Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VI. Fancy: Sentiment
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VI. Fancy.  1904.
Poems of Fancy: I. The Imagination
John Keats (1795–1821)
EVER let the Fancy roam,
Pleasure never is at home:
At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth,
Like to bubbles when rain pelteth;
Then let wingèd Fancy wander        5
Through the thought still spread beyond her:
Open wide the mind’s cage-door,
She ’ll dart forth, and cloudward soar.
O sweet Fancy! let her loose;
Summer’s joys are spoilt by use,        10
And the enjoying of the Spring
Fades as does its blossoming:
Autumn’s red-lipped fruitage too,
Blushing through the mist and dew,
Cloys with tasting. What do then?        15
Sit thee by the ingle, when
The sear fagot blazes bright,
Spirit of a winter’s night;
When the soundless earth is muffled,
And the cakèd snow is shuffled        20
From the ploughboy’s heavy shoon;
When the Night doth meet the Noon
In a dark conspiracy
To banish Even from her sky.
—Sit thee there, and send abroad        25
With a mind self-overawed
Fancy, high-commissioned:—send her!
She has vassals to attend her;
She will bring, in spite of frost,
Beauties that the earth hath lost;        30
She will bring thee, all together,
All delights of summer weather;
All the buds and bells of May
From dewy sward or thorny spray;
All the heapèd Autumn’s wealth,        35
With a still, mysterious stealth;
She will mix these pleasures up
Like three fit wines in a cup,
And thou shalt quaff it;—thou shalt hear
Distant harvest-carols clear;        40
Rustle of the reapèd corn;
Sweet birds antheming the morn;
And in the same moment—hark!
’T is the early April lark,
Or the rooks, with busy caw,        45
Foraging for sticks and straw.
Thou shalt, at one glance, behold
The daisy and the marigold;
White-plumed lilies, and the first
Hedge-grown primrose that hath burst;        50
Shaded hyacinth, alway
Sapphire queen of the mid-May;
And every leaf, and every flower
Pearlèd with the self-same shower.
Thou shalt see the field-mouse peep        55
Meagre from its cellèd sleep;
And the snake all winter-thin
Cast on sunny bank its skin;
Freckled nest-eggs thou shalt see
Hatching in the hawthorn tree,        60
When the hen-bird’s wing doth rest
Quiet on her mossy nest;
Then the hurry and alarm
When the beehive casts its swarm;
Acorns ripe down-pattering        65
While the autumn breezes sing.
O sweet Fancy! let her loose;
Everything is spoilt by use:
Where ’s the cheek that doth not fade,
Too much gazed at? Where ’s the maid        70
Whose lip mature is ever new?
Where ’s the eye, however blue,
Doth not weary? Where ’s the face
One would meet in every place?
Where ’s the voice, however soft,        75
One would hear so very oft?
At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth
Like to bubbles when rain pelteth.
Let then wingèd Fancy find
Thee a mistress to thy mind:        80
Dulcet-eyed as Ceres’ daughter,
Ere the god of torment taught her
How to frown and how to chide;
With a waist and with a side
White as Hebe’s, when her zone        85
Split its golden clasp, and down
Fell her kirtle to her feet
While she held the goblet sweet,
And Jove grew languid.—Break the mesh
Of the Fancy’s silken leash;        90
Quickly break her prison-string,
And such joys as these she ’ll bring:
—Let the wingèd Fancy roam,
Pleasure never is at home.

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