The Poetical Works of John Keats/On Seeing a Lock of Milton's Hair

ON SEEING A LOCK OF MILTON'S HAIR.

Chief of organic numbers!
Old Scholar of the Spheres!
Thy spirit never slumbers,
But rolls about our ears

Forever and forever!
O what a mad endeavor
Worketh He,
Who to thy sacred and ennobled hearse
Would offer a burnt sacrifice of verse
And melody.
 
How heaven-ward thou soundest!
Live Temple of sweet noise,
And Discord unconfoundest,
Giving Delight new joys,
And Pleasure nobler pinions;
O where are thy dominions?

Lend thine ear
To a young Delian oath—aye, by thy soul,
By all that from thy mortal lips did roll,
And by the kernel of thy earthly love,
Beauty in things on earth and things above.
I swear!
When every childish fashion
Has vanished from my rhyme,
Will I, gray gone in passion,
Leave to an after-time,
Hymning and Harmony
Of thee and of thy works, and of thy life;
But vain is now the burning and the strife;
Pangs are in vain, until I grow high-rife
With old Philosophy,
And wed with glimpses of futurity.

For many years my offerings must be hush'd;
When I do speak, I'll think upon this hour,

Because I feel my forehead hot and flushed,
Even at the simplest vassal of my power,
A lock of thy bright hair,—
Sudden it came,
And I was startled when I caught thy name
Coupled so unaware;
Yet at the moment temperate was thy blood—
I thought I had beheld it from the flood!