He has his Winter too of pale misfeature,
Or else he would forego his mortal nature.


"Modern Love"

MODERN LOVE

BY JOHN KEATS

And what is love? It is a doll dress'd up
For idleness to cosset, nurse, and dandle;
A thing of soft misnomers, so divine
That silly youth doth think to make itself
Divine by loving, and so goes on
Yawning and doting a whole summer long,
Till Miss's comb is made a pearl tiara,
And common Wellingtons turn Romeo boots;
Then Cleopatra lives at number seven,
And Antony resides in Brunswick Square.
Fools! if some passions high have warm'd the world,
If Queens and Soldiers have play'd deep for hearts,
It is no reason why such agonies
Should be more common than the growth of weeds.
Fools! make me whole again that weighty pearl
The Queen of Egypt melted, and I'll say
That ye may love in spite of beaver hats.


"O! how I love, on a fair summer's eve"
0
O! HOW I LOVE, ON A FAIR SUMMER'S EVE

BY JOHN KEATS

O! how I love, on a fair summer's eve,
When streams of light pour down the golden west,
And on the balmy zephyrs tranquil rest
The silver clouds, far -- far away to leave
All meaner thoughts, and take a sweet reprieve.
From little cares; to find, with easy quest,
A fragrant wild, with Nature's beauty dressed,
And there into delight my soul deceive.
There warm my breast with patriotic lore,
Musing on Milton's fate -- on Sydney's bier --
Till their stern forms before my mind arise:
Perhaps on the wing of Poesy upsoar,
Full often dropping a delicious tear,
When some melodious sorrow spells mine eyes.


"O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell"
1
O SOLITUDE! IF I MUST WITH THEE DWELL

BY JOHN KEATS

O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell,
Let it not be among the jumbled heap
Of murky buildings: climb with me the steep, --
Nature's observatory -- whence the dell,
Its flowery slopes, its river's crystal swell,
May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep
'Mongst boughs pavillion'd, where the deer's swift leap
Startles the wild bee from the fox-glove bell.
But though I'll gladly trace these scenes with thee,
Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind,
Whose words are images of thoughts refined,
Is my soul's pleasure; and it sure must be
Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,
When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee.


"Of late two dainties were before me plac'd"
2
OF LATE TWO DAINTIES WERE BEFORE ME PLAC'D

BY JOHN KEATS

Of late two dainties were before me plac'd
Sweet, holy, pure, sacred and innocent,
From the ninth sphere to me benignly sent
That Gods might know my own particular taste:
First the soft Bag-pipe mourn'd with zealous haste,
The Stranger next with head on bosom bent
Sigh'd; rueful again the piteous Bag-pipe went,
Again the Stranger sighings fresh did waste.
O Bag-pipe thou didst steal my heart away --
O Stranger thou my nerves from Pipe didst charm --
O Bagpipe thou didst re-assert thy sway --
Again thou Stranger gav'st me fresh alarm --
Alas! I could not choose. Ah! my poor heart,
Mum chance art thou with both oblig'd to part.


"On first looking into Chapman's Homer"
3
ON FIRST LOOKING INTO CHAPMAN'S HOMER

BY JOHN KEATS

Much have I travell'd in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told,
That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacific -- and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise --
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.


"On leaving some Friends at an Early Hour"
4
ON LEAVING SOME FRIENDS AT AN EARLY HOUR

BY JOHN KEATS

Give me a golden pen, and let me lean
On heap'd-up flowers, in regions clear, and far;
Bring me a tablet whiter than a star,
Or hand of hymning angel, when 'tis seen
The silver strings of heavenly harp atween:
And let there glide by many a pearly car,
Pink robes, and wavy hair, and diamond jar,
And half-discover'd wings, and glances keen.
The while let music wander round my ears.
And as it reaches each delicious ending,
Let me write down a line of glorious tone,
And full of many wonders of the spheres:
For what a height my spirit is contending!
'Tis not content so soon to be alone.


