I stood tip-toe upon a little hill.

English Poems Index

I stood tip-toe upon a little hill. :

1 stood tip-toe upon, a little hill,

The air was cooling, and so very still,

That the sweet buds which with a modest pride

Bull droopingly, in slanting curve aside,

Their, scantly leaved, and finely tapering stems,

Had not yet lost those starry diadems

Caught from the early sobbing of the morn.

The clouds were pure and white as flocks new shorn,

And fresh from the clear brook; sweetly they slept

On the blue fields of heaven, and then there crept

A little noiseless noise among the leaves,

Born of the very sigh that silence heaves :

For not the faintest motion could be seen

Of all the shades that slanted o'er the green.

There was wide wand'ring for the greediest eye,

To peer about upon variety;

Far round the horizon's crystal air to skim,

And trace the dwindled edgings of its brim;

To picture out the quaint, and curious bending

Of a fresh woodland alley, never ending;

Or by the bowery clefts, and leafy shelves,

Guess where the jaunty streams refresh themselves.

I gazed awhile, and felt as light, and free

As though the fanning wings of Mercury

Had played upon my heels: I was light-hearted,

And many pleasures to my vision started;

So I straightway began to pluck a posed

Of luxuries bright, milky, soft and rosy.

John Keats

About The Poet :

John Keats (1795-1821) is considered to be among the greatest of English poets. The son of a livery stable keeper, Keats attended school at Enfield England. At the age of sixteen he was apprenticed to a surgeon. Keats gave up surgery to write poetry. His first volume of poems appeared in 1817. It included I stood tip-toe upon a little hill, Sleep and Poetry and the famous sonnet On First Looking into Chapman's Homer'. In the selected poem (which is the first part of a much longer poem) we get a good idea of Keats' love for nature, and his knowledge of it at first hand.

Words to Know :

Bowery : shady and leafy like a shelter

Diadems : crowning distinction or glory or jewelled headband

Dwindling : decreasing

Mercury : The Roman god who acted as a messenger between humans and gods. Mercury was said to have winged feet and flew swiftly from place to place, even to carry dreams to sleeping humans.

Posey : posy : a bunch of flowers

Quaint : strange or unusual especially in a pleasing or interesting way

Scantly : scantily : deficient or barely sufficient

Shorn : past participle of shear and having had something (hair, fleece) cut or removed

English Poems Index

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