'TIS a tarnished book and old,
Edges frayed and covers green!
But, between the covers, gold —
Gold and jewels in between.
And this written (see, O see!
How old Time has made it dim)
'For one song Keats gave to me
I kneel down and worship him.'
He who wrote these lines is dust;
All of him is passed away;
Some hand closed his eyes, I trust,
Drew the blind to darken day.
Did lips kiss him at the end,
Love-lips tremulous yet brave?
Had he mistress, child, or friend
To sow green grass upon his grave?
Nay, we know not — it is long
Since he tired of Life's deceits,
Closed his ears to sigh and song,
Parted with this book, JOHN KEATS.
Year by year the Poet thrives;
Summer smiles and winter weeps;
La Belle Dame Sans Merci lives,
But a heart that loved her sleeps.
Who would woeful go to miss
Roses red in thorns arrayed,
When he might with surer bliss
Love a milkwhite Devon maid?
Beauty kindles man's desire,
Beauty dwindles, growing faint;
But the girls who never tire
Are the girls that poets paint.
When the moon has taken wings
And the twilight hour is come,
Grey the woods, and no bird sings:
Grey the world beyond, and dumb:
Neither light is there nor breeze,
Rose to redden, thorn to pain;
Till, look! look! Among the trees
A sudden bird! a scarlet stain!
So he tired of Fate's defeats,
Life's dead trees and woodlands grim,
Till sudden-sweet a song of Keats
One magic moment gave to him.