Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
By 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 plowboy’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 had lost;        30
She will bring thee, altogether,
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!
’Tis 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 bee-hive casts its swarm;
Acorns ripe down-pattering,        65
While the autumn breezes sing.
  O sweet Fancy! let her loose;
Everything is spoilt by use:
Quickly break her prison-string
And such joys as these she’ll bring.—        70
Let the wingèd Fancy roam,
Pleasure never is at home.

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