In youth I dreamed, as other youths have dreamt,
Of love, and thrummed an amateur guitar
To verses of my own,-a stout attempt
To hold communion with the Evening Star
I wrote a sonnet, rhymed it, made it scan.
Ah me! how trippingly those last lines ran.-
O Hesperus! O happy star! to bend
O'er Helen's bosom in the tranced west,
To match the hours heave by upon her breast,
And at her parted lip for dreams attend-
If dawn defraud thee, how shall I be deemed,
Who house within that bosom, and am dreamed?
For weeks I thought these lines remarkable;
For weeks I put on airs and called myself
A bard: till on a day, as it befell,
I took a small green Moxon from the shelf
At random, opened at a casual place,
And found my young illusions face to face
With this:-'Still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair Love's ripening breast
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest;
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever,-or else swoon to death.'
O gulf not to be crossed by taking thought!
O heights by toil not to be overcome!
Great Keats, unto your altar straight I brought
My speech, and from the shrine departed dumb.
-And yet sometimes I think you played it hard
Upon a rather hopeful minor bard.