Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

Contents.

[blocks in formation]
[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

Page Sonnet. To my Brother George .

69 To

ib. Written on the day that Mr Leigh Hunt left Prison

il. « How many bards gild the lapses of time !

ib. To a Friend who sent me some Roses ib. To G. A. W.

70 . 0 Solitude! if I must with thee dwell

ib. To my Brothers

ib. • Keen fitful gusts are whispering here and there

ib. « To one who has been long in city pent :

ib. On first looking into Chapman's Homer

ib. On leaving some Friends at an early hour

ib. Addressed to Haydon

71 the same

ib. On the Grasshopper and Cricket ib. To Kosciusko.

ib. « Happy is England ! I could be content,

ib. The Human Seasons On a Picture of Leander

ib. To Ailsa Rock

ib. Epistles. To George Felton Mathew

72 To my Brother George

ib. To Charles Cowden Clarke

74 Stanzas

HYPERION

48 MISCELLANEOUS POEMS :Dedication to Leigh Ilunt, Esq. .

55 • 1 stood tiptoe upon a little hill

ib. Specimen of an Induction to a Poem

57 Calidore; a Fragment

58 To some Ladies, on receiving a curious Shell 59 On receiving a Copy of Verses from the same Ladies

il. To

60 To Hope

ib. Imitation of Spenser

61 « Woman! when I behold thee flippant, vain » ib, Ode to a Nightingale

ib. Ode on a Grecian Urn

62 Ode to Psyche

63 Fancy

ib. Ode

64 Lines on the Mermaid Tavern

ib. Robin Hood

65 To Autumn

ib. Ode on Melancholy

il. Sleep and Poetry

66

.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

.

75

[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]

Memoir of John Keats.

A

The short career of John Keats was marked by spears to have been Hampstead, the localities of the development of powers which have been rarely which village were the scenes of his earliest abexhibited in one at so immatured an age. He had stractions, and the prompters of many of his best but just completed his twenty-fourth year when poetical productions: most of his personal friends, he was snatched away from the world, and an end too, resided in the neighbourhood. His first pubput for ever to a genius of a lofty and novel or- lished volume, though the greater part of it was der. Certain party critics, who made it their ob- not above mediocrity, contained passages and ject to lacerate the feelings, and endeavour to put lines of rare beauty. His political sentiments difdown by vituperation and misplaced ridicule fering from those of the Quarterly Review, being every effort which emanated not from their own manly and independent, were sins never to be servile dependents or followers, furiously attacked forgiven; and as in that party work literary judgthe writings of Keats on their appearance. Their ment was always dealt out according to political promise of greater excellence was unquestion-congeniality of feeling, with the known servility able, their beauties were obvious, – but so also of its writers, an author like Keats had no chance were defects, which might easily be made avail- of being judged fairly. He was friendless and able for an attack upon the author ; and which unknown, and could not even attract notice to a certain writers of the Quarterly Review instantly just complaint if he appealed to the public, from seized upon to gratify party malice, -not against his being yet obscure as an author. This Gifford, the author so much as against his friends. The the editor of the Quarterly, well knew, and pourunmerited abuse poured upon Keats by this pe- ed his malignity upon his unoffending victim in riodical work is supposed to have hastened his proportion as he was conscious of the want of end, which was slowly approaching when the cri- power in the object of his attack to resist it. ticism before-mentioned appeared.

scion of nobility might have scribbled nonsense This original and singular example of poetical and been certain of applause ; but a singular gegenius was of humble descent, and was born in nius springing up by its own vitality in an obMoorfields, London, October 29, 1796, at a livery- scure corner, was by all means to be crushed. stables which had belonged to his grandfather. Gifford bad been a cobbler, and the son of the He received a classical education at Enfield, under livery-stable-keeper was not worthy of his critia Mr Clarke, and was apprenticed to Mr Ham- cal toleration! Thus it always is with those mond, a sárgeon at Edmonton. The son of his narrow-minded persons who rise by the force of schoolmaster Clarke encouraged the first gerins accident from valgar obscurity: they cannot toof the poetical faculty which he early observed in lerate a brother, much less superior power or the

young poet, and introduced him to Mr Leigh genius in that brother. On the publication of Hunt, who is reported to have been the means Keats's next work, « Endymion,, Gifford attacked of his introduction to the public. 'Keats was an it with all the bitterness of which his pen was individual of extreme sensitiveness, so that he capable, and did not hesitate, before he saw the would betray emotion even to tears on hearing a work, to announce his intention of doing so to noble action recited, or at the mention of a the publisher. Keats had endeavoured, as much glowing thought or one of deep pathos : yet both as was consistent with independent feeling, to his moral and personal courage were above all conciliate the critics at large, as may be observed suspicion. His health was always delicate, for in his preface to that poem. He merited to be heh ad been a seven months' child; and it ap- treated with indulgence, not wounded by the enpears that the symptoms of premature decay, or venomed shafts of political animosity for literary rather of fragile vitality, were long indicated by errors. His book abounded in passages of true his organization, before consumption decidedly poetry, which were of course passed over; and it displayed itself.

is difficult to decide whether the cowardice or The juvenile productions of Keats were pub- the cruelty of the attack upon it, most deserve lished in 1817, the author being at that time in execration. of great sensitiveness, as already his ewenty-first year. His favourite sojourn ap- observed, and his frame already touched by a

a

of a

[ocr errors]

HERE LIES ONE
WHOSE NAME WAS WRIT IN WATER.

