Do U Feel Me Poems From Da Soul
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Winds whose soft-tickling genitals rub against me it shall be you! Broad muscular fields, branches of live oak, loving lounger in my winding paths, it shall be you! Hands I have taken, face I have kiss'd, mortal I have ever touch'd, it shall be you. I cannot tell how my ankles bend, nor whence the cause of my faintest wish,. Nor the cause of the friendship I emit, nor the cause of the friend- ship I take again. A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the meta- physics of books. Hefts of the moving world at innocent gambols silently rising freshly exuding,.
The earth by the sky staid with, the daily close of their junction,.
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We found our own O my soul in the calm and cool of the day- break. With the twirl of my tongue I encompass worlds and volumes of worlds. Come now I will not be tantalized, you conceive too much of articulation,. My knowledge my live parts, it keeping tally with the meaning of all things,. Happiness, which whoever hears me let him or her set out in search of this day. My final merit I refuse you, I refuse putting from me what I really am,. To accrue what I hear into this song, to let sounds contribute toward it.
I hear bravuras of birds, bustle of growing wheat, gossip of flames, clack of sticks cooking my meals,. Sounds of the city and sounds out of the city, sounds of the day and night,. Talkative young ones to those that like them, the loud laugh of work-people at their meals,. The angry base of disjointed friendship, the faint tones of the sick,. The judge with hands tight to the desk, his pallid lips pronoun- cing a death-sentence,. The heave'e'yo of stevedores unlading ships by the wharves, the refrain of the anchor-lifters,. The ring of alarm-bells, the cry of fire, the whirr of swift-streak- ing engines and hose-carts with premonitory tinkles and color'd lights,.
The steam-whistle, the solid roll of the train of approaching cars,. The slow march play'd at the head of the association marching two and two,. They go to guard some corpse, the flag-tops are draped with black muslin. I hear the violoncello, 'tis the young man's heart's complaint,. It wrenches such ardors from me I did not know I possess'd them,. It sails me, I dab with bare feet, they are lick'd by the indolent waves,. Steep'd amid honey'd morphine, my windpipe throttled in fakes of death,. If nothing lay more develop'd the quahaug in its callous shell were enough.
To touch my person to some one else's is about as much as I can stand. My flesh and blood playing out lightning to strike what is hardly different from myself,. Deluding my confusion with the calm of the sunlight and pasture- fields,. They bribed to swap off with touch and go and graze at the edges of me,. I talk wildly, I have lost my wits, I and nobody else am the greatest traitor,. I went myself first to the headland, my own hands carried me there.
You villain touch! Blind loving wrestling touch, sheath'd hooded sharp-tooth'd touch! Sprouts take and accumulate, stand by the curb prolific and vital,. And a summit and flower there is the feeling they have for each other,. And they are to branch boundlessly out of that lesson until it becomes omnific,. I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars,.
And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren,. I find I incorporate gneiss, coal, long-threaded moss, fruits, grains, esculent roots,. In vain the plutonic rocks send their old heat against my approach,. In vain the ocean settling in hollows and the great monsters lying low,. I follow quickly, I ascend to the nest in the fissure of the cliff. I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid and self-contain'd,.
Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of owning things,. Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands of years ago,. They bring me tokens of myself, they evince them plainly in their possession. Picking out here one that I love, and now go with him on brotherly terms. A gigantic beauty of a stallion, fresh and responsive to my caresses,. Eyes full of sparkling wickedness, ears finely cut, flexibly moving.
His well-built limbs tremble with pleasure as we race around and return. And again as I walk'd the beach under the paling stars of the morning. By the city's quadrangular houses—in log huts, camping with lumbermen,. Along the ruts of the turnpike, along the dry gulch and rivulet bed,. Weeding my onion-patch or hoeing rows of carrots and parsnips, crossing savannas, trailing in forests,. Scorch'd ankle-deep by the hot sand, hauling my boat down the shallow river,. Where the panther walks to and fro on a limb overhead, where the buck turns furiously at the hunter,.
