Mapping Keats’s Progress: A Critical Chronology

Mapping Keats’s Progress
A Critical Chronology

Fragment of a Castle-builder

  • CASTLE-BUILDER
  • In short, Convince you that however wise
  • You may have grown from convent libraries,
  • I have, by many yards at least, been carding
  • A longer skein of wit in Convent Garden.
  • BERNADINE
  • A very Eden that same place must be!
  • Pray what demesne? Whose lordship’s legacy?
  • What, have you convents in that Gothic isle?
  • Pray pardon me, I cannot help but smile.
  • CASTLE-BUILDER
  • Sir, Convent Garden is a monstrous beast
  • From morning, four o’clock, to twelve at noon,
  • It swallows cabbages without a spoon,
  • And then, from 12 till two, this Eden made is
  • A promenade for cooks and ancient ladies;
  • It swallows chairmen, damns, and hackney coaches.
  • In short, sir, ’tis a very place for monks,
  • For it containeth twenty thousand punks,
  • Which any man may number for his sport,
  • By following fat elbows up a court.
  • *******
  • In such like nonsense would I pass an hour
  • With random friar, or rake upon his tour,
  • Or one of few of that imperial host
  • Who came unmaimed from the Russian frost.
  • To-night I’ll have my friar — let me think
  • About my room, — I’ll have it in the pink;
  • It should be rich and sombre, and the moon,
  • Just in its mid-life in the midst of June,
  • Should look thro’ four large windows and display
  • Clear, but for golden vases in the way,
  • Their glassy diamonding on Turkish floor;
  • The tapers keep aside, an hour and more,
  • To see what else the moon alone can show;
  • While the night-breeze doth softly let us know
  • My terrace is well bower’d with oranges.
  • Upon the floor the dullest spirit sees
  • A guitar-ribband and a lady’s glove
  • Beside a crumple-leaved tale of love;
  • A tambour-frame, with Venus sleeping there,
  • All finish’d but some ringlets of her hair;
  • A viol, bowstrings torn, cross-wise upon
  • A glorious folio of Anacreon;
  • A skull upon a mat of roses lying,
  • Ink’d purple with a song concerning dying;
  • An hour-glass on the turn, amid the trails
  • Of passion-flower; — just in time there sails
  • A cloud across the moon, — the lights bring in!
  • And see what more my phantasy can win.
  • It is a gorgeous room, but somewhat sad;
  • The draperies are so as tho’ they had
  • Been made for Cleopatra’s winding-sheet;
  • And opposite the stedfast eye doth meet
  • A spacious looking-glass, upon whose face,
  • In letters raven-sombre, you may trace
  • Greek busts and statuary have ever been
  • Held, by the finest spirits, fitter far
  • Than vase grotesque and Siamesian jar;
  • Therefore ’tis sure a want of Attic taste
  • That I should rather love a Gothic waste
  • Of eyesight on cinque-coloured potter’s clay,
  • Than on the marble fairness of old Greece.
  • My table-coverlits of Jason’s fleece
  • And black Numidian sheep-wool should be wrought,
  • Gold, black, and heavy, from the lama brought.
  • My ebon sofa should delicious be
  • With down from Leda’s cygnet progeny.
  • My pictures all Salvator’s, save a few
  • Of Titian’s portraiture, and one, tho’ new,
  • Of Haydon’s in its fresh magnificence.
  • My wine — O good! ’tis here at my desire,
  • And I must sit to supper with my friar.

🗙 Cite this page:

MLA Style: Works Cited

Keats, John. “Fragment of a Castle-builder.” Mapping Keats’s Progress: A Critical Chronology, by G. Kim Blank. Edition 3.3 , University of Victoria, 5 September 2020. https://johnkeats.uvic.ca/poem_fragment_of_a_castle-builder.html.

Chicago Style: Note

John Keats, “Fragment of a Castle-builder,” Mapping Keats’s Progress: A Critical Chronology, Edition 3.3 , last modified 5th September 2020. https://johnkeats.uvic.ca/poem_fragment_of_a_castle-builder.html.

Chicago Style: Bibliography

Keats, John. “Fragment of a Castle-builder.” Mapping Keats’s Progress: A Critical Chronology, Edition 3.3 , last modified 5th September 2020. https://johnkeats.uvic.ca/poem_fragment_of_a_castle-builder.html.