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273 241. Where swart Paynims pray. "Clasped like a missal in a land of Pagans : that is to say, where Christian prayer-books must not be seen, and are, therefore, doubly cherished for the danger." LEIGH HUNT.
274 250. Noiseless as fear in a wide wilderness. To me this is one of the numerous great lines in the poem. Without being able clearly to define how or why, the reader feels himself seized by the throat, as it were, with a sense of being alone in a wide, breathless desert, where nothing of evil is visible, but where some awful and almost supernatural stillness is thrillingly informed with a fear too .supreme for expression or comprehension. The suggestiveness of the line is all but worthy of Shakespeare.
274 262. " It is, apparently, as a poetical contrast to the fasting which was generally accepted as the due method by which a maiden was to prepare herself for the Vision, that the gorgeous supper-picture of st. xxx was introduced. Keats, who was Leigh Hunt's guest at the time this volume appeared, read aloud the passage to Hunt, with manifest pleasure in his work : the sole instance I can recall where the poet — modest in proportion to his greatness — yielded even to so innocent an impulse of vanity.” — PALGRAVE.
274 266. Soother. Smoother to the palate.
275 289–297. It was a pretty fancy thus to connect his own poem, La Belle Dame sans Merci, with a forgotten Provençal air.
278 360. Carpets. Of course an error, as carpets were not in use at the time indicated by the rest of the poem. Forman notes that in The King's Tragedy Dante Gabriel Rossetti avoids such an anachronism :
e The night-wind wailed round the empty room
The point is, however, one of no great importance.
Leigh Hunt's closing words upon this poem may not inaptly close these notes : " Here endeth the young and divine poet, but not the delight and gratitude of his readers; for, as he sings elsewhere,
A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”
Bards of Passion and of Mirth
Here all the summer could I stay
In a drear-nighted December .
Keen, fitful gusts are whisp'ring here and there .
Lo! I must tell a tale of chivalry
Much have I travell’d in the realms of gold .
No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist
O Goddess ! hear these tuneless numbers, wrung
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
The poetry of earth is never dead
Upon a Sabbath day it fell
What is more gentle than a wind in summer
Young Calidore is paddling o'er the lake