(4

« Don

mortal distemper, he felt his hopes withered, and at Rome, at the foot of the pyramid of Caius Ces-
his attempts to obtain honourable public notice tius, 'near the Porta San Paolo, where a white
in his own scantily allotted days frustrated. He marble tombstone, bearing the following inscrip-
was never to see his honourable fame: this prey- tion, surmounted by a lyre in basso relievo, has
ed upon his spirit and hastened his end, as has been erected to his memory:-
been already noticed. The third and last of his

This Grave
works was the little volume (his best work).con-

contains all that was mortal
taining « Lamia,» « Isabella,» « The Eve of St Ag-
nes,” and « Hyperion.»— That he was not a fin-

YOUNG ENGLISH POET,
ished writer, must be conceded; that, like Kær-

who,

on his death-bed, ner in Germany, he gave rich promise rather than

in the bitterness of his heart matured fruit, may be granted; but they must in

at the malicious power of his enemies,
deed be ill judges of genius who are not delighted

desired
with what he left, and do not see that, had he these words to be engraved on his tombstone-
lived, he might have worn a wreath of renown
which time would not easily have withered. His

Feb. 24th, 1821.
was indeed an untoward fate,» as Byron ob-
serves of him in the eleventh canto of The physiognomy of the young poet indicated
Juan.»

his character. Sensibility was predominant, but
For several years before his death, Keats had there was no deficiency of power. His features
felt that the disease which preyed upon him was were well-defined, and delicately susceptible of
mortal,—that the agents of decay were at work every impression. His eyes were large and dark,
upon a body too imperfectly organized, or too but his cheeks were sunk, and his face pale when
feebly constructed to sustain long the fire of ex- he was tranquil. His hair was of a brown colour,
istence. He had neglected his own health to at- and curled naturally. His head was small, and
tend a brother on his death-bed, when it would set-upon broad high shoulders, and a body dis-
have been far more prudent that he had recol- proportionately large to his lower limbs, which,
lected it was necessary he should take care of however, were well-made. His stature was low;
himself. Under the bereavement of this brother and his hands, says a friend ( Mr L. Hunt), were
he was combating his keen feelings, when the faded, having prominent veins—which he would
Zoilus of the Quarterly so ferociously attacked look upon, and pronounce to belong to one who
him. The excitement of spirit was too much for had seen fifty years. His temper was of the gen-
his frame to sustain ; and a blow from another tlest description, and he felt deeply all favours
quarter, coming about the same time, shook him conferred upon him : in fact, he was one of those
so much, that he told a friend with tears « his marked and rare characters which genius stamps
heart was breaking. » -- He was now persuaded to from their birth in her own mould ; and whose
try the climate of Italy, the refuge of those who early consignment to the tomb has, it is most
have no more to hope for in their own; but probable, deprived the world of works calculated
which is commonly delayed until the removal to delight, if not to astonish mankind of pro-
only leads the traveller to the tomb. Thither he ductions to which every congenial spirit and kind
went to die. He was accompanied by Mr Severn, quality of the human heart would have done ho-
an artist of considerable talent, well known since mage, and confessed the power. It is to be la-
in Rome. Mr Severn was a valuable and attached mented that such promise should have been so
friend of the poet; and they went first to Naples, prematurely blighted.
and thence journeyed to Rome, --where Keats Scattered through the writings of Keats will
closed his eyes on the world on the 24th of Feb- be found passages which come home to every bo-
ruary, 1821.

He wished ardently for death be- som alive to each nobler and kindlier feeling of
fore it came.

The springs of vitality were left the human heart. There is much in them to be nearly dry long before ; his lingering as he did corrected, much to be altered for the better; astonished his medical attendants. His suffer- but there are sparkling gems of the first lustre ings were great, but he was all resignation. He everywhere to be found. It is strange, that in said, not long before he died, that he « felt the civilized societies writings should be judged of, flowers growing over him.»

not by their merits, but by the faction to which On the examination of his body, post mortem, their author belongs, though their productions by his physicians, they found that life rarely so may be solely confined to subjects the most relong tenanted a body shattered as his was : his mote from controversy. In England, a party-man lungs were well-nigh annihilated.-llis remains must yield up every thing to the opinions and were deposited in the cemetery of the Protestants dogmatism of his caste. He must reject truths,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

pervert reason, misrepresent all things coming, talent, and applauded where it was due, for their from an opponent of another creed in religion or attacks upon him were not made from lack of politics. Such a state of virulent and lamentable judgment, but from wilful hostility. One knows narrow-mindedness, is the most certain that can not how to characterise such demoniacal insinexist for blighting the tender blossoms of genius, cerity. Keats belonged to a school of politics and blasting the innocent and virtuous hopes of which they from their ambush anathematized :the young aspirant after honest fame. It is not hence, and hence alone, their malice towards necessary that a young and ardent mind avow him. principles hostile to those who set up for its ene- Keats was, as a poet, like a rich fruit-tree which mies- if he be but the friend of a friend openly the gardener has not pruned of its luxuriance : opposed to them, it is enough; and the worst is, time, had it been allotted him by Heaven, would that the hostility displayed is neither limited by have seen it as trim and rich as any brother of truth and candour, sound principles of criticism, the garden. It is and will ever be regretted by humanity, or honourable feeling: it fights with the readers of his works, that he lingered no all weapons, in the dark or in the light, by craft, longer among living men, to bring to perfection or in any mode to obtain its bitter objects. The what he meditated, to contribute to British litecritics who hastened end of Keats, had his rature a greater name, and to delight the lovers works been set before them as being those of an of true poetry with the rich melody of his musiunknown writer, would have acknowledged their cally embodied thoughts.

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »