Fresher than berries of a mountain tree? But what is higher beyond thought than thee? Petrarch, outstepping from the shady green, Starts at the sight of Laura; nor can wean His eyes from her sweet face. The hearty grasp that sends a pleasant sonnet Into the brain ere one can think upon it; The silence when some rhymes are coming out; And when they're come, the very pleasant rout: The message certain to be done to-morrow. Most awfully intent The driver of those steeds is forward bent, And seems to listen: O that I might know All that he writes with such a hurrying glow. That whining boyhood should with reverence bow Ere the dread thunderbolt could? The basic premise of a Shakespearean sonnet is as follows: 1 In lines 1-12 a problem is presented; 2 Lines 13-14 contain a that solves the problem or answers the question posed. You might like to look at a part of Alexander Pope's verse as an example.
The very sense of where I was might well Keep Sleep aloof: but more than that there came Thought after thought to nourish up the flame Within my breast; so that the morning light Surprised me even from a sleepless night; And up I rose refresh'd, and glad, and gay, Resolving to begin that very day These lines; and howsoever they be done, I leave them as a father does his son. Also imaginings will hover Round my fire-side, and haply there discover Vistas of solemn beauty, where I'd wander In happy silence, like the clear Meander Through its lone vales; and where I found a spot Of awfuller shade, or an enchanted grot, Or a green hill o'erspread with chequer'd dress Of flowers, and fearful from its loveliness, Write on my tablets all that was permitted, All that was for our human senses fitted. Sometimes it gives a glory to the voice, And from the heart up-springs, rejoice! For Keats, small, slow acts of death occurred every day, and he chronicled these small mortal occurrences. More full of visions than a high romance? Here her altar shone, Een in this isle; and who could paragon The fervid choir that lifted up a noise Of harmony, to where it aye will poise Its mighty self of convoluting sound, Huge as a planet, and like that roll round, Eternally around a dizzy void? Happy he who trusts To clear Futurity his darling fame! More healthful than the leafiness of dales? O may these joys be ripe before I die. What is more tranquil than a musk-rose blowing In a green island, far from all mens knowing? That whining boyhood should with reverence bow Ere the dread thunderbolt could reach? Will not some say that I presumptuously Have spoken? Then there rose to view a fane Of liny marble, and thereto a train Of nymphs approaching fairly o'er the sward: One, loveliest, holding her white band toward The dazzling sun-rise: two sisters sweet Bending their graceful figures till they meet Over the trippings of a little child: And some are hearing, eagerly, the wild Thrilling liquidity of dewy piping.
A drainless shower Of light is poesy; 'tis the supreme of power; 'Tis might half slumb'ring on its own right arm. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's mandrakes. But ye were dead To things ye knew not of,- were closely wed To musty laws lined out with wretched rule And compass vile: so that ye taught a school Of dolts to smooth, inlay, and clip, and fit, Till, like the certain wands of Jacob's wit, Their verses tallied. Why were ye not awake? Did our old lamenting Thames Delight you? That whining boyhood should with reverence bow Ere the dread thunderbolt could reach me? Why were ye not awake? Life is the rose's hope yet unblown; The of an ever-changing tale; The uplifting of a maiden's veil; A tumbling in summer air; A school-boy, grief or care, Riding the branches of an elm. Soft closer of our eyes! For over them was seen a free display Of out-spread wings, and from between them shone The face of Poesy: from off her throne She overlook'd things that I scarce could tell.
At the end of the poem, the speaker returns to his ordinary life transformed in some way and armed with a new understanding. It has a glory, and naught else can share it: The thought thereof is awful, sweet, and holy, Chasing away all worldliness and folly; Coming sometimes like fearful claps of thunder, Or the low rumblings earth's regions under; And sometimes like a gentle whispering Of all the secrets of some wond'rous thing That breathes about us in the vacant air; So that we look around with prying stare, Perhaps to see shapes of light, aerial limning, And catch soft floatings from a faint-heard hymning; To see the laurel wreath, on high suspended, That is to crown our name when life is ended. He then describes how this greatness was betrayed by the artificiality of the neo-classical poets. Therefore should I Be but the essence of deformity, A coward, did my very eye-lids wink At speaking out what I have dared to think. Wreather of poppy buds, and weeping willows! Soft closer of our eyes! The walls were adorned with prints of famous pictures and busts of poets and patriots of old, and Keats surveyed them with evident delight. But now when shall I provide for my own household also? Round about were hung The glorious features of the bards who sung In other ages — cold and sacred busts Smiled at each other.
