In this installment, Nickole Brown reads “Imitation of Spenser” by John Keats. Brown is the author of Sister, a novel-in-poems published by Red Hen Press (2007). She graduated from the M.F.A. Program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts and has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kentucky Foundation for Women, and the Kentucky Arts Council. She has served as the National Publicity Consultant for the Palm Beach Poetry Festival, as well as the Program Coordinator for the VCFA writing residency in Slovenia. She currently lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where she is a Lecturer at Bellarmine University and the University of Louisville. She is also on the faculty at the low-residency MFA program at Murray State, is the co-editor for the Marie Alexander Poetry Series at White Pine Press, and works as the National Publicity Consultant for Arktoi Books
John Keats, "Imitation of Spenser"
Now Morning from her orient chamber came,
And her first footsteps touch’d a verdant hill;
Crowning its lawny chest with amber flame,
Silv’ring the untainted gushes of its rill;
Which, pure from mossy beds, did down distill,
And after parting beds of simple flowers,
By many streams a little lake did fill,
Which round its marge reflected woven bowers,
And, in its middle space, a sky that never lowers.
There the king-fisher saw his plumage bright
Vieing with fish of brilliant dye below;
Whose silken fins, and golden scales’ light
Cast upward, through the waves, a ruby glow:
There saw the swan his neck of arched snow,
And oar’d himself along with majesty;
Sparkled his jetty eyes; his feet did show
Beneath the waves like Afric’s ebony,
And on his back a fay reclined volumptuously.
Ah! could I tell the wonders of an isle
That in that fairest lake had placed been,
I could e’en Dido of her grief beguile;
Or rob from aged Lear his bitter teen:
For sure so fair a place was never seen,
Of all that ever charm’d romantic eye:
It seem’d an emerald in the silver sheen
Of the bright waters; or as when on high,
Through clouds of fleecy white, laughs the coerulean sky.
And all around it dipp’d luxuriously
Slopings of verdure through the glossy tide,
Which, as it were in gentle amnity,
Rippled delighted up the flowery side;
As if to glean the ruddy tears, it tried,
Which fell profusely from the rose-tree stem!
Happily it was the workings of its pride,
In strife to throw upon the shore a gem
Outvieing all the buds in Flora’s diadem.