John Keats

On Seeing a Lock of Milton’s Hair. Ode

        Chief of organic Numbers! 
            Old Scholar of the Spheres! 
        Thy spirit never slumbers, 
            But rolls about our ears 
        For ever and for ever. 
        O, what a mad endeavour 
                Worketh he 
Who, to thy sacred and ennoblèd hearse, 
Would offer a burnt sacrifice of verse 
                And Melody! 

        How heavenward thou soundedst 
           Live Temple of sweet noise; 
        And discord unconfoundedst: 
            Give delight new joys, 
        And Pleasure nobler pinions - 
        O where are thy Dominions! 
                  Lend thine ear 
To a young delian oath - aye, by thy soul, 
By all that from thy mortal Lips did roll; 
And by the Kernel of thine earthly Love, 
Beauty, in things on earth and things above, 
                 I swear!
     When every childish fashion 
        Has vanish'd from my rhyme 
     Will I grey-gone in passion 
        Leave to an after-time 
               Hymning and harmony 
Of thee, and of thy works and of thy Life: 
But vain is now the bruning and the strife - 
Pangs are in vain - until I grow high-rife 
               With Old Philosophy 
And mad with glimpses at futurity! 

For many years my offerings must be hush'd: 
    When I do speak I'll think upon this hour, 
Because I feel my forehead hot and flush'd, 
    Even at the simplest vassal of thy Power, - 
      A Lock of thy bright hair! 
        Sudden it came, 
And I was startled when I caught thy name 
       Coupled so unaware - 
Yet, at the moment, temperate was my blood: 
Methought I had beheld it from the flood. 

spoken  Alan Reinhardt