Where the rattlesnake suns his flabby length on a rock, where the otter is feeding on fish,. Where the black bear is searching for roots or honey, where the beaver pats the mud with his paddle-shaped tail;. Over the growing sugar, over the yellow-flower'd cotton plant, over the rice in its low moist field,. Over the sharp-peak'd farm house, with its scallop'd scum and slender shoots from the gutters,. Over the western persimmon, over the long-leav'd corn, over the delicate blue-flower flax,. Over the white and brown buckwheat, a hummer and buzzer there with the rest,.
Over the dusky green of the rye as it ripples and shades in the breeze;. Scaling mountains, pulling myself cautiously up, holding on by low scragged limbs,. Walking the path worn in the grass and beat through the leaves of the brush,. Where the bat flies in the Seventh-month eve, where the great gold- bug drops through the dark,. Where the brook puts out of the roots of the old tree and flows to the meadow,. Where cattle stand and shake away flies with the tremulous shud- dering of their hides,.
Where the cheese-cloth hangs in the kitchen, where andirons straddle the hearth-slab, where cobwebs fall in festoons from the rafters;. Where trip-hammers crash, where the press is whirling its cylinders,. Wherever the human heart beats with terrible throes under its ribs,. Where the pear-shaped balloon is floating aloft, floating in it my- self and looking composedly down,.
Where the life-car is drawn on the slip-noose, where the heat hatches pale-green eggs in the dented sand,. Where the fin of the shark cuts like a black chip out of the water,. Where shells grow to her slimy deck, where the dead are corrupt- ing below;. Where the dense-starr'd flag is borne at the head of the regiments,.
Under Niagara, the cataract falling like a veil over my countenance,. Upon the race-course, or enjoying picnics or jigs or a good game of base-ball,. At he-festivals, with blackguard gibes, ironical license, bull-dances, drinking, laughter,. At the cider-mill tasting the sweets of the brown mash, sucking the juice through a straw,.
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At musters, beach-parties, friendly bees, huskings, house-raisings;. Where the mocking-bird sounds his delicious gurgles, cackles, screams, weeps,. Where the hay-rick stands in the barn-yard, where the dry-stalks are scatter'd, where the brood-cow waits in the hovel,. Where the bull advances to do his masculine work, where the stud to the mare, where the cock is treading the hen,. Where the heifers browse, where geese nip their food with short jerks,.
Where sun-down shadows lengthen over the limitless and lonesome prairie,. Where herds of buffalo make a crawling spread of the square miles far and near,. Where the humming-bird shimmers, where the neck of the long- lived swan is curving and winding,. Where the laughing-gull scoots by the shore, where she laughs her near-human laugh,. Where bee-hives range on a gray bench in the garden half hid by the high weeds,. Where band-neck'd partridges roost in a ring on the ground with their heads out,.
Where the yellow-crown'd heron comes to the edge of the marsh at night and feeds upon small crabs,. Where the katy-did works her chromatic reed on the walnut-tree over the well,. Through patches of citrons and cucumbers with silver-wired leaves,. Through the gymnasium, through the curtain'd saloon, through the office or public hall;. Pleas'd with the native and pleas'd with the foreign, pleas'd with the new and old,. Pleas'd with the quakeress as she puts off her bonnet and talks melodiously,. Pleas'd with the earnest words of the sweating Methodist preach- er, impress'd seriously at the camp-meeting;.
Looking in at the shop-windows of Broadway the whole forenoon, flatting the flesh of my nose on the thick plate glass,. Wandering the same afternoon with my face turn'd up to the clouds, or down a lane or along the beach,. My right and left arms round the sides of two friends, and I in the middle;. Coming home with the silent and dark-cheek'd bush-boy, behind me he rides at the drape of the day,. Far from the settlements studying the print of animals' feet, or the moccasin print,.
By the cot in the hospital reaching lemonade to a feverish patient,. Nigh the coffin'd corpse when all is still, examining with a candle;. Solitary at midnight in my back yard, my thoughts gone from me a long while,. Walking the old hills of Judaea with the beautiful gentle God by my side,. Speeding amid the seven satellites and the broad ring, and the diameter of eighty thousand miles,. Carrying the crescent child that carries its own full mother in its belly,. My messengers continually cruise away or bring their returns to me.
