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).
2 Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
3Conspiring with him how to load and bless
4 With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
5To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
6 And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
7 To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
8 With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
9And still more, later flowers for the bees,
10Until they think warm days will never cease,
11 For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.
12Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
13 Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
14Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
15 Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
16Or on a half-reap'd furrow sound asleep,
17 Drows'd with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
18 Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
19And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
20 Steady thy laden head across a brook;
21 Or by a cyder-press, with patient look,
22 Thou watchest the last oozings hours by hours.
23Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
24 Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--
25While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
26 And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
27Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
29 Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
30And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
31 Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
32 The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft;
33 And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
1] The poem seems to have been just composed when Keats wrote to Reynolds from Winchester on September 22, 1819. He says: "How beautiful the season is now--How fine the air--A temperate sharpness about it. Really, without joking, chaste weather--Dian skies--I never lik'd stubble-fields so much as now--Aye, better than the chilly green of the Spring. Somehow a stubble-plain looks warm--in the same way that some pictures look warm--This struck me so much in my Sunday's walk that I composed upon it." Back to Line
28] sallows: willows. Back to Line
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RPO poem Editors:
J. R. MacGillivray