"On Leigh Hunt's 'The Story of Rimini'"
5
ON LEIGH HUNT'S "THE STORY OF RIMINI"

BY JOHN KEATS

Who loves to peer up at the morning sun,
With half-shut eyes and comfortable cheek,
Let him, with this sweet tale, full often seek
For meadows where the little rivers run;
Who loves to linger with that brightest one
Of Heaven -- Hesperus -- let him lowly speak
These numbers to the night, and starlight meek,
Or moon, if that her hunting be begun.
He who knows these delights, and too is prone
To moralize upon a smile or tear,
Will find at once a region of his own,
A bower for his spirit, and will steer
To alleys, where the fir-tree drops its cone,
Where robins hop, and fallen leaves are sear.


"On Peace" by John Keats
6
ON PEACE

BY JOHN KEATS

O PEACE! and dost thou with thy presence bless
The dwellings of this war-surrounded isle;
Soothing with placid brow our late distress,
Making the triple kingdom brightly smile?
Joyful I hail thy presence; and I hail
The sweet companions that await on thee;
Complete my joy -- let not my first wish fail,
Let the sweet mountain nymph thy favourite be,
With England's happiness proclaim Europa's liberty.
O Europe! let not sceptred tyrants see
That thou must shelter in thy former state;
Keep thy chains burst, and boldly say thou art free;
Give thy kings law -- leave not uncurbed the great;
So with the horrors past thou'lt win thy happier fate!


"On receiving a Laurel Crown from Leigh Hunt"
7
ON RECEIVING A LAUREL CROWN FROM LEIGH HUNT

BY JOHN KEATS

Minutes are flying swiftly, and as yet
Nothing unearthly has enticed my brain
Into a delphic labyrinth -- I would fain
Catch an immortal thought to pay the debt
I owe to the kind Poet who has set
Upon my ambitious head a glorious gain.
Two bending laurel sprigs -- 'tis nearly pain
To be conscious of such a Coronet.
Still time is fleeting, and no dream arises
Gorgeous as I would have it -- only I see
A trampling down of what the world most prizes,
Turbans and Crowns, and blank regality;
And then I run into most wild surmises
Of all the many glories that may be.


"On Seeing the Elgin Marbles"
8
ON SEEING THE ELGIN MARBLES

BY JOHN KEATS

My spirit is too weak -- mortality
Weighs heavily on me like unwilling sleep,
And each imagined pinnacle and steep
Of godlike hardship, tells me I must die
Like a sick eagle looking at the sky.
Yet 'tis a gentle luxury to weep
That I have not the cloudy winds to keep,
Fresh for the opening of the morning's eye.
Such dim-conceived glories of the brain
Bring round the heart an undescribable feud;
So do these wonders a most dizzy pain,
That mingles Grecian grandeur with the rude
Wasting of old time -- with a billowy main --
A sun -- a shadow of a magnitude.


"On sitting down to read 'King Lear' once again"
9
ON SITTING DOWN TO READ "KING LEAR" ONCE AGAIN

BY JOHN KEATS

O golden-tongued Romance, with serene lute!
Fair plumed Syren! Queen of far-away!
Leave melodizing on this wintry day,
Shut up thine olden pages, and be mute.
Adieu! for once again, the fierce dispute
Betwixt damnation and impassion'd clay
Must I burn through; once more humbly assay
The bitter-sweet of this Shakespearian fruit.
Chief Poet! and ye clouds of Albion,
Begetters of our deep eternal theme!
When through the old oak forest I am gone,
Let me not wander in a barren dream,
But when I am consumed in the fire,
Give me new Phoenix wings to fly at my desire.


"On the Grasshopper and Cricket"
0
ON THE GRASSHOPPER AND CRICKET

BY JOHN KEATS

The poetry of earth is never dead:
When all the birds are faint with the hot sun,
And hide in cooling trees, a voice will run
From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead.
That is the Grasshopper's -- he takes the lead
In summer luxury, -- he has never done
With his delights; for when tired out with fun,
He rests at ease beneath some pleasant weed.
The poetry of earth is ceasing never:
On a lone winter evening, when the frost
Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills
The Cricket's song, in warmth increasing ever,
And seems to one in drowsiness half lost,
The Grasshopper's among some grassy hills.


"On the sea" by John Keats
1
ON THE SEA

BY JOHN KEATS

It 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.
O ye who have your eyeballs vex'd and tir'd,
Feast them upon the wideness of the sea;
O ye whose ears are dinned 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!