I go hunting polar furs and the seal, leaping chasms with a pike- pointed staff, clinging to topples of brittle and blue. Through the clear atmosphere I stretch around on the wonderful beauty,. The enormous masses of ice pass me and I pass them, the scenery is plain in all directions,. The white-topt mountains show in the distance, I fling out my fancies toward them,. We are approaching some great battle-field in which we are soon to be engaged,. We pass the colossal outposts of the encampment, we pass with still feet and caution,. The blocks and fallen architecture more than all the living cities of the globe.
My voice is the wife's voice, the screech by the rail of the stairs,. How the skipper saw the crowded and rudderless wreck of the steam-ship, and Death chasing it up and down the storm,. How he knuckled tight and gave not back an inch, and was faith ful of days and faithful of nights,. And chalk'd in large letters on a board, Be of good cheer, we will not desert you;. How he follow'd with them and tack'd with them three days and would not give it up,.
How the lank loose-gown'd women look'd when boated from the side of their prepared graves,. How the silent old-faced infants and the lifted sick, and the sharp- lipp'd unshaved men;. All this I swallow, it tastes good, I like it well, it becomes mine,. The mother of old, condemn'd for a witch, burnt with dry wood, her children gazing on,. The hounded slave that flags in the race, leans by the fence, blow- ing, cover'd with sweat,. The twinges that sting like needles his legs and neck, the mur- derous buckshot and the bullets,.
Hell and despair are upon me, crack and again crack the marks- men,. I clutch the rails of the fence, my gore dribs, thinn'd with the ooze of my skin,. Taunt my dizzy ears and beat me violently over the head with whip-stocks. I do not ask the wounded person how he feels, I myself become the wounded person,. Heat and smoke I inspired, I heard the yelling shouts of my com- rades,. I lie in the night air in my red shirt, the pervading hush is for my sake,. White and beautiful are the faces around me, the heads are bared of their fire-caps,. They show as the dial or move as the hands of me, I am the clock myself.
The fall of grenades through the rent roof, the fan-shaped explo- sion,. Again gurgles the mouth of my dying general, he furiously waves with his hand,. He gasps through the clot Mind not me—mind—the entrench- ments. Retreating they had form'd in a hollow square with their baggage for breastworks,. Nine hundred lives out of the surrounding enemy's, nine times their number, was the price they took in advance,. They treated for an honorable capitulation, receiv'd writing and seal, gave up their arms and march'd back prisoners of war. The second First-day morning they were brought out in squads and massacred, it was beautiful early summer,.
Some made a mad and helpless rush, some stood stark and straight,.
101 Funeral Poems
A few fell at once, shot in the temple or heart, the living and dead lay together,. The maim'd and mangled dug in the dirt, the new-comers saw hem there,. These were despatch'd with bayonets or batter'd with the blunts of muskets,. A youth not seventeen years old seiz'd his assassin till two more came to release him,. That is the tale of the murder of the four hundred and twelve young men. List to the yarn, as my grandmother's father the sailor told it to me. His was the surly English pluck, and there is no tougher or truer, and never was, and never will be;.
On our lower-gun-deck two large pieces had burst at the first fire, killing all around and blowing up overhead. Ten o'clock at night, the full moon well up, our leaks on the gain, and five feet of water reported,. The master-at-arms loosing the prisoners confined in the after-hold to give them a chance for themselves. The transit to and from the magazine is now stopt by the sentinels,. We have not struck, he composedly cries, we have just begun our part of the fighting. One is directed by the captain himself against the enemy's main- mast,.
Two well serv'd with grape and canister silence his musketry and clear his decks. The tops alone second the fire of this little battery, especially the main-top,. The leaks gain fast on the pumps, the fire eats toward the powder- magazine. One of the pumps has been shot away, it is generally thought we are sinking. Toward twelve there in the beams of the moon they surrender to us. Our vessel riddled and slowly sinking, preparations to pass to the one we have conquer'd,.
The captain on the quarter-deck coldly giving his orders through a countenance white as a sheet,. The dead face of an old salt with long white hair and carefully curl'd whiskers,. The flames spite of all that can be done flickering aloft and below,. Formless stacks of bodies and bodies by themselves, dabs of flesh upon the masts and spars,. Cut of cordage, dangle of rigging, slight shock of the soothe of waves,. Delicate sniffs of sea-breeze, smells of sedgy grass and fields by the shore, death-messages given in charge to survivors,.
