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415

420

Her eloquence did breathe away the curse:
She led him, like some midnight spirit nurse
Of happy changes in emphatic dreams,
Along a path between two little streams, -
Guarding his forehead, with her round elbow,
From low-grown branches, and his footsteps slow
From stumbling over stumps and hillocks small;
Until they came to where these steamlets fall,
With mingled bubblings and a gentle rush,
Into a river, clear, brimful, and flush
With crystal mocking of the trees and sky.
A little shallop, floating there hard by,
Pointed its beak over the fringed bank ;
And soon it lightly dipt, and rose, and sank,
And dipt again, with the young couple's weight,-
Peona guiding, through the water straight,
Towards a bowery island opposite;
Which gaining presently, she steered light

425

Now happily, there sitting on the grass
Was fair Peona, a most tender Lass,
And his sweet sister ; who, uprising, went
With stified sobs, and o'er his shoulder leant.
Putting her trembling hand against his cheek
She said : “My dear Endymion, let us seek
A pleasant bower where thou may'st rest apart,
And ease in slumber thine afflicted heart :
Come my own dearest brother : these our friends
Will joy in thinking thou dost sleep where bends
Our freshening River through yon birchen grove :
Do come now !' Could he gainsay her who strove,

So soothingly, to breathe away a Curse ? Sweet and tender as this passage is, no one will doubt the excellence of the self-criticism which led to the substitution of the six exquisite lines now standing in place of it; but it was a sad miscarriage of fine intention that, in making the change, the poet left line 411 rhymeless.

430

Into a shady, fresh, and ripply cove,
Where nested was an arbour, overwove
By many a summer's silent fingering;
To whose cool bosom she was us'd to bring
Her playmates, with their needle broidery,
And minstrel memories of times gone by.

435

So she was gently glad to see him laid
Under her favourite bower's quiet shade,
On her own couch, new made of flower leaves,
Dry'd carefully on the cooler side of sheaves
When last the sun his autumn tresses shook,
And the tann'd harvesters rich armfuls took.
Soon was he quieted to slumbrous rest:
But, ere it crept upon him, he had prest

440

(432) In the manuscript, With is here struck out in favour of By.

(440) Keats has here sacrificed, no doubt properly, a very pretty picture, consisting of eleven lines struck out of the manuscript. The whole passage originally stood thus :

On her own couch, new made of flower leaves,
Dry'd carefully on the cooler side of sheaves
When last the Harvesters rich armfuls took.
She tied a little bucket to a Crook,
Ran some swift paces to a dark wells side,
And in a sighing-time return'd, supplied
With spar cold water ; in which she did squeeze
A snowy napkin, and upon her knees
Began to cherish her poor Brother's face;
Damping refreshfully his forehead's space,
His eyes, his Lips : then in a cupped shell
She brought him ruby wine; then let him smell,
Time after time, a precious amulet,
Which seldom took she from its cabinet.

Thus was he quieted to slumbrous rest : In supplying the couplet that now stands for this cancelled passage, Keats altered the initial And of line 441 to While, and back again to And,

445

Peona's busy hand against his lips,
And still, a sleeping, held her finger-tips
In tender pressure. And as a willow keeps
A patient watch over the stream that creeps
Windingly by it, so the quiet maid
Held her in peace : so that a whispering blade
Of grass, a wailful gnat, a bee bustling
Down in the blue-bells, or a wren light rustling
Among sere leaves and twigs, might all be heard.

450

455

O magic sleep! O comfortable bird,
That broodest o'er the troubled sea of the mind
Till it is hush'd and smooth ! O unconfin'd
Restraint ! imprisoned liberty! great key
To golden palaces, strange minstrelsy,
Fountains grotesque, new trees, bespangled caves,
Echoing grottos, full of tumbling waves
And moonlight; aye, to all the mazy world
Of silvery enchantment !—who, upfurl'd
Beneath thy drowsy wing a triple hour,
But renovates and lives? -Thus, in the bower,
Endymion was calm'd to life again.
Opening his eyelids with a healthier brain,

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(450-1) The manuscript corresponds with the printed text in regard to this couplet ; but the or in line 451 was an afterthought. Perhaps Keats meant to remedy in the same way line 450, and read or a bee bustling ; but the roughness of metre may have been intentional. The licence of framing a couplet so that a rhyming dissyllable must be accentuated on the second syllable in one line and on the first in the other should have been intolerable to his exquisite and cultivated ear; but this was of course no innovation of his: he must have met with it over and over again in his studies of earlier English poets.

(454) The manuscript reads o' the mind for of the mind.

470

He said: "I feel this thine endearing love
All through my bosom : thou art as a dove
Trembling its closed eyes and sleeked wings
About me'; and the pearliest dew not brings
Such morning incense from the fields of May,
As do those brighter drops that twinkling stray
From those kind eyes,—the very home and haunt
Of sisterly affection. Can I want
Aught else, aught nearer heaven, than such tears?
Yet dry them up, in bidding hence all fears
That, any longer, I will pass my days
Alone and sad. No, I will once more raise
My voice upon the mountain-heights; once more
Make my horn parley from their foreheads hoar :
Again my trooping hounds their tongues shall loll
Around the breathed boar: again I'll poll
The fair-grown yew tree, for a chosen bow:

475

480

(466) This line is the remnant of five which originally stood for it in the manuscript:

A cheerfuller resignment, and a smile
For his fair Sister flowing like the Nile
Through all the channels of her piety,
He said : 'Dear Maid, may I this moment die,

If I feel not this thine endearing Love... (470) In the manuscript, line 469 was originally followed by the three lines,

From woodbine hedges such a morning feel,
As do those brighter drops, that twinkling steal

Through those pressed lashes, from the blossom'd plant... which Keats rejected for the three lines in the text. In line 472 he had altered those to thy in pencil ; and it is at least probable that the adoption of those in the printed text was an oversight. (480) Compare Thomson's Seasons, Winter, lines 816-17 :

the trooping deer Sleep on the new fallen snow. VOL. I.

L

485

And, when the pleasant sun is getting low,
Again I'll linger in a sloping mead
To hear the speckled thrushes, and see feed
Our idle sheep. So be thou cheered sweet,
And, if thy lute is here, softly intreat
My soul to keep in its resolved course."

490

Hereat Peona, in their silver source,
Shut her pure sorrow drops with glad exclaim,
And took a lute, from which there pulsing came
A lively prelude, fashioning the way
In which her voice should wander. 'Twas a lay
More subtle cadenced, more forest wild
Than Dryope's lone lulling of her child;
And nothing since has floated in the air
So mournful strange. Surely some influence rare
Went, spiritual, through the damsel's hand;
For still, with Delphic emphasis, she spann'd
The quick invisible strings, even though she saw
Endymion's spirit melt away and thaw

495

500

(494-5) This couplet is marginally substituted in the manuscript for the following six lines :

More forest-wild, more subtle-cadenced
Than can be told by mortal : even wed
The fainting tenors of a thousand shells
To million wh ngs of Lilly bells ;
And mingle too the Nightingale's complain

Caught in its hundredth echo; 'twould be vain :... Strikingly characteristic as this is of the ruling mood of Keats, one cannot regret the liberality of rejection which threw it aside for the incomparable reference to Pan's mother in the couplet of the text. It is just conceivable that the passage given in the foot-note to line 853 of Book II was a part of the original conception of this episode, but hardly probable.

(496) In the manuscript, this line begins with For, And being jotted as a suggestion in the margin.

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