To Charles Cowden Clarke Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


Oft have you seen a swan superbly frowningA
And with proud breast his own white shadow crowningA
He slants his neck beneath the waters brightB
So silently it seems a beam of lightB
Come from the galaxy anon he sportsC
With outspread wings the Naiad Zephyr courtsC
Or ruffles all the surface of the lakeD
In striving from its crystal face to takeD
Some diamond water drops and them to treasureE
In milky nest and sip them off at leisureE
But not a moment can he there insure themF
Nor to such downy rest can he allure themF
For down they rush as though they would be freeG
And drop like hours into eternityG
Just like that bird am I in loss of timeH
Whene'er I venture on the stream of rhymeH
With shatter'd boat oar snapt and canvass rentI
I slowly sail scarce knowing my intentI
Still scooping up the water with my fingersJ
In which a trembling diamond never lingersJ
By this friend Charles you may full plainly seeG
Why I have never penn d a line to theeG
Because my thoughts were never free and clearK
And little fit to please a classic earL
Because my wine was of too poor a savourL
For one whose palate gladdens in the flavourL
Of sparkling Helicon small good it wereL
To take him to a desert rude and bareL
Who had on Baiae's shore reclin'd at easeM
While Tasso's page was floating in a breezeM
That gave soft music from Armida's bowersJ
Mingled with fragrance from her rarest flowersJ
Small good to one who had by Mulla's streamN
Fondled the maidens with the breasts of creamN
Who had beheld Belphoebe in a brookO
And lovely Una in a leafy nookO
And Archimago leaning o'er his bookO
Who had of all that's sweet tasted and seenP
From silv'ry ripple up to beauty's queenP
From the sequester'd haunts of gay TitaniaQ
To the blue dwelling of divine UraniaQ
One who of late had ta'en sweet forest walksR
With him who elegantly chats and talksR
The wrong'd Libertas who has told you storiesM
Of laurel chaplets and Apollo s gloriesM
Of troops chivalrous prancing through a cityG
And tearful ladies made for love and pityG
With many else which I have never knownQ
Thus have I thought and days on days have flownQ
Slowly or rapidly unwilling stillS
For you to try my dull unlearned quillS
Nor should I now but that I've known you longT
That you first taught me all the sweets of songT
The grand the sweet the terse the free the fineQ
What swell'd with pathos and what right divineQ
Spenserian vowels that elope with easeM
And float along like birds o'er summer seasM
Miltonian storms and more Miltonian tendernessU
Michael in arms and more meek Eve s fair slendernessU
Who read for me the sonnet swelling loudlyG
Up to its climax and then dying proudlyG
Who found for me the grandeur of the odeV
Growing like Atlas stronger from its loadV
Who let me taste that more than cordial dramW
The sharp the rapier pointed epigramW
Shew'd me that epic was of all the kingA
Round vast and spanning all like Saturn's ringA
You too upheld the veil from Clio's beautyG
And pointed out the patriot's stern dutyG
The might of Alfred and the shaft of TellX
The hand of Brutus that so grandly fellX
Upon a tyrant's head Ah had I never seenQ
Or known your kindness what might I have beenQ
What my enjoyments in my youthful yearsU
Bereft of all that now my life endearsU
And can I e'er these benefits forgetY
And can I e'er repay the friendly debtY
No doubly no yet should these rhymings pleaseU
I shall roll on the grass with two fold easeU
For I have long time been my fancy feedingA
With hopes that you would one day think the readingA
Of my rough verses not an hour mis s pentI
Should it e'er be so what a rich contentI
Some weeks have pass'd since last I saw the spiresU
In lucent Thames reflected warm desiresU
To see the sun o'er peep the eastern dimnessU
And morning shadows streaking into slimnessU
Across the lawny fields and pebbly waterL
To mark the time as they grow broad and shorterL
To feel the air that plays about the hillsU
And sips its freshness from the little rillsU
To see high golden corn wave in the lightB
When Cynthia smiles upon a summer's nightB
And peers among the cloudlet's jet and whiteB
As though she were reclining in a bedZ
Of bean blossoms in heaven freshly shedZ
No sooner had I stepp'd into these pleasuresU
Than I began to think of rhymes and measuresU
The air that floated by me seem d to sayU
'Write thou wilt never have a better day '-
And so I did When many lines I d writtenQ
Though with their grace I was not oversmittenQ
Yet as my hand was warm I thought I d betterL
Trust to my feelings and write you a letterL
Such an attempt required an inspirationQ
Of a peculiar sort a consummationQ
Which had I felt these scribblings might have beenQ
Verses from which the soul would never weanQ
But many days have past since last my heartA2
Was warm d luxuriously by divine MozartA2
By Arne delighted or by Handel madden'dA2
Or by the song of Erin pierc d and sadden'dA2
What time you were before the music sittingA
And the rich notes to each sensation fittingA
Since I have walk'd with you through shady lanesU
That freshly terminate in open plainsU
And revel'd in a chat that ceased notA2
When at night fall among your books we gotA2
No nor when supper came nor after thatA2
Nor when reluctantly I took my hatA2
No nor till cordially you shook my handA2
Mid way between our homes your accents blandA2
Still sounded in my ears when I no moreL
Could hear your footsteps touch the grav ly floorL
Sometimes I lost them and then found againQ
You chang'd the footpath for the grassy plainQ
In those still moments I have wish'd you joysU
That well you know to honour 'Life's very toysU
'With him ' said I 'will take a pleasant charmB2
'It cannot be that ought will work him harm '-
These thoughts now come o er me with all their mightA2
Again I shake your hand friend Charles good nightA2

John Keats


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