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(228.) 1060. The world's great age begins Cf. “Prometheus Unbound,” Act First, line anew: the age of liberty, love, and inno 546 ff. cence, as in the final passages of "Prometheus Unbound” (pages 198-199). But in this chorus the poet has in mind the ancient
TO JANE: THE RECOLLECTION glories, real and mythical, of Greece. These, he hopes, will be surpassed in the
In Italy Shelley saw much of Jane Wil-' golden age to come.
liams, “an extremely pretty and gentle 1068. Peneus: the chief river of
woman, apparently not very clever," as he Thessaly, passing through the proverbially for Mrs. Williams is given by Dowden as
describes her in a letter. Shelley's feeling beautiful vale of Tempe.
follows: "As a youth his imagination had 1071. Cyclads: the Cyclades, islands in the Ægean.
dwelt chiefly on the heroic qualities in
women, 1072. Argo: Jason's ship, in which
- the valor of pure love, intelthe Golden Fleece was brought.
lectual courage, strength of character, a 1077. Calypso: the nymph who passion for reforming the world. .' sought in vain to retain Ulysses on her
Now he acknowledged before all else the island.
exquisite charity of woman, the grace of
feminine tenderness — tenderness not of 1080-1083. Nor mix with Laian rage etc.: Oedipus, son of Laius, king
the heroic kind which can probe a wound of Thebes, freed that city from the op
to heal it, but that which lulls our pain pion of the Sphinx by solving her fatal
as with some delightful anodyne, and But the joy of liberation was
trances the troubled sense, if only for an with the fearful sorrows ("rage”)
hour” (Life, II, 468). Laian family, — The idea of this
(229.) 28. its: heaven's. — In form, the is repeated in the closing
trees were distorted by stormy winds; in
color, they were softened by warm winds. 1090-1095. Saturn and Love etc.:
51. one fair form - lifeless "Saturn and Love were among the deities
atmosphere: Cf. "Epipsychidion," lines of a real or imaginary state of innocence
91-94 (pages 209-210). and happiness. 'All who fell,' or the gods of Greece, Asia, and Egypt; the 'One who
TO JANE rose,' or Jesus Christ, at whose appearance the idols of the pagan world were amerced (230.) 23-24. Where music and moonlight of their worship; and the ‘many unsub
and feeling are one: These three are often dued,' or the monstrous objects of the
associated in Shelley's poetry. See "Hymn idolatry of China, India, the Antarctic is
to Intellectual Beauty,” lines 5-12 (page lands, and the native tribes of America"
175), and the Moon's song in “Prometheus (Shelley's note).
Unbound” (page 197). 1091-1092. more bright and good
than One who rose: Shelley's intention here is explained in his note: “The WITH A GUITAR: TO JANE sublime human character of Jesus Christ was deformed by an imputed identification
10. thine own Prince Ferdinand: with a power who tempted, betrayed, and Jane's husband, Edward Williams, with punished the innocent beings who were whom Shelley formed a warm friendship, called into existence by his sole will; and and with whom, eventually, he for the period of a thousand years, the drowned. spirit of this most just, wise, and bene
14. From life to life: The idea of volent of men has been propitiated with reincarnation, used playfully throughout myriads of hecatombs of those who ap the rest of this paragraph, reflects Shelproached the nearest to his innocence and ley's pursuit of ideal Beauty and Love wisdom, sacrificed under every aggrava in feminine form. See "Epipsychidion," tion of atrocity and variety of torture.' line 190 ff (page 211).
(231.) 18. Love first leaves the well-built (232.) 21. III didst thou buy: which thou nest: Cf. “Love, from its awful throne of didst ill buy. patient power in the wise heart" ("Prometheus Unbound,” Act Fourth, line 557
THE SWALLOW LEAVES HER f., page 199). Shelley has in mind the
NEST ideal or eternal Love, coming down from its habitation in the highest region of the
This poem may be read as a sequel to human spirit, into the conditions of actual
the last stanza of the preceding. life.
