Physician Nature! let my spirit blood! O ease my heart of verse and let me rest; Throw me upon thy tripod, till the flood Of stifling numbers ebbs from my full breast. A theme! a theme! Great Nature! give a theme; Let me begin my dream. I come—I see thee, as thou standest there, Beckon me out into the wintry air. Ah! dearest love, sweet home of all my fears And hopes and joys and panting miseries,— To-night, if I may guess, thy beauty wears A smile of such delight, As brilliant and as bright, As when with ravished, aching, vassal eyes, Lost in a soft amaze, I gaze, I gaze! Who now, with greedy looks, eats up my feast? What stare outfaces now my silver moon! Ah! keep that hand unravished at the least; Let, let the amorous burn— But, prithee, do not turn The current of your heart from me so soon: O save, in charity, The quickest pulse for me. Save it for me, sweet love! though music breathe Voluptuous visions into the warm air, Though swimming through the dance’s dangerous wreath, Be like an April day, Smiling and cold and gay, A temperate lily, temperate as fair; Then, heaven! there will be A warmer June for me. Why this, you’ll say—my Fanny!—is not true; Put your soft hand upon your snowy side, Where the heart beats: confess—'tis nothing new - Must not a woman be A feather on the sea, Swayed to and fro by every wind and tide? Of as uncertain speed As blow-ball from the mead? I know it—and to know it is despair To one who loves you as I love, sweet Fanny, Whose heart goes fluttering for you every where, Nor when away you roam, Dare keep its wretched home: Love, love alone, has pains severe and many; Then, loveliest! keep me free From torturing jealousy. Ah! if you prize my subdued soul above The poor, the fading, brief pride of an hour: Let none profane my Holy See of Love, Or with a rude hand break The sacramental cake: Let none else touch the just new-budded flower; If not—may my eyes close, Love, on their last repose!
John Keats - 1795-1821
On First Looking into Chapman's Homer
Much have I traveled in the realms of gold And many goodly states and kingdoms seen; Round many western islands have I been Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold. Oft of one wide expanse had I been told That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne; Yet never did I breathe its pure serene Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold: Then felt I like some watcher of the skies When a new planet swims into his ken; Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes He stared at the Pacific—and all his men Looked at each other with a wild surmise— Silent, upon a peak in Darien.