Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
  
John Keats. 1795–1821
  
630. Bards of Passion and of Mirth
Written on the Blank Page before Beaumont and Fletcher's
Tragi-Comedy 'The Fair Maid of the Inn'
  
BARDS of Passion and of Mirth, 
Ye have left your souls on earth! 
Have ye souls in heaven too, 
Doubled-lived in regions new? 
Yes, and those of heaven commune         5
With the spheres of sun and moon; 
With the noise of fountains wondrous, 
And the parle of voices thund'rous; 
With the whisper of heaven's trees 
And one another, in soft ease  10
Seated on Elysian lawns 
Browsed by none but Dian's fawns; 
Underneath large blue-bells tented, 
Where the daisies are rose-scented, 
And the rose herself has got  15
Perfume which on earth is not; 
Where the nightingale doth sing 
Not a senseless, trancèd thing, 
But divine melodious truth; 
Philosophic numbers smooth;  20
Tales and golden histories 
Of heaven and its mysteries. 
 
  Thus ye live on high, and then 
On the earth ye live again; 
And the souls ye left behind you  25
Teach us, here, the way to find you, 
Where your other souls are joying, 
Never slumber'd, never cloying. 
Here, your earth-born souls still speak 
To mortals, of their little week;  30
Of their sorrows and delights; 
Of their passions and their spites; 
Of their glory and their shame; 
What doth strengthen and what maim. 
Thus ye teach us, every day,  35
Wisdom, though fled far away. 
 
  Bards of Passion and of Mirth, 
Ye have left your souls on earth! 
Ye have souls in heaven too, 
Double-lived in regions new!  40
 
 
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