3. the rain: i.e., the chill rains of 19-20. The weak
autumn, when the swallow goes. possessed: The weak "nest,” i.e., the hu
6. both: “the swallow" and "the man heart in all its frailty, has to endure
soul" (lines 1-2). the sad earthly course of Love, instead of
10. and: instead of "but," because holding it merely as an ideal sentiment.
the poet has felt the hurrying winter wind Love becomes something other than
to be prophetic of spring. Compare this youthful ideal: it becomes something that
stanza with the first stanza of Shelley's must be endured.
“Ode to the West Wind” (page 181).
12-14. When a storm of ghosts T. L. BEDDOES (1803-1849)
etc.: The spirits shall reanimate the
like rain-storms awakening the seed While an undergraduate at Oxford, spring. Thomas Lovell Beddoes published the only volumes that appeared during his lifetime.
LEIGH HUNT (1784-1859 He was then an ardent admirer — and one of the first admirers — of Shelley,
Hunt received his schooling at Ch whose Posthumous Poems were issued in 1824 mainly through his efforts. Always
Hospital, London, after Coleridge and
Lamb. At the age of twenty-one he began devoted to the Elizabethan dramatic poets, he proceeded to give his energies to the
a long career as journalist. For a personal
"libel" on the Prince Regent, he was concomposition of plays in blank verse that
demned to two years' imprisonment, which are reminiscent of Webster, Tourneur,
he spent pleasantly, receiving his friends, Marston, and others; the best is “Death's
reading the old Italian poets, speculating Jest-Book,”: described in a letter as fol
on versification, and writing a romance lows:
his long, leisurely “Story of Rimini,” in “In it Despair has married wildest Mirth,
which the theme came from Dante, the And to their wedding-banquet all the handling was partly suggested by Boccaccio, earth
and the verse-form was a new kind of Is bade to bring its enmities and loves,
heroic couplet only distantly akin to Triumphs and horrors ..."
Chaucer's, easy, colloquial, verging on
the trivial and vulgar. Hunt's best work, Quite unable to construct a plot, he excel however, is in his short pieces; which at led in songs worthy of comparison with times attain beauty, dignity, finish, as in those of his masters, the Elizabethans and “Abou Ben Adhem" (page 233); or Shelley. Turning suddenly to the study of pleasing facetious humor, as in “The Fish, medicine, Beddoes went to Göttingen and the Man, and the Spirit" (page 233). In thoroughly Germanized himself. For some his familiar essays he has grace, and good twenty years he lived in Germany and cheer, and spontaneity, together with his Switzerland, studying, tinkering at his characteristic chattiness; less personal than plays, cherishing radical political opinions, Lamb, he recalls the light periodical essay becoming more wayward and eccentric, and of the "Spectator" type. The head of the at length committed suicide.
“Cockney School” of writers, he was
lines 3, 7.
towny without urbanity. In his interesting from being a dull work of reference, was a Autobiography, written late in life, he realm of golden beauty and high romance. gives us pictures of Shelley, Keats, and When his systematic schooling came to an Byron, and of the London life of the time. abrupt end, he continued to read, trans
As a poet, Hunt may be regarded as a lating the whole of the Æneid; and when link between Shelley and Keats. Like his Clarke presently lent him a copy of The close friend Shelley, he had faith in beauty, Faerie Queene, "he went thro' it as in generous kindliness, and in political lib young horse thro' a spring meadow ramperty. Like Keats, especially the early ing."
All of this early ardor for great Keats, his disciple, - he affected a familiar literature he poured, with an intensifying warmth of style.
restraint, into his sonnet "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer" (page 234),
- one of his lyric masterpieces, published TO THE GRASSHOPPER AND THE
in his first volume of poems in 1817. Less CRICKET
salutary than the contagion of great litera
ture was the influence of a friend whom he (232.) 4. summoning brass: pans beaten to
met through Clarke, — the poet Leigh settle swarming bees.
