Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Georgian Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Georgian Verse.  1909.
 
Bards of Passion and of Mirth
By John Keats (1795–1821)
 
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,
Double-lived in regions new?
Yes, and those of heaven commune        5
With the spheres of sun and moon;
With the noise of fountains wond’rous,
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
Brows’d 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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