Wheeze, cluck, swash of falling blood, short wild scream, and long, dull, tapering groan,. For me the keepers of convicts shoulder their carbines and keep watch,. Not a mutineer walks handcuff'd to jail but I am handcuff'd to him and walk by his side,. I am less the jolly one there, and more the silent one with sweat on my twitching lips.
Not a youngster is taken for larceny but I go up too, and am tried and sentenced. Not a cholera patient lies at the last gasp but I also lie at the last gasp,. My face is ash-color'd, my sinews gnarl, away from me people retreat. Askers embody themselves in me and I am embodied in them,. Give me a little time beyond my cuff'd head, slumbers, dreams, gaping,. That I could forget the trickling tears and the blows of the bludg- eons and hammers!
That I could look with a separate look on my own crucifixion and bloody crowning. The grave of rock multiplies what has been confided to it, or to any graves,. I troop forth replenish'd with supreme power, one of an average unending procession,. The blossoms we wear in our hats the growth of thousands of years. They desire he should like them, touch them, speak to them, stay with them. Slow-stepping feet, common features, common modes and ema- nations,. They are wafted with the odor of his body or breath, they fly out of the glance of his eyes. And might tell what it is in me and what it is in you, but cannot,.
And might tell that pining I have, that pulse of my nights and days. I am not to be denied, I compel, I have stores plenty and to spare,. And when you rise in the morning you will find what I tell you is so. In my portfolio placing Manito loose, Allah on a leaf, the crucifix engraved,.
They bore mites as for unfledg'd birds who have now to rise and fly and sing for themselves,. Accepting the rough deific sketches to fill out better in myself, bestowing them freely on each man and woman I see,. Putting higher claims for him there with his roll'd-up sleeves driving the mallet and chisel,. Not objecting to special revelations, considering a curl of smoke or a hair on the back of my hand just as curious as any revelation,. Lads ahold of fire-engines and hook-and-ladder ropes no less to me than the gods of the antique wars,.
Their brawny limbs passing safe over charr'd laths, their white foreheads whole and unhurt out of the flames;. By the mechanic's wife with her babe at her nipple interceding for every person born,. Three scythes at harvest whizzing in a row from three lusty angels with shirts bagg'd out at their waists,. The snag-tooth'd hostler with red hair redeeming sins past and to come,. Selling all he possesses, traveling on foot to fee lawyers for his brother and sit by him while he is tried for forgery;.
What was strewn in the amplest strewing the square rod about me, and not filling the square rod then,. The supernatural of no account, myself waiting my time to be one of the supremes,. The day getting ready for me when I shall do as much good as the best, and be as prodigious;. Now the performer launches his nerve, he has pass'd his prelude on the reeds within.
Easily written loose-finger'd chords—I feel the thrum of your climax and close. Ever the eaters and drinkers, ever the upward and downward sun, ever the air and the ceaseless tides,. Ever the old inexplicable query, ever that thorn'd thumb, that breath of itches and thirsts,. Ever the vexer's hoot! Tickets buying, taking, selling, but in to the feast never once going.
Many sweating, ploughing, thrashing, and then the chaff for pay- ment receiving,. Whatever interests the rest interests me, politics, wars, markets, newspapers, schools,. The mayor and councils, banks, tariffs, steamships, factories, stocks, stores, real estate and personal estate. The little plentiful manikins skipping around in collars and tail'd coats,.
I am aware who they are, they are positively not worms or fleas,. I acknowledge the duplicates of myself, the weakest and shallowest is deathless with me,. This printed and bound book—but the printer and the printing- office boy? The well-taken photographs—but your wife or friend close and solid in your arms? The black ship mail'd with iron, her mighty guns in her turrets— but the pluck of the captain and engineers?
In the houses the dishes and fare and furniture—but the host and hostess, and the look out of their eyes? Enclosing worship ancient and modern and all between ancient and modern,. Believing I shall come again upon the earth after five thousand years,. Waiting responses from oracles, honoring the gods, saluting the sun,. Making a fetich of the first rock or stump, powowing with sticks in the circle of obis,.
Dancing yet through the streets in a phallic procession, rapt and austere in the woods a gymnosophist,. Drinking mead from the skull-cup, to Shastas and Vedas admirant, minding the Koran,. Walking the teokallis, spotted with gore from the stone and knife, beating the serpent-skin drum,. Accepting the Gospels, accepting him that was crucified, knowing assuredly that he is divine,.