Easy was the task: A thousand handicraftsmen wore the mask Of Poesy. Or did ye wholly bid adieu To regions where no more the laurel grew? But ye were dead To things ye knew not of, — were closely wed To musty laws lined out with wretched rule And compass vile: so that ye taught a school Of dolts to smooth, inlay, and clip, and fit, Till, like the certain wands of Jacob's wit, Their verses tallied. Also will hover Round my fire-side, and there discover Vistas of beauty, I'd wander In silence, like the Meander Through its lone vales; and I a spot Of shade, or an grot, Or a hill o'erspread with chequer'd dress Of flowers, and from its loveliness, Write on my all that was permitted, All that was for our senses fitted. Life is the rose's hope while yet unblown; The reading of an ever-changing tale; The light uplifting of a maiden's veil; A pigeon tumbling in clear summer air; A laughing school-boy, without grief or care, Riding the springy branches of an elm. And to what shall I compare it? As she was wont, th' imagination Into most lovely labyrinths will be gone, And they shall be accounted poet kings Who simply tell the most heart-easing things. That whining boyhood should with reverence bow Ere the dread thunderbolt could reach? O ye whose charge It is to hover round our pleasant hills! The vibrant, organic beauties of nature were subjected to dry rules and artificiality.
The visions all are fled — the car is fled Into the light of heaven, and in their stead A sense of real things comes doubly strong, And, like a muddy stream, would bear along My soul to nothingness: but I will strive Against all doubtings, and will keep alive The thought of that same chariot, and the strange Journey it went. Men were thought wise who could not understand His glories; with a puling infant's force They sway'd about upon a rocking-horse, And thought it Pegasus. Things such as these are ever harbingers To trains of peaceful images: the stirs Of a swan's neck unseen among the rushes: A linnet starting all about the bushes: A butterfly, with golden wings broad parted, Nestling a rose, convuls'd as though it smarted With over pleasure- many, many more, Might I indulge at large in all my store Of luxuries: yet I must not forget Sleep, quiet with his poppy coronet: For what there may be worthy in these rhymes I partly owe to him: and thus, the chimes Of friendly voices had just given place To as sweet a silence, when I 'gan retrace The pleasant day, upon a couch at ease. It was a poet's house who keeps the keys Of pleasure's temple. The final lines of the poem refer more explicitly to death. So he lay with her that night.
Low murmurer of tender lullabies! They should not know thee, who athirst to gain A noble end, are thirsty every hour. In this stanza the lyrical voice calls to the sleep once again. From the clear space of ether, to the small Breath of new buds unfolding? More secret than a nest of nightingales? Sounds which will reach the Framer of all things, And die away in ardent mutterings. I see afar, O'ersailing the blue cragginess, a car And steeds with streamy manes- the charioteer Looks out upon the winds with glorious fear: And now the numerous tramplings quiver lightly Along a huge cloud's ridge; and now with sprightly Wheel downward come they into fresher skies, Tipt round with silver from the sun's bright eyes. And he lay with her that night. The blue Bared its eternal bosom, and the dew Of summer nights collected still to make The morning precious: beauty was awake! O ye whose charge It is to hover round our pleasant hills! Caught up in beautiful birdsong, the speaker imagines himself capable of using poetry to join the bird in the forest.
From the clear space of ether, to the small Breath of new buds unfolding? That blasphemed the bright Lyrist to his face, And did not know it, — no, they went about, Holding a poor, decrepid standard out Mark'd with most flimsy mottos, and in large The name of one Boileau! Therefore, according to the lyrical voice, having a Conscience, being Conscientious, is one of the most terrible things of daytime. Easy was the task: A thousand handicraftsmen wore the mask Of Poesy. Great Alfreds too, with anxious, pitying eyes, As if he always listened to the sighs Of the goaded world; and Kosciuskos worn By horrid suffrancemightily forlorn. If I do hide myself, it sure shall be In the very fane, the light of Poesy: If I do fall, at least I will be laid Beneath the silence of a poplar shade; And over me the grass shall be smooth shaven; And there shall be a kind memorial graven. Soft closer of our eyes! Why so sad a moan? What is more soothing than the pretty hummer That stays one moment in an open flower, And buzzes cheerily from bower to bower? More strange, more beautiful, more smooth, more regal, Than wings of swans, than doves, than dim-seen eagle? First he will pass the 'realm of Flora and old Pan,' and write simply a 'lovely tale'; then he will 'bid these joys farewell': 'Yes, I must pass them for a nobler life Where I may find the agonies, the strife Of human hearts. The lyrical voice is a passive agent who waits for the sleep to take him in that compassionate and tender scenario.
Therefore should I Be but the essence of deformity, A coward, did my very eyelids wink At speaking out what I have dared to think. A drainless shower Of light is poesy; 'tis the supreme of power; 'Tis might half slumb'ring on its own right arm. Yet I rejoice: a myrtle fairer than E'er grew in Paphos, from the bitter weeds Lifts its sweet head into the air, and feeds A silent space with ever-sprouting green. Low murmurer of tender lullabies! Sappho's meek head was there half smiling down At nothing; just as though the earnest frown Of over-thinking had that moment gone From off her brow, and left her all alone. Both poems use nature as a symbol to mark. Once again, newly fallen snow and pure ablution represents purity and contains a connotation of sexual purity, especially when put in context.