Review of Keats's First Volume of Poems (1817), Page 4|
by Leigh Hunt (1817).
We shall give some specimens of the least beauty first, and conclude with a noble extract or two that will shew the second, as well as the powers of our young poet in general. The harmony of his verses will appear throughout.
PAGE 4 OF 7.
The first poem consists of a piece of luxury in a rural spot, ending with an allusion to the story of Endymion, and to the origin of other lovely tales of mythology, on the ground suggested by Mr. Wordsworth in a beautiful passage of his Excursion. Here, and in the other largest poem, which closes the book, Mr. Keats is seen to his best advantage, and displays all that fertile power of association and imagery which constitutes the abstract poetical faculty as distinguished from every other. He wants age for a greater knowledge of humanity, but evidences of this also bud forth here and there.—To come however to our specimens:—
The first page of the book presents us with a fancy, founded, as all beautiful fancies are, on a strong sense of what really exists or occurs. He is speaking of
A gentle Air in Solitude.
A little noiseless noise among the leaves,
Born of the very sigh that silence heaves.
There too should be
The frequent chequer of a youngling tree,
That with a score of light green brethren shoots
From the quaint mossiness of aged roots:
Round which is heard a spring-head of clear waters.
Any body who has seen a throng of young beeches, furnishing those natural clumpy seats at the root, must recognize the truth and grace of this description. The remainder of this part of the poem, especially from—
Open afresh your round of starry folds,
Ye ardent marigolds!—
down to the bottom of page 5, affords an exquisite proof of close observation of nature as well as the most luxuriant fancy.
Lifting her silver rim
Above a cloud, and with a gradual swim
Coming into the blue with all her light.
Fir trees grow around,
Aye dropping their hard fruit upon the ground.
This last line is in the taste of the Greek simplicity.
• • • • •Dearest Romantic, to read the fifth page of this article,
kindly click on the link at the very bottom of this page.• • • • •