Hunt; who, while he enhanced his dis11. Both have your sunshine: Cf.
ciple's fresh delight in beauty, also encouraged in him a tendency to slovenly struc
ture, and to touches of the falsely chatty THE FISH, THE MAN, AND THE and the falsely luxuriant. The influence SPIRIT
of Hunt may again be seen in Keats's next
publication, the long poem “Endymion," an For Hunt's sympathy with fishes, and
eminently youthful work in its rambling lil of Izaak Walton, see his Autobiog movement, its lack of sureness in style, its Chapter I.
exuberance of color and music. Though 12. joggles: things that joggle;
these traits of the poem in some measure wriggling creatures.
merited the contemptuous critical reviews 14. boggles: shyings.
that appeared in authoritative periodicals, - the review in the Quarterly was once
believed to have “killed" John Keats, – it JOHN KEATS (1795-1821) contains fine passages (such as the extracts
in the text, pages 235-237) and discloses, John Keats was the son of a livery to one familiar with Keats's work as a stable keeper, at a London inn, who had whole, the promise of his later achievemarried the proprietor's daughter. While ment. still in school, he lost both parents, and his With "Endymion” ends his poetic apguardians proceeded to apprentice him to a prenticeship: in the work of the next year, surgeon at Edmonton. After his indenture
1819, he is already a master. Yet had been cancelled he went to London, in 1815, to walk the hospitals; it was two “Bitter restraint, and sad occasion dear" years more before he definitely abandoned surgery in favor of poetry.
compel us to pass almost without pause His devotion to poetry had begun in his from the story of his poetic development school-days at Enfield, where he drew the to the story of his physical decline. interest and presently the friendship of the "Endymion” was no sooner published than junior master, Charles Cowden Clarke, a the first warnings of the poet's fatal disease lover of literature. According to Clarke, appeared. His brother Tom, afflicted also he was not only a favorite of all, noted for with consumption, died after Keats had "terrier courage," but also a voracious nursed him for several months. About reader of history, travel, fiction, and espe this time, Keats met and fell in love with cially books of ancient mythology. To Fanny Brawne; but the state of his health him, Lemprière's Classical Dictionary, far made marriage impossible; and his illness
and frustrated passion merged into one agony. Nevertheless, he contrived to produce, within the single year 1819, a legacy of poems that, like the Grecian, urn, will remain, "in midst of other woe" than his and ours, "a friend to man":— "The Eve of St. Agnes” (page 242); "La Belle Dame Sans Merci” (page 248); a succession of odes including “To Autumn" (page 254), "Ode on a Grecian Urn” (page 251), and "Ode to a Nightingale" (page 252); and the narrative poems “Lamia" (page 269) and “Hyperion" (page 254). Early the next year, 1820, the coughing of arterial blood warned him of the end : in September he sailed for Italy with the artist Severn; in February he was dead in Rome.
captivated Keats's imagination: the loveliness of the moon-lit world - even in a London suburb - had become a kind of symbol for all beauty, and he himself a new Endymion, the implicit hero of the story he told; and, by the same symbolism. a lover of all loveliness, so that nothing in the universe of real or imagined beauty was irrelevant to his quest” (Professor Herford, in the Cambridge History of English Literature, XII, 90).
1. A thing for ever: Cf. the first line of “On the Grasshopper and Cricket" (page 235). (236.) 37-39. each pleasant scene our own valleys: The poem was begun in the month of April and at the Isle of Wight. With his eyes upon the freshening grass and foliage of "our own" valleys, the poet thinks of April in the glens of Mount Latmus (in Asia Minor) - the opening scene and season of his story (see lines 69, 138).
50. daisies, vermeil rimmed and white: The tips of the petals of the Eng lish daisy are red. (Cf. Wordsworth “To the Daisy,” line 21, page 34.)
55. let Autumn bold etc.: The poem was actually finished late in the autumn. The last part is touched with autumnal mood and image (e.g., Book IV, lines 294-297).
ON FIRST LOOKING INTO CHAP
(234.) 3. western islands: British isles, hence British poetry.
8. Chapman: the Elizabethan poet, whose great translation, despite its rough metre and its inaccuracies, gave Keats the stimulation of Homer's pure, clear air (pure serene," — "serene” being a noun).
