Mapping Keats’s Progress: A Critical Chronology

Mapping Keats’s Progress
A Critical Chronology

When they were come unto the Faery’s court

  • When they were come unto the Faery’s court
  • They rang — no one at home — all gone to sport
  • And dance and kiss and love as faeries do,
  • For faeries be as humans, lovers true —
  • Amid the woods they were, so lone and wild,
  • Where even the robin feels himself exil’d
  • And where the very brooks as if afraid
  • Hurry along to some less magic shade.
  • “No one at home!” the fretful Princess cry’d
  • “And all for nothing such a dreary ride,
  • And all for nothing my new diamond cross,
  • No one to see my Persian feathers toss,
  • No one to see my Ape, my Dwarf, my Fool,
  • Or how I pace my Otaheitan mule.
  • Ape, Dwarf and Fool, why stand you gaping there?
  • Burst the door open, quick — or I declare
  • I’ll switch you soundly and in pieces tear.”
  • The Dwarf began to tremble and the Ape
  • Star’d at the Fool, the Fool was all agape;
  • The Princess grasp’d her switch, but just in time
  • The Dwarf with piteous face began to rhyme.
  • “O mighty Princess, did you ne’er hear tell
  • What your poor servants know but too, too well?
  • Know you the three great crimes in faery land?
  • The first, alas! poor Dwarf, I understand —
  • I made a whipstock of a faery’s wand;
  • The next is snoring in their company;
  • The next, the last, the direst of the three,
  • Is making free when they are not at home.
  • I was a Prince — a baby Prince — my doom
  • You see, I made a whipstock of a wand;
  • My top has henceforth slept in faery land.
  • He was a Prince, the Fool, a grown up prince,
  • But he has never been a king’s son since
  • He fell a-snoring at a faery ball.
  • Your poor Ape was a prince, and he, poor thing,
  • Picklock’d a faery’s boudoir — now no king,
  • But Ape — so pray your highness stay awhile;
  • ’Tis sooth indeed, we know it to our sorrow —
  • Persist and you may be an Ape tomorrow ”
  • While the Dwarf spake the princess all for spite
  • Peel’d the brown hazel twig to lilly white,
  • Clench’d her small teeth, and held her lips apart,
  • Try’d to look unconcern’d with beating heart.
  • They saw her highness had made up her mind,
  • A quavering like three reeds before the wind —
  • And they had had it, but, O happy chance,
  • The Ape for very fear began to dance,
  • And grinn’d as all his ugliness did ache.
  • She staid her vixen fingers for his sake,
  • He was so very ugly: then she took
  • Her pocket mirror and began to look
  • First at herself and then at him and then
  • She smil’d at her own beauteous face again.
  • Yet for all this — for all her pretty face —
  • She took it in her head to see the place.
  • Women gain little from experience
  • Either in lovers, husbands, or expence.
  • The more the beauty, the more fortune too:
  • Beauty before the wide world never knew —
  • So each Fair reasons — tho’ it oft miscarries.
  • She thought her pretty face would please the faeries.
  • “My darling Ape, I won’t whip you to-day —
  • Give me the picklock, sirrah, and go play.”
  • They all three wept — but counsel was as vain
  • As crying c’up, biddy to drops of rain.
  • Yet lingeringly did the sad Ape forth draw
  • The picklock from the pocket in his jaw.
  • The Princess took it and, dismounting straight,
  • Tripp’d in blue silver’d slippers to the gate
  • And touch’d the wards; the door full courteously
  • Opened — she enter’d with her servants three.
  • Again it clos’d and there was nothing seen
  • But the Mule grazing on the herbage green.
  • End of Canto xii
  • Canto the xiii
  • The Mule no sooner saw himself alone
  • Than he prick’d up his ears — and said “Well done;
  • At least, unhappy Prince, I may be free —
  • No more a princess shall side-saddle me.
  • O king of Otahaiete — tho’ a mule
  • Aye every inch a king “— tho’ ” Fortune’s fool” —
  • Well done — for by what Mr. Dwarfy said,
  • I would not give a sixpence for her head.”
  • Even as he spake he trotted in high glee
  • To the knotty side of an old pollard tree
  • And rubb’d his sides against the mossed bark
  • Till his girths burst and left him naked stark
  • Except his bridle — how get rid of that,
  • Buckled and tied with many a twist and plait?
  • At last it struck him to pretend to sleep
  • And then the thievish monkies down would creep
  • And filch the unpleasant trammels quite away.
  • No sooner thought of than adown he lay,
  • Shamm’d a good snore — the monkey-men descended,
  • And whom they thought to injure they befriended.
  • They hung his bridle on a topmost bough,
  • And off he went, run, trot, or any how.

× Cite this page:

MLA Style: Works Cited

Keats, John. “When they were come unto the Faery’s court.” Mapping Keats’s Progress: A Critical Chronology, by G. Kim Blank. Edition 3.26 , University of Victoria, 12 July 2023.

Chicago Style: Note

John Keats, “When they were come unto the Faery’s court,” Mapping Keats’s Progress: A Critical Chronology, Edition 3.26 , last modified 12th July 2023.

Chicago Style: Bibliography

Keats, John. “When they were come unto the Faery’s court.” Mapping Keats’s Progress: A Critical Chronology, Edition 3.26 , last modified 12th July 2023.