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Then the pied wind-flowers and the tulip tall,
And narcissi, the fairest among them all,
Who gaze on their eyes in the stream's recess,
Till they die of their own dear loveliness;

And the Naiad-like lily of the vale,

Whom youth makes so fair, and passion so pale,
That the light of its tremulous bells is seen
Through their pavilions of tender green;

And the hyacinth purple, and white, and blue,
Which flung from its bells a sweet peal anew
Of music so delicate, soft, and intense,

It was felt like an odour within the sense;

And the rose like a nymph to the bath addressed, Which unveiled the depth of her glowing breast, Till, fold after fold, to the fainting air

The soul of her beauty and love lay bare;

And the wand-like lily, which lifted up,
As a Mænad, its moonlight-coloured cup,
Till the fiery star, which is its eye,

Gazed through clear dew on the tender sky;

And the jessamine faint, and the sweet tuberose,
The sweetest flower for scent that blows;
And all rare blossoms from every clime,
Grew in that garden in perfect prime.

And on the stream whose inconstant bosom
Was prankt under boughs of embowering blossom,
With golden and green light slanting through
Their heaven of many a tangled hue.

Broad water-lilies lay tremulously,

And starry river-buds glimmered by,

And around them the soft stream did glide and dance
With a motion of sweet sound and radiance.

And the sinuous paths of lawn and of moss,
Which led through the garden along and across,
Some open at once to the sun and the breeze,
Some lost among bowers of blossoming trees—

Were all paved with daisies and delicate bells
As fair as the fabulous asphodels;

And flow'rets which, drooping as day drooped too,
Fell into pavilions, white, purple, and blue,
To roof the glow-worm from the evening dew.

And from this undefilèd Paradise

The flowers (as an infant's awakening eyes

Smile on its mother, whose singing sweet
Can first lull, and at last must awaken it)—

When heaven's blithe winds had unfolded them,
As mine-lamps enkindle a hidden gem,

Shone smiling to heaven, and every one
Shared joy in the light of the gentle sun;

For each one was interpenetrated

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With the light and the odour its neighbour shed,
Like young lovers whom youth and love make dear,
Wrapt and filled by their mutual atmosphere.

But the Sensitive Plant, which could give small fruit
Of the love which it felt from the leaf to the root,
Received more than all, it loved more than ever,
Where none wanted but it, could belong to the giver;


For the Sensitive Plant has no bright flower;
Radiance and odour are not its dower:

It loves, even like Love, its deep heart is full,
It desires what it has not-the beautiful!

The light winds which, from unsustaining wings,
Shed the music of many murmurings;

The beams which dart from many a star
Of the flowers whose hues they bear afar;

The plumèd insects swift and free,
Like golden boats on a sunny sea,
Laden with light and odour, which pass
Over the gleam of the living grass;

The unseen clouds of the dew, which lie
Like fire in the flowers till the sun rides high,
Then wander like spirits among the spheres,
Each cloud faint with the fragrance it bears;

The quivering vapours of dim noontide,
Which like a sea o'er the warm earth glide,
In which every sound, and odour, and beam,
Move as reeds in a single stream;

Each and all like ministering angels were
For the Sensitive Plant sweet joy to bear,
Whilst the lagging hours of the day went by,
Like windless clouds o'er a tender skv.

And when evening descended from heaven above, And the earth was all rest, and the air was all love, And delight, though less bright, was far more deep, And the day's veil fell from the world of sleep—

And the beasts, and the birds, and the insects were drowned

In an ocean of dreams without a sound;

Whose waves never mark, though they ever impress

The light sand which paves it—consciousness ;

(Only overhead the sweet nightingale

Ever sang more sweet as the day might fail,

And snatches of its Elysian chant

Were mixed with the dreams of the Sensitive Plant).

The Sensitive Plant was the earliest
Up-gathered into the bosom of rest;
A sweet child weary of its delight,
The feeblest and yet the favourite,
Cradled within the embrace of Night.


ON a Poet's lips I slept,

Dreaming like a love-adept

In the sound his breathing kept;

Nor seeks nor finds he mortal blisses,

But feeds on the aërial kisses

Of shapes that haunt Thought's wildernesses.
He will watch from dawn to gloom

The lake-reflected sun illume

The yellow bees in the ivy-bloom,

Nor heed nor see what things they be―

But from these create he can

Forms more real than living Man,

Nurslings of Immortality!


John Keats.



T. AGNES' Eve-Ah! bitter chill it was:


The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;

The hare limped trembling through the frozen grass,
And silent was the flock in woolly fold;

Numb were the beadsman's fingers while he told
His rosary, and while his frosted breath,
Like pious incense from a censer old,

Seemed taking flight for heaven without a death

Past the sweet Virgin's picture, while his prayer he saith.


His prayer he saith, this patient, holy man,
Then takes his lamp, and riseth from his knees,
And back returneth, meagre, barefoot, wan,
Along the chapel-aisle by slow degrees:

1 St. Agnes was a Roman virgin, who suffered martyrdom in the reign of Dioclesian. Her parents, a few days after her decease, are said to have had a vision of her, surrounded by angels and attended by a white lamb, which afterwards became sacred to her. In the Catholic Church, formerly, the nuns used to bring a couple of lambs to her altar during mass. The superstition is, that, by taking certain measures of divination, damsels may get a sight of their future husbands in a dream. The ordinary process seems to have been by fasting. Aubrey (as quoted in "Brand's Popular Antiquities") mentions another, which is, to take a row of pins, and pull them out one by one, saying a Paternoster; after which, upon going to bed, the dream is sure to ensue.

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