To the mass kneeling or the puritan's prayer rising, or sitting patiently in a pew,. Ranting and frothing in my insane crisis, or waiting dead-like till my spirit arouses me,. Looking forth on pavement and land, or outside of pavement and land,. One of that centripetal and centrifugal gang I turn and talk like a man leaving charges before a journey. Frivolous, sullen, moping, angry, affected, dishearten'd, atheistical,.
I know every one of you, I know the sea of torment, doubt, despair and unbelief. How they contort rapid as lightning, with spasms and spouts of blood! And what is yet untried and afterward is for you, me, all, precisely the same. Each who passes is consider'd, each who stops is consider'd, not a single one can it fail.
Nor the little child that peep'd in at the door, and then drew back and was never seen again,. Nor the old man who has lived without purpose, and feels it with bitterness worse than gall,.
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Nor him in the poor house tubercled by rum and the bad dis- order,. Nor the numberless slaughter'd and wreck'd, nor the brutish koboo call'd the ordure of humanity,. Nor the sacs merely floating with open mouths for food to slip in,. Nor any thing in the earth, or down in the oldest graves of the earth,. Nor any thing in the myriads of spheres, nor the myriads of myriads that inhabit them,. The clock indicates the moment—but what does eternity indicate? Were mankind murderous or jealous upon you, my brother, my sister? I am an acme of things accomplish'd, and I an encloser of things to be.
On every step bunches of ages, and larger bunches between the steps,. Cycles ferried my cradle, rowing and rowing like cheerful boatmen,. Monstrous sauroids transported it in their mouths and deposited it with care. All forces have been steadily employ'd to complete and delight me,. Jostling me through streets and public halls, coming naked to me at night,. Crying by day Ahoy! Noiselessly passing handfuls out of their hearts and giving them to be mine.
Old age superbly rising! O welcome, ineffable grace of dying days! Every condition promulges not only itself, it promulges what grows after and out of itself,. And all I see multiplied as high as I can cipher edge but the rim of the farther systems. And greater sets follow, making specks of the greatest inside them. If I, you, and the worlds, and all beneath or upon their surfaces, were this moment reduced back to a pallid float, it would not avail in the long run,.
A few quadrillions of eras, a few octillions of cubic leagues, do not hazard the span or make it impatient,. I know I have the best of time and space, and was never measured and never will be measured. My signs are a rain-proof coat, good shoes, and a staff cut from the woods,. My right hand pointing to landscapes of continents and the public road. Perhaps you have been on it since you were born and did not know,. Shoulder your duds dear son, and I will mine, and let us hasten forth,. If you tire, give me both burdens, and rest the chuff of your hand on my hip,.
This day before dawn I ascended a hill and look'd at the crowded heaven,. And I said to my spirit When we become the enfolders of those orbs, and the pleasure and knowledge of every thing in them, shall we be fill'd and satisfied then? And my spirit said No, we but level that lift to pass and continue beyond. But as soon as you sleep and renew yourself in sweet clothes, I kiss you with a good-by kiss and open the gate for your egress hence.
You must habit yourself to the dazzle of the light and of every moment of your life. To jump off in the midst of the sea, rise again, nod to me, shout, and laughingly dash with your hair. Keats explores these antinomies of human desire in one of his finest and best-loved long poems, The Eve of St. Agnes , a romance in Spenserian stanzas written in January The story recalls Romeo and Juliet , though its details are based on several traditional French romances see Robert Gittings, John Keats , It is framed by the coldness of eternity, by an ancient Beadsman whose frosty prayers and stony piety contrast with the fairytale-like revelry and warm lights within.
The heroine, Madeline, does not mix with the company but ascends to her own kind of dream, the superstitious wish that, by following various rites on this St. He does so, after watching her undress and sleep, spreading before her a feast of delicacies rather magically , and easing her into a wakefulness instinct with romance. The lovers flee into the cold storm; and suddenly the poem shifts to a long historical vision, the tale acknowledged as a story far away and long ago, the Beadsman himself cold and dead. Today we see the poem more as a great achievement not only in style but also in thoughtful and carefully balanced tone.
