The Poetical Works of John Keats/To Spenser

TO SPENSER.[1]

Spenser! a jealous honorer of thine,
A forester deep in thy midmost trees,
Did, last eve, ask my promise to refine
Some English, that might strive thine ear to please.
But, Elfin-poet! 'tis impossible
For an inhabitant of wintry earth
To rise, like Phœbus, with a golden quill,
Fire-winged, and make a morning in his mirth.

It is impossible to 'scape from toil
O' the sudden, and receive thy spiriting:
The flower must drink the nature of the soil
Before it can put forth its blossoming:
Be with me in the summer days, and I
Will for thine honor and his pleasure try.


  1. From this point onwards, the poems printed in the present volume had not hitherto appeared in any of the editions of Keats's works.