Mapping Keats’s Progress: A Critical Chronology

Mapping Keats’s Progress
A Critical Chronology

Hyperion: A Fragment. BOOK II

  • Just at the self-same beat of Time’s wide wings
  • Hyperion slid into the rustled air,
  • And Saturn gain’d with Thea that sad place
  • Where Cybele and the bruised Titans mourn’d.
  • It was a den where no insulting light
  • Could glimmer on their tears; where their own groans
  • They felt, but heard not, for the solid roar
  • Of thunderous waterfalls and torrents hoarse,
  • Pouring a constant bulk, uncertain where.
  • Crag jutting forth to crag, and rocks that seem’d
  • Ever as if just rising from a sleep,
  • Forehead to forehead held their monstrous horns;
  • And thus in thousand hugest phantasies
  • Made a fit roofing to this nest of woe.
  • Instead of thrones, hard flint they sat upon,
  • Couches of rugged stone, and slaty ridge
  • Stubborn’d with iron. All were not assembled:
  • Some chain’d in torture, and some wandering.
  • Coeus, and Gyges, and Briareus,
  • Typhon, and Dolor, and Porphyrion,
  • With many more, the brawniest in assault,
  • Were pent in regions of laborious breath;
  • Dungeon’d in opaque element, to keep
  • Their clenched teeth still clench’d, and all their limbs
  • Lock’d up like veins of metal, crampt and screw’d;
  • Without a motion, save of their big hearts
  • Heaving in pain, and horribly convuls’d
  • With sanguine feverous boiling gurge of pulse.
  • Mnemosyne was straying in the world;
  • Far from her moon had Phoebe wandered;
  • And many else were free to roam abroad,
  • But for the main, here found they covert drear.
  • Scarce images of life, one here, one there,
  • Lay vast and edgeways; like a dismal cirque
  • Of Druid stones, upon a forlorn moor,
  • When the chill rain begins at shut of eve,
  • In dull November, and their chancel vault,
  • The heaven itself, is blinded throughout night.
  • Each one kept shroud, nor to his neighbour gave
  • Or word, or look, or action of despair.
  • Creu’s was one; his ponderous iron mace
  • Lay by him, and a shatter’d rib of rock
  • Told of his rage, ere he thus sank and pined.
  • Iapetus another; in his grasp,
  • A serpent’s plashy neck; its barbed tongue
  • Squeez’d from the gorge, and all its uncurl’d length
  • Dead; and because the creature could not spit
  • Its poison in the eyes of conquering Jove.
  • Next Cottus; prone he lay, chin uppermost,
  • As though in pain; for still upon the flint
  • He ground severe his skull, with open mouth
  • And eyes at horrid working. Nearest him
  • Asia, born of most enormous Caf,
  • Who cost her mother Tellus keener pangs,
  • Though feminine, than any of her sons:
  • More thought than woe was in her dusky face,
  • For she was prophesying of her glory;
  • And in her wide imagination stood
  • Palm-shaded temples, and high rival fanes,
  • By Oxus or in Ganges’ sacred isles.
  • Even as Hope upon her anchor leans,
  • So leant she, not so fair, upon a tusk
  • Shed from the broadest of her elephants.
  • Above her, on a crag’s uneasy shelve,
  • Upon his elbow rais’d, all prostrate else,
  • Shadow’d Enceladus; once tame and mild
  • As grazing ox unworried in the meads;
  • Now tiger-passion’d, lion-thoughted, wroth,
  • He meditated, plotted, and even now
  • Was hurtling mountains in that second war,
  • Not long delay’d, that scar’d the younger Gods
  • To hide themselves in forms of beast and bird.
  • Not far hence Atlas; and beside him prone
  • Phorcus, the sire of Gorgons. Neighbour’d close
  • Oceanus, and Tethys, in whose lap
  • Sobb’d Clymene among her tangled hair.
  • In midst of all lay Themis, at the feet
  • Of Ops the queen all clouded round from sight;
  • No shape distinguishable, more than when
  • Thick night confounds the pine-tops with the clouds:
  • And many else whose names may not be told.
  • For when the Muse’s wings are air-ward spread,
  • Who shall delay her flight? And she must chaunt
  • Of Saturn, and his guide, who now had climb’d
  • With damp and slippery footing from a depth
  • More horrid still. Above a sombre cliff
  • Their heads appear’d, and up their stature grew
  • Till on the level height their steps found ease:
  • Then Thea spread abroad her trembling arms
  • Upon the precincts of this nest of pain,
  • And sidelong fix’d her eye on Saturn’s face:
  • There saw she direst strife; the supreme God
  • At war with all the frailty of grief,
  • Of rage, of fear, anxiety, revenge,
  • Remorse, spleen, hope, but most of all despair.
  • Against these plagues he strove in vain; for Fate
  • Had pour’d a mortal oil upon his head,
  • A disanointing poison: so that Thea,
  • Affrighted, kept her still, and let him pass
  • First onwards in, among the fallen tribe.
  • As with us mortal men, the laden heart
  • Is persecuted more, and fever’d more,
  • When it is nighing to the mournful house
  • Where other hearts are sick of the same bruise;
  • So Saturn, as he walk’d into the midst,
  • Felt faint, and would have sunk among the rest,
  • But that he met Enceladus’s eye,
  • Whose mightiness, and awe of him, at once
  • Came like an inspiration: and he shouted,
  • “Titans, behold your God!” at which some groan’d;
  • Some started on their feet; some also shouted;
  • Some wept, some wail’d, all bow’d with reverence;
  • And Ops, uplifting her black folded veil,
  • Show’d her pale cheeks, and all her forehead wan,
  • Her eye-brows thin and jet, and hollow eyes.
  • There is a roaring in the bleak-grown pines
  • When Winter lifts his voice; there is a noise
