The Poetical Works of John Keats/A Portrait

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A PORTRAIT.[1]

"He is to weet a melancholy carle:
Thin in the waist, with bushy head of hair.
As hath the seeded thistle, when a parle
It holds with Zephyr, ere it sendeth fair
Its light balloons into the summer air;
Thereto his beard had not begun to bloom,
No brush had touched his chin, or razor sheer;
No care had touched his cheek with mortal doom,
But new he was, and bright, as scarf from Persian loom.
 
"Ne cared he for wine or half-and-half;
Ne cared he for fish, or flesh, or fowl;
And sauces held he worthless as the chaff;
He 'sdeigned the swine-head at the wassail-bowl;
Ne with lewd ribbalds sat he cheek by jowl;
Ne with sly lemans in the scorner's chair;
But after water-brooks this pilgrim's soul
Panted, and all his food was woodland air;
Though he would oft-times feast on gilliflowers rare.
 
"The slang of cities in no wise he knew,
Tipping the wink to him was heathen Greek;
He sipped no "olden Tom," or "ruin blue,"
Or Nantz, or cherry-brandy, drank full meek
By many a damsel brave, and rouge of cheek;
Nor did he know each agea watchman's beat,
Nor in obscured purlieus would he seek
For curled Jewesses, with ankles neat,
Who, as they walk abroad, make tinkling with their feet."

  1. These jocose verses relate to Keats's friend Mr. Brown.