"On Visiting the Tomb of Burns"
2
ON VISITING THE TOMB OF BURNS

BY JOHN KEATS

The town, the churchyard, and the setting sun,
The clouds, the trees, the rounded hills all seem
Though beautiful, cold -- strange -- as in a dream,
I dreamed long ago. Now new begun,
The short-lived, paly summer is but won
From winter's ague for one hour's gleam;
Though sapphire-warm their stars do never beam;
All is cold beauty; pain is never done
For who has mind to relish, Minos-wise,
The real of beauty, free from that dead hue
Fickly imagination and sick pride
Cast wan upon it! Burns! with honour due
I have oft honoured thee. Great shadow, hide
Thy face, I sin against thy native skies.


"Read me a lesson, Muse, and speak it loud"
3
READ ME A LESSON, MUSE, AND SPEAK IT LOUD

BY JOHN KEATS

Read me a lesson, Muse, and speak it loud
Upon the top of Nevis, blind in mist!
I look into the chasms, and a shroud
Vapourous doth hide them; just so much I wist
Mankind do know of hell. I look o'erhead,
And there is sullen mist; even so much
Mankind can tell of Heaven. Mist is spread
Before the earth beneath me; even such,
Even so vague is man's sight of himself.
Here are the craggy stones beneath my feet --
Thus much I know, that, a poor witless elf,
I tread on them, that all my eye doth meet
Is mist and crag, not only on this height,
But in the world of thought and mental might.


"Sonnet written in the cottage where Burns was born"
4
SONNET WRITTEN IN THE COTTAGE WHERE BURNS WAS BORN

BY JOHN KEATS

This mortal body of a thousand days
Now fills, O Burns, a space in thine own room,
Where thou didst dream alone on budded bays,
Happy and thoughtless of thy day of doom!
My pulse is warm with thine own Barley-bree,
My head is light with pledging a great soul,
My eyes are wandering, and I cannot see,
Fancy is dead, and drunken at its goal;
Yet can I stamp my foot upon thy floor,
Yet can I ope thy window-sash to find
The meadow thou hast tramped o'er and o'er, --
Yet can I think of thee till thought is blind, --
Yet can I gulp a bumper to thy name, --
O smile among the shades, for this is fame!


"Spenser! a jealous honourer of thine"
5
SPENSER! A JEALOUS HONOURER OF THINE

BY JOHN KEATS

SPENSER! a jealous honourer of thine,
A forester deep in thy midmost trees,
Did last eve ask my promise to refine
Some English that might strive thine ear to please.
But, Elfin Poet, 'tis impossible
For an inhabitant of wintry earth
To rise like Phoebus with a golden quell,
Fire-winged, and make a morning in his mirth.
It is impossible to escape from toil
O' the sudden and receive thy spiriting:
The flower must drink the nature of the soil
Before it can put forth its blossoming.
Be with me in the summer days and I
Will for thine honour and his pleasure try.


"Sweet, sweet is the greeting of eyes"
6
SWEET, SWEET IS THE GREETING OF EYES

BY JOHN KEATS

Sweet, sweet is the greeting of eyes,
And sweet is the voice in its greeting,
When adieus have grown old and goodbyes
Fade away where old time is retreating.

Warm the nerve of a welcoming hand,
And earnest a kiss on the brow,
When we meet over sea and o'er land
Where furrows are new to the plough.


"This living hand, now warm and capable"
7
THIS LIVING HAND, NOW WARM AND CAPABLE

BY JOHN KEATS

This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou would[st] wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calm'd -- see here it is --
I hold it towards you.


"To a Cat" by John Keats
8
TO A CAT

BY JOHN KEATS

CAT! who hast pass'd thy grand climacteric,
How many mice and rats hast in thy days
Destroy'd? How many tit bits stolen? Gaze
With those bright languid segments green, and prick
Those velvet ears -- but pr'ythee do not stick
Thy latent talons in me -- and upraise
Thy gentle mew -- and tell me all thy frays
Of fish and mice, and rats and tender chick.
Nay, look not down, nor lick thy dainty wrists --
For all the wheezy asthma, and for all
Thy tail's tip is nick'd off -- and though the fists
Of many a maid have given thee many a maul,
Still is that fur as soft as when the lists
In youth thou enter'dst on glass-bottled wall.


