John Keats

(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821 / London, England)

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Fancy



Ever let the Fancy roam,
Pleasure never is at home:
At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth,
Like to bubbles when rain pelteth;
Then let winged Fancy wander
Through the thought still spread beyond her:
Open wide the mind's cage-door,
She'll dart forth, and cloudward soar.
O sweet Fancy! let her loose;
Summer's joys are spoilt by use,
And the enjoying of the Spring
Fades as does its blossoming;
Autumn's red-lipp'd fruitage too,
Blushing through the mist and dew,
Cloys with tasting: What do then?
Sit thee by the ingle, when
The sear faggot blazes bright,
Spirit of a winter's night;
When the soundless earth is muffled,
And the caked snow is shuffled
From the ploughboy's heavy shoon;
When the Night doth meet the Noon
In a dark conspiracy
To banish Even from her sky.
Sit thee there, and send abroad,
With a mind self-overaw'd,
Fancy, high-commission'd:--send her!
She has vassals to attend her:
She will bring, in spite of frost,
Beauties that the earth hath lost;
She will bring thee, all together,
All delights of summer weather;
All the buds and bells of May,
From dewy sward or thorny spray;
All the heaped Autumn's wealth,
With a still, mysterious stealth:
She will mix these pleasures up
Like three fit wines in a cup,
And thou shalt quaff it:--thou shalt hear
Distant harvest-carols clear;
Rustle of the reaped corn;
Sweet birds antheming the morn:
And, in the same moment, hark!
'Tis the early April lark,
Or the rooks, with busy caw,
Foraging for sticks and straw.
Thou shalt, at one glance, behold
The daisy and the marigold;
White-plum'd lillies, and the first
Hedge-grown primrose that hath burst;
Shaded hyacinth, alway
Sapphire queen of the mid-May;
And every leaf, and every flower
Pearled with the self-same shower.
Thou shalt see the field-mouse peep
Meagre from its celled sleep;
And the snake all winter-thin
Cast on sunny bank its skin;
Freckled nest-eggs thou shalt see
Hatching in the hawthorn-tree,
When the hen-bird's wing doth rest
Quiet on her mossy nest;
Then the hurry and alarm
When the bee-hive casts its swarm;
Acorns ripe down-pattering,
While the autumn breezes sing.

Oh, sweet Fancy! let her loose;
Every thing is spoilt by use:
Where's the cheek that doth not fade,
Too much gaz'd at? Where's the maid
Whose lip mature is ever new?
Where's the eye, however blue,
Doth not weary? Where's the face
One would meet in every place?
Where's the voice, however soft,
One would hear so very oft?
At a touch sweet Pleasure melteth
Like to bubbles when rain pelteth.
Let, then, winged Fancy find
Thee a mistress to thy mind:
Dulcet-ey'd as Ceres' daughter,
Ere the God of Torment taught her
How to frown and how to chide;
With a waist and with a side
White as Hebe's, when her zone
Slipt its golden clasp, and down
Fell her kirtle to her feet,
While she held the goblet sweet
And Jove grew languid.--Break the mesh
Of the Fancy's silken leash;
Quickly break her prison-string
And such joys as these she'll bring.--
Let the winged Fancy roam,
Pleasure never is at home.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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Comments about this poem (Fancy by John Keats )

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  • * Sunprincess * (1/17/2014 8:23:00 PM)

    ........I see a lot of work went into this poem...wonder how long it took him to write this one...
    ...................it's a fine creation... (Report) Reply

  • Thomas Vaughan Jones (1/17/2014 7:58:00 AM)

    At the risk of sounding like a philistine I have to say that this is not one of Keat's finest. It lacks assonance and the rhyme is extremely forced. He might have scribbled this on the back of a Greek Urn while he was waiting for Autumn. Sorry. (Report) Reply

  • Merna Ibrahim (6/8/2010 10:52:00 AM)

    The poem is brilliant and the rhyme as well! !
    I salute you for your perfect poems.... (Report) Reply

  • Sylva Portoian (1/19/2010 2:49:00 AM)

    I love Your poems... Keat, but I analyze your poem in 'mine' way,
    Can you analyze this sentence in your way, please?
    ' Pleasure never is at Home' (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (1/17/2010 1:37:00 AM)

    The fanciful roaming indeed gives joy of freedom as detailed by Keats! This reminds me of John Milton's L 'Allegro and Il Pensareso making survey of the world in Nature and human life fancifully and philosophically in wonderful immortal poems of all times! (Report) Reply

  • Herman Chiu (1/17/2010 1:32:00 AM)

    What more could someone say about pleasure?
    Fancy that - an explanation of a way of life Keats has thrown out in favor of freedom.
    Stunning descriptions! (Report) Reply

  • *Ordelia * (1/17/2006 7:53:00 AM)

    A beautiful poem by Keats, obviously inspired by Milton's poem duo L'Allegro
    and Il Penseroso. i; m much more inspired by the first stanza than the second, but just like in Milton's duo of poems, this seems to be portraying two different types of fancy for two different types of people.

    'These delights if thou canst give,
    Mirth, with thee I mean to live.'
    Milton, L'Allegro (Report) Reply

Read all 9 comments »

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