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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.


By John Keats (1795–1821)

EVER let the Fancy roam,

Pleasure never is at home;

At a touch sweet pleasure melteth,

Like to bubbles when rain pelteth:

Then let wingèd Fancy wander

Through the thought still spread beyond her:

Open wide the mind’s cage door,

She’ll dart forth, and cloudward soar.

O sweet Fancy! let her loose;

Summer’s joys are spoilt by use,

And the enjoying of the Spring

Fades as does its blossoming;

Autumn’s red-lipped fruitage too,

Blushing through the mist and dew,

Cloys with tasting: what do then?

Sit thee by the ingle when

The sear fagot blazes bright,

Spirit of a winter’s night;

When the soundless earth is muffled,

And the cakèd snow is shuffled

From the plowboy’s heavy shoon;

When the Night doth meet the Noon

In a dark conspiracy

To banish Even from her sky.

Sit thee there, and send abroad,

With a mind self-overawed,

Fancy, high commissioned; send her!

She has vassals to attend her:

She will bring in spite of frost

Beauties that the earth had lost;

She will bring thee, altogether,

All delights of summer weather;

All the buds and bells of May,

From dewy sward or thorny spray;

All the heapèd Autumn’s wealth,

With a still, mysterious stealth;

She will mix these pleasures up

Like three fit wines in a cup,

And thou shalt quaff it: thou shalt hear

Distant harvest carols clear;

Rustle of the reapèd corn;

Sweet birds antheming the morn:

And in the same moment—hark!

’Tis the early April lark,

Or the rooks, with busy caw,

Foraging for sticks and straw.

Thou shalt at one glance behold

The daisy and the marigold;

White-plumed lilies, and the first

Hedge-grown primrose that hath burst;

Shaded hyacinth, alway

Sapphire queen of the mid-May;

And every leaf and every flower

Pearlèd with the self-same shower

Thou shalt see the field-mouse peep

Meagre from its cellèd sleep;

And the snake all winter-thin

Cast on sunny bank its skin;

Freckled nest-eggs thou shalt see

Hatching in the hawthorn-tree,

When the hen-bird’s wing doth rest

Quiet on her mossy nest;

Then the hurry and alarm

When the bee-hive casts its swarm;

Acorns ripe down-pattering,

While the autumn breezes sing.

O sweet Fancy! let her loose;

Everything is spoilt by use:

Quickly break her prison-string

And such joys as these she’ll bring.—

Let the wingèd Fancy roam,

Pleasure never is at home.