"To a Friend who sent me some Roses"
9
TO A FRIEND WHO SENT ME SOME ROSES

BY JOHN KEATS

As late I rambled in the happy fields,
What time the skylark shakes the tremulous dew
From his lush clover covert; -- when anew
Adventurous knights take up their dinted shields;
I saw the sweetest flower wild nature yields,
A fresh-blown musk-rose: 'twas the first that threw
Its sweets upon the summer: graceful it grew
As is the wand that queen Titania wields.
And, as I feasted on its fragrancy,
I thought the garden-rose it far excell'd:
But when, O Wells! thy roses came to me,
My sense with their deliciousness was spell'd:
Soft voices had they, that with tender plea
Whisper'd of peace, and truth, and friendliness unquell'd.


"To a Lady seen for a few Moments at Vauxhall"
0
TO A LADY SEEN FOR A FEW MOMENTS AT VAUXHALL

BY JOHN KEATS

Time's sea hath been five years at its slow ebb,
Long hours have to and fro let creep the sand,
Since I was tangled in thy beauty's web,
And snared by the ungloving of thine hand.
And yet I never look on midnight sky,
But I behold thine eyes' well-memory'd light;
I cannot look upon the rose's dye,
But to thy cheek my soul doth take its flight.
I cannot look on any budding flower,
But my fond ear, in fancy at thy lips
And hearkening for a love-sound, doth devour
Its sweets in the wrong sense. Thou dost eclipse
Every delight with sweet remembering,
And grief unto my darling joys dost bring.


98
"To Ailsa Rock" by John Keats
1
TO AILSA ROCK

BY JOHN KEATS

Hearken, thou craggy ocean pyramid!
Give answer by thy voice, the sea-fowls' screams!
When were thy shoulders mantled in huge streams?
When, from the sun, was thy broad forehead hid?
How long is't since the mighty power bid
Thee heave to airy sleep from fathom dreams?
Sleep in the lap of thunder or sunbeams,
Or when grey clouds are thy cold coverlid.
Thou answer'st not; for thou art dead asleep.
Thy life is but two dead eternities --
The last in air, the former in the deep,
First with the whales, last with the eagle-skies.
Drowned wast thou till an earthquake made thee steep,
Another cannot wake thy giant size!


"To Chatterton" by John Keats
2
TO CHATTERTON

BY JOHN KEATS

O CHATTERTON! how very sad thy fate!
Dear child of sorrow -- son of misery!
How soon the film of death obscured that eye,
Whence Genius wildly flashed, and high debate.
How soon that voice, majestic and elate,
Melted in dying murmurs! Oh! how nigh
Was night to thy fair morning. Thou didst die
A half-blown flower which cold blasts amate.
But this is past: thou art among the stars
Of highest Heaven: to the rolling spheres
Thou sweetly singest: naught thy hymning mars,
Above the ingrate world and human fears.
On earth the good man base detraction bars
From thy fair name, and waters it with tears.


"To Fanny" by John Keats
3
TO FANNY

BY JOHN KEATS

I cry your mercy -- pity -- love! -- aye, love!
Merciful love that tantalizes not,
One-thoughted, never-wandering, guileless love,
Unmask'd, and being seen -- without a blot!
O! let me have thee whole, -- all -- all -- be mine!
That shape, that fairness, that sweet minor zest
Of love, your kiss, -- those hands, those eyes divine,
That warm, white, lucent, million-pleasured breast, --
Yourself -- your soul -- in pity give me all,
Withhold no atom's atom or I die,
Or living on, perhaps, your wretched thrall,
Forget, in the mist of idle misery,
Life's purposes, -- the palate of my mind
Losing its gust, and my ambition blind!


"To G. A. W." by John Keats
4
TO G. A. W.

BY JOHN KEATS

Nymph of the downward smile and sidelong glance,
In what diviner moments of the day
Art thou most lovely? When gone far astray
Into the labyrinths of sweet utterance?
Or when serenely wandering in a trance
Of sober thought? Or when starting away,
With careless robe, to meet the morning ray,
Thou spar'st the flowers in thy mazy dance?
Haply 'tis when thy ruby lips part sweetly,
And so remain, because thou listenest:
But thou to please were nurtured so completely
That I can never tell what mood is best.
I shall as soon pronounce which grace more neatly
Trips it before Apollo than the rest.


