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Short poem

John Keats (1795-1821)


              1Ever let the Fancy roam,
              2Pleasure never is at home:
              3At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth,
              4Like to bubbles when rain pelteth;
              5Then let winged Fancy wander
              6Through the thought still spread beyond her:
              7Open wide the mind's cage-door,
              8She'll dart forth, and cloudward soar.
              9O sweet Fancy! let her loose;
            10Summer's joys are spoilt by use,
            11And the enjoying of the Spring
            12Fades as does its blossoming;
            13Autumn's red-lipp'd fruitage too,
            14Blushing through the mist and dew,
            15Cloys with tasting: What do then?
            16Sit thee by the ingle, when
            17The sear faggot blazes bright,
            18Spirit of a winter's night;
            19When the soundless earth is muffled,
            20And the caked snow is shuffled
            21From the ploughboy's heavy shoon;
            22When the Night doth meet the Noon
            23In a dark conspiracy
            24To banish Even from her sky.
            25Sit thee there, and send abroad,
            26With a mind self-overaw'd,
            27Fancy, high-commission'd:--send her!
            28She has vassals to attend her:
            29She will bring, in spite of frost,
            30Beauties that the earth hath lost;
            31She will bring thee, all together,
            32All delights of summer weather;
            33All the buds and bells of May,
            34From dewy sward or thorny spray;
            35All the heaped Autumn's wealth,
            36With a still, mysterious stealth:
            37She will mix these pleasures up
            38Like three fit wines in a cup,
            39And thou shalt quaff it:--thou shalt hear
            40Distant harvest-carols clear;
            41Rustle of the reaped corn;
            42Sweet birds antheming the morn:
            43And, in the same moment, hark!
            44'Tis the early April lark,
            45Or the rooks, with busy caw,
            46Foraging for sticks and straw.
            47Thou shalt, at one glance, behold
            48The daisy and the marigold;
            49White-plum'd lillies, and the first
            50Hedge-grown primrose that hath burst;
            51Shaded hyacinth, alway
            52Sapphire queen of the mid-May;
            53And every leaf, and every flower
            54Pearled with the self-same shower.
            55Thou shalt see the field-mouse peep
            56Meagre from its celled sleep;
            57And the snake all winter-thin
            58Cast on sunny bank its skin;
            59Freckled nest-eggs thou shalt see
            60Hatching in the hawthorn-tree,
            61When the hen-bird's wing doth rest
            62Quiet on her mossy nest;
            63Then the hurry and alarm
            64When the bee-hive casts its swarm;
            65Acorns ripe down-pattering,
            66While the autumn breezes sing.

            67     Oh, sweet Fancy! let her loose;
            68Every thing is spoilt by use:
            69Where's the cheek that doth not fade,
            70Too much gaz'd at? Where's the maid
            71Whose lip mature is ever new?
            72Where's the eye, however blue,
            73Doth not weary? Where's the face
            74One would meet in every place?
            75Where's the voice, however soft,
            76One would hear so very oft?
            77At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth
            78Like to bubbles when rain pelteth.
            79Let, then, winged Fancy find
            80Thee a mistress to thy mind:
            81Dulcet-ey'd as Ceres' daughter,
            82Ere the God of Torment taught her
            83How to frown and how to chide;
            84With a waist and with a side
            85White as Hebe's, when her zone
            86Slipt its golden clasp, and down
            87Fell her kirtle to her feet,
            88While she held the goblet sweet
            89And Jove grew languid.--Break the mesh
            90Of the Fancy's silken leash;
            91Quickly break her prison-string
            92And such joys as these she'll bring.--
            93Let the winged Fancy roam,
            94Pleasure never is at home.


81] Ceres' daughter: Proserpine, who was carried off by Pluto, ruler of the Lower World; hence God of Torment (82).

85] Hebe: cupbearer to the gods, and goddess of youth.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: John Keats, Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems (1820). Facs. edn.: Scolar Press, 1970. PR 4830 E20AB Fisher Rare Book Library (Toronto).
First publication date: 1820
RPO poem editor: J. R. MacGillivray
RP edition: 3RP 2.635.
Recent editing: 4:2001/12/20

Composition date: 1818
Rhyme: couplets

Other poems by John Keats