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And, as I feasted on its fragrancy,
I thought the garden-rose it far excell'd : But when, O Wells! thy roses came to me
My sense with their deliciousness was spellid : Soft voices had they, that with tender plea Whisper'd of peace, and truth, and friendliness un
him-get rid of all the dones and dids and thou and thines you possibly can. For ever and a day yours
“ Joseph.” In Tom Keats's copy-book this sonnet is headed “To Charles Wells on receiving a bunch of roses,” and dated “ June 29, 1816.” In this heading the word full-blown stands cancelled before roses. The only variation beyond spelling and pointing is in the last line, which is
Whispered of truth, Humanity and Friendliness unquell'd.
To G. A. W.
Nymph of the downward smile and sidelong glance,
In what diviner moments of the day
far astray Into the labyrinths of sweet utterance, Or when serenely wand'ring in a trance
Of sober thought ?-or when starting away
With careless robe to meet the morning ray
And so remain, because thou listenest :
That I can never tell what mood is best.
Trips it before Apollo than the rest.
The subject of this sonnet was Miss Georgiana Augusta Wylie, afterwards the wife of Keats's brother George, and now (1881) Mrs. Jeffrey. I should not have connected the sonnet positively with this lady had I not seen the manuscript in Keats’s writing, headed “ To Miss Wylie.” The manuscript corresponds verbatim with the sonnet as published in 1817 ; but in the two quatrains the better punctuation is that of the manuscript; and I have followed it in the text. The thirteenth line shows one correction : Nymph was originally written where Grace now stands. In a transcript in Tom Keats's copy-book we read what grace ; and the sonnet is headed “Sonnet to a Lady", and dated “Dec. 1816".
O SOLITUDE! if I must with thee dwell,
Let it not be among the jumbled heap
Of murky buildings; climb with me the steep,
May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep
leap Startles the wild bee from the fox-glove bell. But though I'll gladly trace these scenes with thee,
Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind,
Whose words are images of thoughts refin'd, Is my soul's pleasure ; and it sure must be
Almost the highest bliss of human-kind, When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee.
This Sonnet, published in The Examiner for the 5th of May 1836, signed “ J. K.”, is stated by Charles Cowden Clarke (Gentleman's Magazine for February 1874) to be “ Keats's first published poem.” In Tom Keats's copy-book it is headed " Sonnet to Solitude”, and undated. The only variation is in line 9,--I'd for I'll. The Examiner reads rivers for river's in line 5, and lines 9 and 10 stand thus
Ah! fain would I frequent such scenes with thee;
But the sweet converse of an innocent mind.
TO MY BROTHERS.
Small, busy fames play through the fresh laid coals,
And their faint cracklings o'er our silence creep
Like whispers of the household gods that keep A gentle empire o'er fraternal souls.
In Tom Keats's copy-book this sonnet is headed “Written to his Brother Tom on his Birthday," and dated “ Nov. 18, 1816.” In the last line the transcript reads place for face. The sonnet seems to have been originally written in pencil in the note-book referred to at page 61, immediately after the sonnet to George Keats ; but the two quatrains, which fill one page, are all that I found of this sonnet among the Keats relics of Severn. The quatrains stand finally thus in the draft :
Small flames are peeping through the fresh laid coals
And their faint Crackling o'er our Silence creeps
Like Whispers of the Household God that keeps
Your Eyes are fixéd as in poetic sleep
Upon the Pages Voluble and deep
That aye at fall of Night our care condoles. There is a cancelled reading at line 2, unfinished
With a faint Crackling head distract... and another at line 5
And while I am thinking of a Rhyme; and here searching was substituted for thinking of, before the whole was cancelled in favour of the reading of the text.,
And while, for rhymes, I search around the poles,
Your eyes are fix'd, as in poetic sleep,
Upon the lore so voluble and deep,
That thus it passes smoothly, quietly.
May we together pass, and calmly try What are this world's true joys-ere the great voice,
From its fair face, shall bid our spirits fly.
November 18, 1816.