Extracts from an Opera

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Extracts from an Opera  (1818) 
by John Keats


O! were I one of the Olympian twelve,
Their godships should pass this into a law -
That when a man doth set himself in toil
After some beauty veilèd far away,
Each step he took should make his lady's hand
More soft, more white, and her fair cheek more fair;
And for each briar-berry he might eat,
A kiss should bud upon the tree of love,
And pulp and ripen richer every hour,
To melt away upon the traveller's lips.


The sun, with his great eye,
Sees not so much as I;
And the moon, all silver-proud,
Might as well be in a cloud.

And O the spring - the spring!
I lead the life of a king!
Couched in the teeming grass,
I spy each pretty lass.

I look where no one dares,
And I stare where no one stares,
And when the night is nigh,
Lambs bleat my lullaby.


When wedding fiddles are a-playing,
        Huzza for folly O!
And when maidens go a-maying,
        Huzza, etc.
When a milk-pail is upset,
        Huzza, etc.
And the clothes left in the wet,
        Huzza, etc.
When the barrel's set abroach,
        Huzza, etc.
When Kate Eyebrow keeps a coach,
        Huzza, etc.
When the pig is over-roasted,
        Huzza, etc.
And the cheese is over-toasted,
        Huzza, etc.
When Sir Snap is with his lawyer,
        Huzza, etc.
And Miss Chip has kissed the sawyer,
        Huzza, etc.


O, I am frightened with most hateful thoughts!
Perhaps her voice is not a nightingale's
Perhaps her teeth are not the fairest pearl;
Her eye-lashes may be, for aught I know,
Not longer than the may-fly's small fan-horns;
There may not be one dimple on her hand -
And freckles many. Ah! a careless nurse,
In haste to teach the little thing to walk,
May have crumpled up a pair of Dian's legs,
And warped the ivory of a Juno's neck.

V SONG[edit]

The stranger lighted from his steed,
  And ere he spake a word,
He seized my lady's lily hand,
  And kissed it all unheard.

The stranger walked into the hall,
  And ere he spake a word,
And kissed my lady's cheery lips,
  And kissed 'em all unheard.

The stranger walked into the bower -
  But my lady first did go:
Ay, hand in hand into the bower,
  Where my lord's roses blow.

My lady's maid had a silken scarf,
  And a golden ring had she,
And a kiss from the stranger, as off he went
  Again on his fair palfrey.


Asleep! O sleep a little while, white pearl!
And let me kneel, and let me pray to thee,
And let me call Heaven’s blessing on thine eyes,
And let me breathe into the happy air,
That doth enfold and touch thee all about,
Vows of my slavery, my giving up,
My sudden adoration, my great love!