Thursday 18 October 2007

As Profound as it Gets

One of my favorites.
I like the sentiment.

Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thou express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fring'd legend haunt about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter: therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal - yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearied,
For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.

O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," - that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

Hope you all have a lovely day xx


Anonymous said...

Keats! I love Keats. I used to study English and we only glimpsed at his work really. I wish we had spent more time on him. He was definitely one of favourites from the whole movement.

Anonymous said...

Blimey!! Did you type all that or did you copy if from somewhere? I have posted a video as a kindly tribute on my blog!!

Anonymous said...

What a great gift, to be able to express one's feelings about a treasure so eloquently that we all feel what he felt.
One of the best museums I have ever visited was Keats house in Rome.

Anonymous said...

Arcady, huh? We have some guys over here called that. Top stuff.

Anonymous said...

Oestrebunny- He is my favourite of the Romantics, glad you recognised him. Dark, brooding, yet strangely soulful.

Mutley- I sat here at 6.45 AM and typed it all.

jmb- I'd love to see it, I really would. Rome is a place I really want to see, partly for religous reasons, but also for cultural ones.
I just love the last lines. To me, that is true. Beauty IS truth, I think, on a deeper level.

James- Arcady- to me it is always one of those really mythic sounding names, it breathes shepherds and panpipes and fauns, dancing around amphoras of wine upon a verdant hillside.

You'll have to explain some more about the Russian Arcady.

Anonymous said...

Intense . . .

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. Thank you for reminding me of it.