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John Keats
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On seeing a Lock of Milton's Hair
by John Keats (January 21st, 1818).

Chief of organic numbers!
Old Scholar of the Spheres!
Thy spirit never slumbers,
But rolls about our ears
For ever and for ever!
O what a mad endeavor
                   Worketh he,
Who to thy sacred and ennobled hearse
Would offer a burnt sacrifice of verse
                   And melody.

How heavenward thou soundest!
Live Temple of sweet noise.
And Discord unconfoundest,
Giving Delight new joys,
And Pleasure nobler pinions:
O where are thy dominions?

                   Lend thine ear
To a young Delian oath—ay, by thy soul,
By all that from thy earthly love,
Beauty in things on earth and things above,
                   I swear!

       When every childish fashion
       Has vanished from my rhyme,
       Will I, grey gone in passion,
       Leave to an after-time
       Hymning and Harmony
Of thee and of thy works, and of thy life;
But vain is now the burning and the strife;
Pangs are in vain, until I grow high-rife
       With old Philosophy,
And mad with glimpses of futurity.

For many years in my offerings must be hush'd;
When I do speak, I'll think upon this hour,
Because I feel my forehead hot and flushed,
Even at the simplest vassal of thy power,
       A lock of thy bright hair,—
       Sudden it came,
And I was startled when I caught thy name
       Coupled so unaware;
Yet at the moment temperate was my blood—
I thought I had beheld it from the flood!


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