11. Cortez: It was Balboa, and not Cortez, who, from a mountain in Central America, discovered the Pacific Ocean.
ON THE GRASSHOPPER AND
HYMN TO PAN
This and Hunt's sonnet on the same Here "the dreamy pacing of the verse subject (page 232) were written in a gathers into lyric concentration and intenfriendly competition. Keats, unlike Hunt, sity” (Herford). This hymn is a worthy devotes the sestet to description — with forerunner of Keats's great odes. what purpose?
234. Eternal whispers: Cf. the first
line of “On the Sea" (page 235). ON THE SEA
236. hamadryads: nymphs of trees.
- The poet has seemed to see their hair (235.) 4. Hecate: the moon, governing the when hazel branches, coming together in tides.
the wind, make for a moment a thickened 13-14.
ye sea-nymphs patch of foliage. quired!: Compare the closing lines of
241. pipy hemlock: This refers to a Wordsworth's sonnet "The World is Too poisonous European plant with a hollow Much With Us” (page 45).
242. Syrinx: a nymph loved by Pan. ENDYMION
She fled from him and, seeking refuge in a
river, was changed into a reed (see line "The story of Endymion and the moon, 239). as retold by the Elizabethans, had early 245. trembling mazes: This phrase
sums up the whole theme of the stanza,
93-98. but I saw Too far into the the wild and sometimes awesome life of sea etc.: The poet's imagination, preoccuplants and trees, which is one expression of pied with the fierce struggle for existence Pan (Nature).
that goes on in nature, loses touch with (236.) 247. turtles: turtle-doves. These, the kindly beauties of nature. In his presin their myrtles, make a transition from ent “mood” (see lines 105-106) the strugthe sylvan realm of the previous stanza to gle seems to him “eternal;" see note to the soft pastoral growths of springtime in lines 78-82, above. the present stanza.
(239.) 105. Kamtschatcan: Kamchatkan. 250. outskirt: border.
- Keats means here that he would rather (237.) 258. pent up butterflies: chrysalises. be an instrument of dull goodness than a
259. the fresh-budding year: Cf. prey to romantic morbidity. His true clue lines 37 ff., and the note, above.
is cheerfulness. 272. naiads' cells: hiding places of nymphs of the streams.
TO MAIA 306. thy Mount Lycean: Lyceus, the mountain on which Pan was born.
This fragment of an ode was written on
May Day. The most beautiful of the WHEN I HAVE FEARS
seven sisters known as the Pleiades, Maia
was identified, by the Romans, with an 8. the magic hand of chance: the Italian goddess of the Spring. magical felicity with which a matured
I. still: ever. poet may hit upon the right phrase; cf.
3. As thou wast hymned etc.: Keats
refers to the Roman cult of Maia (Baiæ, 9. fair creature of an hour: Writ near Naples, being a favorite Roman watten before Keats knew Fanny Brawne, this ering-place), then to an earlier cult of the probably refers to an ideal, not a particu- goddess in Greek Sicily, and then to the lar, person.
still earlier cult in the isles of Greece.
EPISTLE TO REYNOLDS
(238.) 67-72. O that our dreamings
13. ivory: whistle. We jostle: 0 that our dreams and fancies
21. seven stars: the Pleiades. in the night-time would reflect the high
30. pasture Trent: the pasture land and beautiful things of nature, rather than along the River Trent, which flows through the experiences of our own spirit during Nottinghamshire, near the forest haunts of the day, for our everyday life is full of Robin Hood. conflict.
popular outdoor 73. Admiral-staff : the Aagstaff of
dance in which the performers wore fanthe admiralship. Keats refers to his own tastic costumes and bells. immaturity, as in the preceding poem.
34. song of Gamelyn: The refer75. High reason, and the love of
ence is to a pseudo-Chaucorian "Tale of good and ill: appreciative insight into the
Gamelyn” and, generally, to similar tales conflict of good and evil in the world.
and songs of outlawry. 78-82. imagination brought Beyond
36. grenè shawe: green wood. its proper bound etc.: When the imagination breaks bounds, and yet reaches no high insight (see preceding note), it wan LINES ON THE MERMAID ders in a hopeless purgatory between earth
TAVERN and heaven, guided by neither conventional nor spiritual law.
The Mermaid Tavern was a noted re88. lampit: limpet, a kind of mol sort of poets and wits in the time of lusk.