But most critics today see the poem as an extraordinary balance of these opposing forces, shrewdly and at times playfully self-aware of its own conventions, leading the reader to a continuous series of mediations between artifice and reality, dream and awakening. The more we imagine beauty the more painful our world may seem—and this, in turn, deepens our need for art. The great odes of the spring and fall— Ode to Psyche , Ode to a Nightingale , Ode on a Grecian Urn , Ode on Melancholy , To Autumn written in September , Ode on Indolence not published until , and often excluded from the group as inferior —do not attempt to answer these questions.
The order of the odes has been much debated; it is known that Ode to Psyche was written in late April, Ode to a Nightingale probably in May, and To Autumn on 19 September , but although Ode on a Grecian Urn and Ode on Melancholy are assumed to belong to May, but no one can be certain of any order or progression.
But, perhaps, a new kind of humanist paganism was possible to a modern world of self-consciousness and secular knowledge, emptied of Christian orthodoxy. Thus the poem turns from its questioned but spontaneous vision to a hope for a return of Psyche in a prepared consciousness.
But despite the sense of achieved conclusion, Ode to Psyche begins with a question and ends with a hope. The unself-conscious and delightful initial vision can only be expectantly invoked. Instead what follows is a troubled meditation, one of the richest and most compressed in English poetry, on the power of human imagination to meet joy in the world and transform the soul.
But imagination needs temporality to do its work. It then tantalizes us with a desire to experience the eternity of the beauty we create. But again, no real experience is possible to us—as the central stanzas suggest—apart from time and change. Imagination seems to falsify: the more the poet presses the bird to contain, the more questionable this imaginative projection becomes. For Keats, an impatience for truth only obscures it. If art redeems experience at all it is in the beauty of a more profound comprehension of ourselves not of a transcendent realm , of the paradoxes of our nature.
To expect art to provide a more certain closure is to invite only open questions or deeper enigmas. In Ode on a Grecian Urn this theme is explored from the perspective not of a natural and fleeting experience the bird song but of a work of pictorial art, a timeless rendering of a human pageant. Perhaps more has been written on this poem, per line, than any other Romantic lyric. And today it is perhaps the best—known and most—often-read poem in nineteenth-century literature. The poem seems to be an imaginative creation of an artwork that serves as an image of permanence.
But it is in the nature of poetry, unlike painting—a distinction we know Keats often debated with Haydon—to create its meaning sequentially. Human happiness requires fulfillment in a world of process and inevitable loss. Others see the lines dissolving all doubts in an absolute aestheticism that declares the power of art to transform painful truths into beauty. In the Ode on Melancholy the subject is not the ironies of our experience of art but of intense experience itself. Melancholy is not just a mood associated with sad objects; in this poem, it is the half-hidden cruel logic of human desire and fulfillment.
In our temporal condition the most intense pleasure shades off into emptiness and the pain of loss, fulfillment even appearing more intense as it is more ephemeral. His maturing irony had developed into a re-evaluation and meditative probing of his earlier concerns, the relation of art and the work of imagination to concrete experience.
But the odes also show supreme formal mastery: from the play of rhyme his ode stanza is a brilliantly compressed yet flexible development from sonnet forms , to resonance of puns and woven vowel sounds, the form itself embodies the logic of a dialogue among conflicting and counterbalancing thoughts and intuitions. Keats considered giving poetry a last try, but returned all the books he had borrowed and thought of becoming a surgeon, perhaps on a ship. Keats was ill this summer with a sore throat, and it is likely that the early stages of tuberculosis were beginning.
His letters to Fanny Brawne became jealous, even tormented. But throughout the summer he wrote with furious concentration, working on his rather bad verse tragedy Otho the Great , which Brown had concocted as a scheme to earn money, and completing Lamia , his last full-length poem. A young man, Lycius, falls in love with a beautiful witch, Lamia, who is presented with real sympathy.
She leads Lycius away from his public duties into an enchanted castle of love. But at their marriage banquet Lamia withers and dies under the cold stare of the rationalist philosopher Apollonius, who sees through her illusion, and Lycius, too, dies as his dream is shattered. The issues, of course, recall The Eve of St. To many readers, it has seemed that these unresolvable ironies imply a bitterness about love and desire.
