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TO

HOPE.

When by my solitary hearth I sit,

And hateful thoughts enwrap my soul in gloom;
When no fair dreams before my “mind's eye" flit,
And the bare heath of life presents no bloom ;

Sweet Hope, ethereal balm upon me shed,
And wave thy silver pinions o'er my head.

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Whene'er I wander, at the fall of night,

Where woven boughs shut out the moon's bright ray,
Should sad Despondency my musings fright,
And frown, to drive fair Cheerfulness away,

Peep with the moon-beams through the leafy roof,
And keep that fiend Despondence far aloof.

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Should Disappointment, parent of Despair,

Strive for her son to seize my careless heart;
When, like a cloud, he sits upon the air,
Preparing on his spell-bound prey to dart :

Chace him away, sweet Hope, with visage bright,
And fright him as the morning frightens night!

Whene'er the fate of those I hold most dear

Tells to my fearful breast a tale of sorrow,

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O bright-eyed Hope, my morbid fancy cheer ;
Let me awhile thy sweetest comforts borrow :

Thy heaven-born radiance around me shed,
And wave thy silver pinions o'er my head !

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Should e'er unhappy love my bosom pain,

From cruel parents, or relentless fair ;
O let me think it is not quite in vain
To sigh out sonnets to the midnight air !

Sweet Hope, ethereal balm upon me shed,
And wave thy silver pinions o'er my head !

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In the long vista of the years to roll,

Let me not see our country's honour fade:
O let me see our land retain her soul,
Her pride, her freedom; and not freedom's shade.

From thy bright eyes unusual brightness shed - 35
Beneath thy pinions canopy my head !

Let me not see the patriot's high bequest,

Great liberty ! how great in plain attire!
With the base purple of a court oppress’d,
Bowing her head, and ready to expire :

But let me see thee stoop from heaven on wings
That fill the skies with silver glitterings !

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And as, in sparkling majesty, a star

Gilds the bright summit of some gloomy cloud;
Brightening the half veil'd face of heaven afar:
So, when dark thoughts my boding spirit shroud,

Sweet Hope, celestial influence round me shed,
Waving thy silver pinions o'er my head.

February, 1815.

IMITATION OF SPENSER.

Now Morning from her orient chamber came,
And her first footsteps touch'd a verdant hill;
Crowning its lawny crest with amber flame,
Silv'ring the untainted gushes of its rill;
Which, pure from mossy beds, did down distill,
And after parting beds of simple flowers,
By many streams a little lake did fill,

Which round its marge reflected woven bowers,
And, in its middle space, a sky that never lowers.

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10

There the king-fisher saw his plumage bright
Vieing with fish of brilliant dye below;

The copy of these stanzas in Tom Keats's copy-book has a reading in line 12 which ought perhaps to supersede the printed text of 1817, namely, golden scalè's light. It seems highly likely that Keats really meant to carry his archaism to the extent of making scales a dissyllable, especially as the metre is thus corrected. Lord Houghton states on the authority of the notes of Charles Armitage Brown, given to his lordship in 1832, that this is the earliest known composition of Keats, and was written while he was living at Edmonton.

Whose silken fins, and golden scales' light
Cast upward, through the waves, a ruby glow :
There saw the swan his neck of arched snow,
And oar'd himself along with majesty;
Sparkled his jetty eyes; his feet did show

Beneath the waves like Afric's ebony,
And on his back a fay reclin'd voluptuously.

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Ah ! could I tell the wonders of an isle
That in that fairest lake had placed been,
I could e'en Dido of her grief beguile;
Or rob from aged Lear his bitter teen:
For sure so fair a place was never seen,
Of all that ever charm'd romantic eye :
It seem'd an emerald in the silver sheen

25 Of the bright waters; or as when on high, Through clouds of fleecy white, laughs the cærulean sky.

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And all around it dipp'd luxuriously
Slopings of verdure through the glossy tide,
Which, as it were in gentle amity,
Rippled delighted up the flowery side ;
As if to glean the ruddy tears, it try'd,
Which fell profusely from the rose-tree stem !
Haply it was the workings of its pride,

In strife to throw upon the shore a gem
Outvieing all the buds in Flora's diadem.

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(29) In line 29 the transcript reads glassy for glossy; and this is likely enough to be right.

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Woman! when I behold thee flippant, vain,

Inconstant, childish, proud, and full of fancies;

Without that modest softening that enhances
The downcast eye, repentant of the pain
That its mild light creates to heal again :

E'en then, elate, my spirit leaps, and prances,

E'en then my soul with exultation dances
For that to love, so long, I've dormant lain :
But when I see thee meek, and kind, and tender,

Heavens ! how desperately do I adore
Thy winning graces;—to be thy defender

I hotly burn—to be a Calidore-
A very Red Cross Knight-a stout Leander-

Might I be lov'd by thee like these of yore.

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Light feet, dark violet eyes, and parted hair;

15 Soft dimpled hands, white neck, and creamy breast,

Are things on which the dazzled senses rest
Till the fond, fixed eyes, forget they stare.
From such fine pictures, heavens! I cannot dare

To turn my admiration, though unpossess'd

They be of what is worthy,—though not drest In lovely modesty, and virtues rare.

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