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PREFACE.

Φάρμακον ήλθε, Βίων, ποτέ σαν στόμα, φάρμακον είδες:
Πώς τευ τοϊς χείλεσσι ποτέδραμε, κούκ έγλυκάνθη;
Τίς δε βρoτός τοσσούτον ανάμερος, ή κεράσαι τοι,
δούναι λαλέοντι το φάρμακον και έκφυγεν ηδάν.

MOSCHUS, EPITAPH. BION.

It is my intention to subjoin to the London edition of this poem, a criticism upon the clairns of its lamented object to be classed among the writers of the highest genius who have adorned our age. My known repugnance to the narrow principles of taste on which several of his earlier compositions were inodelled, prove at least that I am an impartial judge. I consider the fragment of “Hyperion," as second to nothing that was ever produced by a writer of the same years.

John Keats died at Rome, of a consumption, in his twentyfourth year, on the 27th of December, 1820, and was buried in the romantic and lonely cemetery of the protestants in that city, under the pyramid which is the tomb of Cestius, and the massy walls and towers, now mouldering and desolate, which formed the circuit of ancient Rome. The cemetery is an open space among the ruins, covered in winter with violets and daisies. It might make one in love with death, to think that one should be buried in so sweet a place.

The genius of the lamented person to whose memory I have dedicated these unworthy verses, was not less delicate and fragile than it was beautiful; and where canker-worms

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abound, what wonder, if its young flower was blighted in the bud? The savage criticism on his “ Endymion," which appeared in the Quarterly Review, produced the most violent effect on his susceptible mind; the agitation thus originated ended in the rupture of a blood-vessel in the lungs; a rapid consumption ensued; and the succeeding acknowledgments from more candid critics, of the true greatness of his powers, were ineffectual to heal the wound thus wantonly inflicted.

It may be well said, that these wretched men know not what they do. They scatter their insults and their slanders without heed as to whether the poisoned shaft lights on a heart made callous by many blows, or one, like Keats's, composed of more penetrable stuff. One of their associates is, to my knowledge, a most base and unprincipled calum. niator. As to “Endymion," was it a poem, whatever might be its defects, to be treated contemptuously by those who had celebrated with various degrees of complacency and panegyric, “Paris,” and “Woman," and a “Syrian Tale," and Mrs. Lefanu, and Mr. Barret, and Mr. Howard Payne, and a long list of the illustrious obscure? Are these the men, who in their venal good-nature, presumed to draw a parallel between the Rev. Mr. Milman and Lord Byron ? What gnat did they strain at here, after having swallowed all those camels? Against what woman taken in adultery dares the foremost of these literary prostitutes to cast his opprobrious stone? Miserable man! you, one of the meanest, have wantonly defaced one of the noblest specimens of the workmanship of God. Nor shall it be your excuse, that, murderer as you are, you have spoken daggers, but used

none.

The circumstances of the closing scene of poor Keats's life were not måde known to me until the Elegy was ready for the press. I am given to understand that the wound which his sensitive spirit had received from the criticism of "Endymion” was exasperated at the bitter sense of unreqnited benefits; the poor fellow seems to have been hooted from the stage of life, no less by those on whom he had wasted the promise of his genius, than those on whom he had lavished his fortune and his care. He was accompanied to Rome, and attended in his last illness by Mr. Severn, a young artist of the highest promise, who, I have been informed, “almost risked his own life, and sacrificed every prospect, to unwearied attendance upon his dying friend." Had I known these circumstances before the completion of my poem, I should have been tempted to add my feeble tribute of applause to the more solid recompense which the virtuous man finds in the recollection of his own motives. Mr. Severn can dispense with a reward from “such stuff as dreams are made of.” His conduct is a golden augury of the success of his future career-may the unextinguished Spirit of his illustrious friend animate the creations of his pencil, and plead against Oblivion for his name!

ADONAIS.

I.

I WEEP for ADONAIS—he is dead !
Oh, weep for Adonais ! though our tears
Thaw not the frost which binds so dear a head !
And thou, sad Hour, selected from all years
To mourn our loss, rouse thy obscure compeers,
And teach them thine own sorrow; say: with me
Died Adonais ; till the Future dares

Forget the Past, his fate and fame shall be
An echo and a light unto eternity!

II.

Where wert thou, mighty Mother, when he lay,
When thy son lay, pierced by the shaft which flies
In darkness? where was lorn Urania
When Adonais died? With veiled eyes,
'Mid listening Echoes, in her Paradise
She sate, while one, with soft enamoured breath,
Rekindled all the fading melodies,
With which, like flowers that mock the corse

beneath, He had adorned and hid the coming bulk of death.

III.

Oh, weep for Adonais—he is dead !
Wake, melancholy Mother, wake and weep!
Yet wherefore? Quench within their burning bed
Thy fiery tears, and let thy loud heart kcep,
Like his, a mute and uncomplaining sleep;
For he is gone, where all things wise and fair
Descend :-oh, dream not that the amorous Deep

Will yet restore him to the vital air;:
Death feeds on his mute voice, and laughs at our

despair.

IV.

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Most musical of mourners, weep again!
Lament anew, Urania !-He died,
Who was the Sire of an immortal strain,
Blind, old, and lonely, when his country's pride
The priest, the slave, and the liberticide,
Trampled and mocked with many a loathed rite
Of lust and blood; he went, unterrified,

Into the gulf of death; but his clear Sprite
Yet reigns o’er earth; the third among the sons of

light.

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Most musical of mourners, weep anew!
Not all to that bright station dared to climb:
And happier they their happiness who knew,
Whose tapers yet burn through that night of

time
In which suns perished; others more sublime,

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