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It is clear, though, that Keats sought to present his story without sentimentality or the lush beauty of romance. Yet Keats was striving for some sense of resolution in these months, as autumn approached. He turned back to Hyperion with the thought of justifying the life of the poet as both self-conscious and imaginative, committed to the real, public sphere even while his imagination soothes the world with its dreams. This strange, troubling, visionary fragment, The Fall of Hyperion unpublished until , is his most ambitious attempt to understand the meaning of imaginative aspiration.
It is a broad Dantesque vision, in which the poet himself is led by Moneta, goddess of knowledge, to the painful birth into awareness of suffering that had deified the poet-god Apollo in the earlier version. Notably, the speaker here never appears as a subject, except implicitly as a calming presence, asking questions but allowing the sights, sounds, and activities of the season itself to answer them. But the intensity here, unlike that of Ode to Melancholy , does not end in extinction and painful memory.
Such subjectivity is avoided; the season is mythologized and imagined as herself a part of the rhythms of the year. Ay, where are they? He lived to see his new volume, which included the odes, published as Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems in early July The praise from Hunt, Shelley, Lamb, and their circle was enthusiastic. In August, Frances Jeffrey, influential editor of the Edinburgh Review , wrote a serious and thoughtful review, praising not just the new poems but also Endymion.
The volume sold slowly but steadily and increasingly in the next months. His odes were republished in literary magazines. But by summer , Keats was too ill to be much encouraged. In the winter of he nearly decided to give up poetry and write for some London review. He was often confused and depressed, worried about money, often desperate with the pain of being unable to marry Fanny Brawne, to whom he became openly engaged about October. But Keats continued to prepare his poems for publication, and to work on The Fall of Hyperion and a new satiric drama, The Jealousies first published as The Cap and Bells , never completed.
Then, in February , came the lung hemorrhage that convinced him he was dying. Such a state in him, I knew, was impossible. Despite some remissions in the spring, he continued to hemorrhage in June and July. His friends were shaken, but in those days there was no certain way to diagnose tuberculosis or to gauge its severity, and there were hopes for his recovery.
In the early summer he lived alone in Kentish Town Brown had rented out Wentworth Place , where the Hunts, nearby, could look in on him. But living alone, fearful and restless, trying to separate himself from Fanny Brawne because of the pain thoughts of her caused him, he became more ill and agitated. The Hunts took him in, as they had years before at the beginning. But he was taken in, desperately ill, by Fanny and Mrs.
Brawne, and he spent his last month in England being nursed in their home. He was advised to spend the winter in Italy. He declined, but hoped to meet Shelley after a stay in Rome. Keats left for Rome in November , accompanied by Joseph Severn, the devoted young painter who, alone in a strange country, nursed Keats and managed his affairs daily until his death.
They took pleasant rooms on the Piazza di Spagna, and for a while Keats took walks and rode out on a small horse. In his last weeks he suffered terribly and hoped for the peace of death. He was in too much pain to look at letters, especially from Fanny Brawne, believing that frustrated love contributed to his ill health. He asked Severn to bury her letters with him it is not clear he did.
Yet he thought always of his friends and brothers. I can scarcely bid you good bye even in a letter. I always made an awkward bow. Brown, Severn, Clarke, Reynolds, and others all contributed to his Life, Letters, and Literary Remains of John Keats , which, whatever its flaws as a reliable scholarly biography, was widely read and respected. Keats brought out the warmest feelings in those who knew him, and that included people with a remarkable range of characters, beliefs, and tastes.
One can say without sentimentality or exaggeration that no one who ever met Keats did not admire him, and none ever said a bad—or even unkind—word of him. His close friends, such as Brown, Clarke, and Severn, remained passionately devoted to his memory all their lives. The urgency of this poetry has always appeared greater to his readers for his intense love of beauty and his tragically short life. Keats approached the relations among experience, imagination, art, and illusion with penetrating thoughtfulness, with neither sentimentality nor cynicism but with a delight in the ways in which beauty, in its own subtle and often surprising ways, reveals the truth.
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The greatest collection of Keats letters, manuscripts, and related papers is in the Houghton Library, Harvard. Prose Home Harriet Blog. Visit Home Events Exhibitions Library. Newsletter Subscribe Give. Poetry Foundation. Back to Previous. John Keats. Portrait of John Keats by William Hilton. Poems by John Keats.
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