"To Homer" by John Keats
5
TO HOMER

BY JOHN KEATS

Standing aloof in giant ignorance,
Of thee I hear and of the Cyclades,
As one who sits ashore and longs perchance
To visit dolphin-coral in deep seas.
So thou wast blind! -- but then the veil was rent,
For Jove uncurtain'd Heaven to let thee live,
And Neptune made for thee a spumy tent,
And Pan made sing for thee his forest-hive;
Aye, on the shores of darkness there is light,
And precipices show untrodden green;
There is a budding morrow in midnight,
There is a triple sight in blindness keen;
Such seeing hadst thou, as it once befell,
To Dian, Queen of Earth, and Heaven, and Hell.


"To J. R." by John Keats
6

BY JOHN KEATS

O that a week could be an age, and we
Felt parting and warm meeting every week,
Then one poor year a thousand years would be,
The flush of welcome ever on the cheek:
So could we live long life in little space,
So time itself would be annihilate,
So a day's journey in oblivious haze
To serve our joys would lengthen and dilate.
O to arrive each Monday morn from Ind!
To land each Tuesday from the rich Levant!
In little time a host of joys to bind,
And keep our souls in one eternal pant!
This morn, my friend, and yester-evening taught
Me how to harbour such a happy thought.


"To Lord Byron" by John Keats
7
TO LORD BYRON

BY JOHN KEATS

BYRON! how sweetly sad thy melody!
Attuning still the soul to tenderness,
As if soft Pity, with unusual stress,
Had touched her plaintive lute, and thou, being by,
Hadst caught the tones, nor suffered them to die.
O'ershading sorrow doth not make thee less
Delightful: thou thy griefs dost dress
With a bright halo, shining beamily,
As when a cloud a golden moon doth veil,
Its sides are tinged with a resplendent glow,
Through the dark robe oft amber rays prevail,
And like fair veins in sable marble flow;
Still warble, dying swan! still tell the tale,
The enchanting tale, the tale of pleasing woe.


"To my Brother George" by John Keats
8
TO MY BROTHER GEORGE

BY JOHN KEATS

Many the wonders I this day have seen:
The sun, when first he kist away the tears
That fill'd the eyes of morn; -- the laurel'd peers
Who from the feathery gold of evening lean; --
The ocean with its vastness, its blue green,
Its ships, its rocks, its caves, its hopes, its fears,
Its voice mysterious, which whoso hears
Must think on what will be, and what has been.
E'en now, dear George, while this for you I write,
Cynthia is from her silken curtains peeping
So scantly, that it seems her bridal night,
And she her half-discover'd revels keeping.
But what, without the social thought of thee,
Would be the wonders of the sky and sea?


"To my Brothers" by John Keats
9
TO MY BROTHERS

BY JOHN KEATS

Small, busy flames play through the fresh-laid coals,
And their faint cracklings o'er our silence creep
Like whispers of the household gods that keep
A gentle empire o'er fraternal souls,
And while, for rhymes, I search around the poles,
Your eyes are fix'd, as in poetic sleep,
Upon the lore so voluble and deep,
That aye at fall of night our care condoles.
This is your birth-day Tom, and I rejoice
That thus it passes smoothly, quietly.
Many such eves of gently whispering noise
May we together pass, and calmly try
What are this world's true joys, -- ere the great voice
From its fair face, shall bid our spirits fly.


"To Sleep" by John Keats
0
TO SLEEP

BY JOHN KEATS

O soft embalmer of the still midnight!
Shutting, with careful fingers and benign,
Our gloom-pleased eyes, embower'd from the light,
Enshaded in forgetfulness divine;
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
In midst of this thine hymn, my willing eyes,
Or wait the "Amen," ere thy poppy throws
Around my bed its lulling charities;
Then save me, or the passed day will shine
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes;
Save me from curious conscience, that still lords
Its strength in darkness, burrowing like a mole;
Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,
And seal the hushed casket of my soul.


