On Fame

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On Fame
by John Keats

On Fame (I)[edit]

Fame, like a wayward girl, will still be coy
  To those who woo her with too slavish knees,
But makes surrender to some thoughtless boy,
  And dotes the more upon the heart at ease;
She is Gipsey, will not speak to those
  Who have not learnt to be content without her;
A Jilt, whose ear was never whispered close,
  Who thinks they scandal her who talk about her -
A very Gipsey is she, Nilus-born,
  Sister-in-law to jealous Potiphar.
Ye lovesick bards! repay her scorn for scorn;
  Ye artists lovelorn! madmen that ye are,
Make your best bow to her and bid adieu -
Then, if she likes it, she will follow you.

On Fame (II)[edit]

"You cannot eat your cake and have it too." Proverb

How fevered is the man who cannot look
  Upon his mortal days with temperate blood,
Who vexes all the leaves of his life's book,
  And robs his fair name of its maidenhood;
It is as if the rose should pluck herself,
  Or the ripe plum finger its misty bloom,
As if a Naiad, like a meddling elf,
  Should darken her pure grot with muddy gloom;
But the rose leaves herself upon the briar,
  For winds to kiss and grateful bees to feed,
And the ripe plum still wears its dim attire;
    The undisturbed lake has crystal space;
    Why then should man, teasing the world for grace,
  Spoil his salvation for a fierce miscreed?