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Sunday, May 6, 2012

On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer – John Keats

From time to time we have a guest editor.  The next four weeks’ poems are from our second guest editor, who has chosen to remain anonymous.  He writes:
 “I have enjoyed reading poems for years and have gained a lot from many of them. The poems I have chosen, which appear over the next four weeks, are very dear to me and express some of my important feelings perfectly.

 This is the first poem I really remember reading and the first, of very few, I have memorised. Particularly important to me are the last six lines. There have been a few occasions in my life when I felt I have seen a new planet and there have been two ‘Cortez moments’ when a really awesome, wonderful event has occurred."

On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer

Much have I travelled in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He stared at the Pacific - and all his men
Looked at each other with a wild surmise -
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

 John Keats

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