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From their sweet thrall, and forward gently bending,
Amid the pages, and the torches' glare,
There stood a knight, patting the flowing hair
So that the waving of his plumes would be
(103) The transcript reads meekly bending.
Soon in a pleasant chamber they are seated;
Softly the breezes from the forest came,
Sweet too the converse of these happy mortals,
(139) In the transcript, free and easy.
WHAT though while the wonders of nature exploring,
I cannot your light, mazy footsteps attend; Nor listen to accents, that almost adoring,
Bless Cynthia's face, the enthusiast's friend:
Yet over the steep, whence the mountain stream. rushes,
With you, kindest friends, in idea I rove; Mark the clear tumbling crystal, its passionate gushes, Its spray that the wild flower kindly bedews.
Why linger you so, the wild labyrinth strolling?
Why breathless, unable your bliss to declare? Ah! you list to the nightingale's tender condoling, Responsive to sylphs, in the moon-beamy air.
'Tis morn, and the flowers with dew are yet drooping, I see you are treading the verge of the sea: And now! ah, I see it-you just now are stooping
To pick up the keep-sake intended for me.
If a cherub, on pinions of silver descending,
Had brought me a gem from the fret-work of heaven; And smiles, with his star-cheering voice sweetly blending, The blessings of Tighe had melodiously given;
Which the emerald waves at your feet gladly threw.
It had not created a warmer emotion
Than the present, fair nymphs, I was blest with from
Than the shell, from the bright golden sands of the
For, indeed, 'tis a sweet and peculiar pleasure,
(And blissful is he who such happiness finds,) To possess but a span of the hour of leisure, In elegant, pure, and aerial minds.
(20) The reference to Mrs. Tighe, the authoress of the now almost forgotten poem of Psyche, is significant as an indication of the poet's taste in verse at this period.
On receiving a curious Shell, and a Copy of Verses, from the same Ladies.
HAST thou from the caves of Golconda, a gem
When it flutters in sun-beams that shine through a fountain?
The title of this poem has generally stood distributed between this and the preceding composition; though Lord Houghton, in his latest (Aldine) edition, restores the arrangement of the 1817 volume. Hunt calls these verses (see Appendix), a "string of magistrate-interrogatories about a shell and a copy of verses." In Tom Keats's book of transcripts, already mentioned, the poem is headed merely "On receiving a curious shell and a copy of verses"; but another transcript, in the hand-writing of George Keats, is subscribed (not headed) "Written on receiving a copy of Tom Moore's
Golden Chain,' and a most beautiful Dome shaped shell from a Lady." The reference is no doubt to The Wreath and the Chain; and this small revelation is satisfactory as accounting for the Tom Moorish triviality of the two pieces. In the last-named copy, in line 6 we read full for right, in line 7 wrought for mark'd, in line 9 his mane thickly, in line 10 which for that. Line 17 reads
Ah courteous Sir Eric! with joy thou art crown'd: In line 19 we have I too have my blisses, and line 23 is
And lo! it possesses this property rare.
In line 29, George Keats's transcript has soft-speaking for soft sighing, and line 31 is
The Hymns of the wondering Spirits were mute!