Devon Maids







The Hyperion Chronicles
"Try not to tip over the Velvet Rope"


#512 John Keats Was a Sick Twisted Pervert"



When I was in AP English back in high school, I wrote a pager called "John Keats was a Sick Twisted Pervert." My point (as I arrogantly saw it at the time), is that using "quotations" and citations from the text of literature is overrated. Anybody could prove anything, was my call.

(I was right and wrong. People do pull things out of context all the time, while on the flip-side, people who just say "well, I felt...." without evidence drive me nuts.)


In writing my paper, I pulled every trick in the book, "interpreting" Keats's various works as sexually and crassly as possible, supposedly proving his deviant nature. My teacher, a great Keats fan, was not amused, and gave me a C+, the only C I ever got on a paper. I felt she had missed my point. She felt I ignored her assignment. (Also, I dated and then childishly broke up with her daughter. To this day I wonder if that was a factor.)


Anyway, other than the Cosmic injustice of the "C," I haven't thought a lot about Keats. I certainly never thought a man earnest enough to wax rhapsodic about ceramic pot was all that dangerous.


More than one seem to know the love of a good urn


Until this morning. I'm behind in my "Poem A Day" reading, and happened to catch one from last week: "Where Be Ye Going, You Devon Maid?" by John Keats. I have to be in the right mood to enjoy Keats and his ilk, so I was prepared to skim through it and discard. Here, take a look:


WHERE BE YE GOING, YOU DEVON MAID?
John Keats

I would so look good in the past with my cane and my facial hair


Where be ye going, you Devon maid?

And what have ye there i' the basket?

Ye tight little fairy, just fresh from the dairy,

Will ye give me some cream if I ask it?


I love your meads, and I love your flowers,

And I love your junkets mainly,

But 'hind the door, I love kissing more,

O look not so disdainly!


I love your hills, and I love your dales,

And I love your flocks a-bleating;

But O, on the heather to lie together,

With both our hearts a-beating!


I'll put your basket all safe in a nook,

Your shawl I'll hang up on this willow,

And we will sigh in the daisy's eye,

And kiss on a grass-green pillow.



Whoa!

All I can say is, my AP English teacher owes me one hellavon apology. (I think I just made the word "Hellavon" up. Feel free to use it.) John Keats
is the sexual deviant I satirically painted him to be! Only, this time around, I'm not wagging my finger in condemnation. I'm taking notes, baby!

Let's look at the poem again, with a more discerning "English Class" flavor. I promise to provide evidence, but this time, there is no way I'm taking it out of context.




WHERE BE YE GOING, YOU DEVON MAID?
John Keats


Where be ye going, you Devon maid?
And what have ye there i' the basket?
[Oblique vagina reference]
Ye tight little fairy, just fresh from the dairy,
[Tight has to be reference to virginity. Fresh from the dairy implies she just stopped breast-feeding, hyperbole for saying the girl is young]
Will ye give me some cream if I ask it?
[Obvious sex reference. Additionally: In the time of Keats the slang for all things Gay was quite a bit different, but in a modern context this first stanza could have just as easily been on a Queer as Folk Poetry Night.]


I got your tight little fairy.....right here


I love your meads, and I love your flowers, [Let's see. Meads are honeyed perfumed drinks, and flowers, also fragarant, are a common poetic term for the hymen or the who female nether region altogether]
And I love your junkets mainly,
[A junket is a custard made out of milk. I think we know where he's going here.]
But 'hind the door, I love kissing more,

O look not so disdainly!
[Loosely Translated: "Don't cock-block."]



I love your hills, and I love your dales, [A hill juts up from the land, where a dale juts down. In other words, he likes her curves!]
And I love your flocks a-bleating;
[You got me on flocks. Maybe a the "wool" is a reference to the pubis, but I think that's likely a stretch]
But O, on the heather to lie together,

With both our hearts a-beating!
[If you don't know what these last two lines mean, you're in the wrong poem, buddy!]


I'll put your basket all safe in a nook, ["Basket" may be another vagina reference, or he may even be slying reassuring the lady in question that he'll support whatever bastards this union produces]
Your shawl I'll hang up on this willow,
[If that's not a "take off your clothes" references, I've never seen one.]
And we will sigh in the daisy's eye,
[I'm pretty sure that Keats is offering to whisper prayers in the holiest of holies, if you know what I mean. And lest you think I'm imagining things, glance below for what a "Daisy's Eye" looks like.]
And kiss on a grass-green pillow.
[I'm sorry, but women didn't shave "down there" back then, so while I have been the model of restraint not over-interpreting so far, I'm going to ahead and declare that, centuries before men did such things, John Keats is quite the Cunning Linguist.]


Hyperion
October 8, 2008


This column was originally a Hyperion-X, but I cut down some of the language (and "interpretation") to earn the Family-Friendly rating. I also had to cut some of the pictures. They are art, but they are.....erotic. I put them on my blog if you're interested.



I didn't know the word Daisy had such a sordid past.
I'm now reconsidering what Val Kilmer meant when he kept saying it in TOMBSTONE.

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