Review of Keats's First Volume of Poems (1817), Page 6|
by Leigh Hunt (1817).
And we can only add, without any disrespect to the graver warmth of our young poet, that if Ought attempted it, Ought would find he had stout work to do with more than one person.
PAGE 6 OF 7.
The following passage in one of the Sonnets passes, with great happiness, from the mention of physical associations to mental; and concludes with a feeling which must have struck many a contemplative mind, that has found the sea-shore like a border, as it were, of existence. He is speaking of
The Ocean with it's vastness, it's blue green,
It's ships, it's rocks, it's caves,—it's hopes, it's fears,—
It's voice mysterious, which whoso hears
Must think on what will be, and what has been.
We have read somewhere the remark of a traveller, who said that when he was walking alone at night-time on the sea-shore, he felt conscious of the earth, not as the common every day sphere it seems, but as one of the planets, rolling round with him in the mightiness of space. The same feeling is common to imaginations that are not in need of similar local excitements.
The best poem is certainly the last and longest, entitled Sleep and Poetry. It originated in sleeping in a room adorned with busts and pictures, and is a striking specimen of the restlessness of the young poetical appetite, obtaining its food by the very desire of it, and glancing for fit subjects of creation "from earth to heaven." Nor do we like it the less for an impatient, and as it may be thought by some, irreverend assault upon the late French school of criticism and monotony, which has held poetry chained long enough to render it somewhat indignant when it has got free.
The following ardent passage is highly imaginative:—
An Aspiration after Poetry.
O Poesy! for thee I grasp my pen
That am not yet a glorious denizen
Of thy wide heaven; yet, to my ardent prayer,
Yield from thy sanctuary some clear air, &c.
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