Verse > Anthologies > Robert Bridges, ed. > The Spirit of Man: An Anthology

Robert Bridges, ed. (1844–1930).  The Spirit of Man: An Anthology.  1916.
From Sleep and Poetry

John Keats (1795–1821)
STOP 1 and consider! Life is but a day;
A fragile dewdrop on its perilous way
From a tree’s summit; a poor Indian’s sleep
While his boat hastens to the monstrous steep
Of Montmorenci. Why so sad a moan?        5
Life is the rose’s hope while yet unblown;
The reading of an ever-changing tale;
The light uplifting of a maiden’s veil;
A pigeon tumbling in clear summer air;
A laughing school boy, without grief or care,        10
Riding the springy branches of an elm …
Note 1. Keats. Sleep and Poetry. A good example of Keats’ objective style. ‘These images are of life considered first as a mere atomic movement in a general flux, then as a dream on the brink of destruction, then as a budding hope, then as an intellectual distraction, then as an ecstatic glimpse of beauty, and lastly as an instinctive pleasure.’ [back]

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