"To the Ladies who saw me Crowned"
1
TO THE LADIES WHO SAW ME CROWNED

BY JOHN KEATS

What is there in the universal Earth
More lovely than a wreath from the bay tree?
Haply a halo round the moon -- a glee
Circling from three sweet pair of lips in mirth;
And haply you will say the dewy birth
Of morning roses -- ripplings tenderly
Spread by the halcyon's breath upon the sea --
But these comparisons are nothing worth.
Then is there nothing in the world so fair?
The silvery tears of April? Youth of May?
Or June that breathes out life for butterflies?
No -- none of these can from my favourite bear
Away the palm -- yet shall it ever pay
Due reverence to your most sovereign eyes.


"To the Nile" by John Keats
2
TO THE NILE

BY JOHN KEATS

Son of the old moon-mountains African!
Chief of the Pyramid and Crocodile!
We call thee fruitful, and, that very while,
A desert fills our seeing's inward span;
Nurse of swart nations since the world began,
Art thou so fruitful? or dost thou beguile
Such men to honour thee, who, worn with toil,
Rest for a space 'twixt Cairo and Decan?
O may dark fancies err! they surely do;
'Tis ignorance that makes a barren waste
Of all beyond itself, thou dost bedew
Green rushes like our rivers, and dost taste
The pleasant sun-rise, green isles hast thou too,
And to the sea as happily dost haste.


"Where's the Poet?" by John Keats
3
WHERE'S THE POET?

BY JOHN KEATS

Where's the Poet? show him, show him,
Muses nine, that I may know him!
'Tis the man who with a man
Is an equal, be he King,
Or poorest of the beggar-clan,
Or any other wondrous thing
A man may be 'twixt ape and Plato;
'Tis the man who with a bird,
Wren or Eagle, finds his way to
All its instincts; he hath heard
The Lion's roaring, and can tell
What his horny throat expresseth,
And to him the Tiger's yell
Comes articulate and presseth
On his ear like mother-tongue.


"Why did I laugh tonight?"
4
WHY DID I LAUGH TO-NIGHT?

BY JOHN KEATS

Why did I laugh to-night? No voice will tell:
No God, no demon of severe response,
Deigns to reply from Heaven or from Hell.
Then to my human heart I turn at once.
Heart! thou and I are here, sad and alone;
Say, wherefore did I laugh? O mortal pain!
O darkness! darkness! ever must I moan,
To question Heaven and Hell and Heart in vain!
Why did I laugh? I know this being's lease,
My fancy to its utmost blisses spreads;
Yet would I on this very midnight cease,
And the world's gaudy ensigns see in shreds;
Verse, Fame, and Beauty are intense indeed,
But Death intenser -- Death is life's high meed.


"Women, Wine and Snuff" by John Keats
5
WOMEN, WINE, AND SNUFF

BY JOHN KEATS

Give me women, wine and snuff
Until I cry out, "hold, enough!"
You may do so sans objection
Till the day of resurrection;
For, bless my beard, they aye shall be
My beloved Trinity.


"Written in Disgust of Vulgar Superstition"
6
WRITTEN IN DISGUST OF VULGAR SUPERSTITION

BY JOHN KEATS

The church bells toll a melancholy round,
Calling the people to some other prayers,
Some other gloominess, more dreadful cares,
More hearkening to the sermon's horrid sound.
Surely the mind of man is closely bound
In some blind spell: seeing that each one tears
Himself from fireside joys, and Lydian airs,
And converse high of those with glory crown'd.
Still, still they toll, and I should feel a damp,
A chill as from a tomb, did I not know
That they are dying like an outburnt lamp, --
That 'tis their sighing, wailing ere they go
Into oblivion -- that fresh flowers will grow,
And many glories of immortal stamp.


"Written on the Day that Mr. Leigh Hunt left Prison"
7
WRITTEN ON THE DAY THAT MR. LEIGH HUNT LEFT PRISON

BY JOHN KEATS

What though, for showing truth to flatter'd state,
Kind Hunt was shut in prison, yet has he,
In his immortal spirit, been as free
As the sky-searching lark, and as elate.
Minion of grandeur! think you he did wait?
Think you he nought but prison walls did see,
Till, so unwilling, thou unturn'dst the key?
Ah, no! far happier, nobler was his fate!
In Spenser's halls he stray'd, and bowers fair,
Culling enchanted flowers; and he flew
With daring Milton through the fields of air:
To regions of his own his genius true
Took happy flights. Who shall his fame impair
When thou art dead, and all thy wretched crew?


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