  • Among immortals when a God gives sign,
  • With hushing finger, how he means to load
  • His tongue with the full weight of utterless thought,
  • With Thunder, and with music, and with pomp:
  • Such noise is like the roar of bleak-grown pines;
  • Which, when it ceases in this mountain’d world,
  • No other sound succeeds; but ceasing here,
  • Among these fallen, Saturn’s voice therefrom
  • Grew up like organ, that begins anew
  • Its strain, when other harmonies, stopt short,
  • Leave the dimn’d air vibrating silverly.
  • Thus grew it up —“not in my own sad breast,
  • Which is its own great judge and searcher out,
  • Can I find reason why ye should be thus:
  • Not in the legends of the first of days,
  • Studied from that old spirit-leaved book
  • Which starry Uranus with finger bright
  • Sav’d from the shores of darkness, when the waves
  • Low—ebb’d still hid it up in shallow gloom;—
  • And the which book ye know I ever kept
  • For my firm—based footstool:—Ah, infirm!
  • Not there, nor in sign, symbol, or portent
  • Of element, earth, water, air, and fire,—
  • At war, at peace, or inter-quarreling
  • One against one, or two, or three, or all
  • Each several one against the other three,
  • As fire with air loud warring when rain-floods
  • Drown both, and press them both against earth’s face,
  • Where, finding sulphur, a quadruple wrath
  • Unhinges the poor world;— not in that strife,
  • Wherefrom I take strange lore, and read it deep,
  • Can I find reason why ye should be thus:
  • No, no-where can unriddle, though I search,
  • And pore on Nature’s universal scroll
  • Even to swooning, why ye, Divinities,
  • The first-born of all shap’d and palpable Gods,
  • Should cower beneath what, in comparison,
  • Is untremendous might. Yet ye are here,
  • O’erwhelm’d, and spurn’d, and batter’d, ye are here!
  • O Titans, shall I say ‘Arise!’— Ye groan:
  • Shall I say ‘Crouch!’— Ye groan. What can I then?—
  • O Heaven wide! O unseen parent dear!
  • What can I? Tell me, all ye brethren Gods,
  • How we can war, how engine our great wrath!
  • O speak your counsel now, for Saturn’s ear
  • Is all a-hunger’d. Thou, Oceanus,
  • Ponderest high and deep; and in thy face
  • I see, astonied, that severe content
  • Which comes of thought and musing: give us help!”
  • So ended Saturn; and the God of the Sea,
  • Sophist and sage, from no Athenian grove,
  • But cogitation in his watery shades,
  • Arose, with locks not oozy, and began,
  • In murmurs, which his first-endeavouring tongue
  • Caught infant-like from the far-foamed sands.
  • “O ye, whom wrath consumes! who, passion-stung,
  • Writhe at defeat, and nurse your agonies!
  • Shut up your senses, stifle up your ears,
  • My voice is not a bellows unto ire.
  • Yet listen, ye who will, whilst I bring proof
  • How ye, perforce, must be content to stoop:
  • And in the proof much comfort will I give,
  • If ye will take that comfort in its truth.
  • We fall by course of Nature’s law, not force
  • Of thunder, or of Jove. Great Saturn, thou
  • Hast sifted well the atom-universe;
  • But for this reason, that thou art the King,
  • And only blind from sheer supremacy,
  • One avenue was shaded from thine eyes,
  • Through which I wandered to eternal truth.
  • And first, as thou wast not the first of powers,
  • So art thou not the last; it cannot be:
  • Thou art not the beginning nor the end.
  • From Chaos and parental Darkness came,
  • Light, the first fruits of that intestine broil,
  • That sullen ferment, which for wondrous ends
  • Was ripening in itself. The ripe hour came,
  • And with it Light, and Light, engendering
  • Upon its own producer, forthwith touch’d
  • The whole enormous matter into life.
  • Upon that very hour, our parentage,
  • The Heavens and the Earth, were manifest:
  • Then thou first-born, and we the giant-race,
  • Found ourselves ruling new and beauteous realms.
  • Now comes the pain of truth, to whom ’tis pain;
  • O folly! for to bear all naked truths,
  • And to envisage circumstance, all calm,
  • That is the top of sovereignty. Mark well!
  • As Heaven and Earth are fairer, fairer far
  • Than Chaos and blank Darkness, though once chiefs;
  • And as we show beyond that Heaven and Earth
  • In form and shape compact and beautiful,
  • In will, in action free, companionship,
  • And thousand other signs of purer life;
  • So on our heels a fresh perfection treads,
  • A power more strong in beauty, born of us
  • And fated to excel us, as we pass
  • In glory that old Darkness: nor are we
  • Thereby more conquer’d, than by us the rule
  • Of shapeless Chaos. Say, doth the dull soil
  • Quarrel with the proud forests it hath fed,
  • And feedeth still, more comely than itself?
  • Or shall the tree be envious of the dove
  • Because it cooeth, and hath snowy wings
  • To wander wherewithal and find its joys?
  • We are such forest-trees, and our fair boughs
  • Have bred forth, not pale solitary doves,
  • But eagles golden-feather’d, who do tower
  • Above us in their beauty, and must reign
  • In right thereof; for ’tis the eternal law
  • That first in beauty should be first in might:
  • Yea, by that law, another race may drive
  • Our conquerors to mourn as we do now.
  • Have ye beheld the young God of the Seas,
  • My dispossessor? Have ye seen his face?
  • Have ye beheld his chariot, foam’d along
  • By noble winged creatures he hath made?
  • I saw him on the calmed waters scud,
  • With such a glow of beauty in his eyes,
  • That it enforc’d me to bid sad farewell
  • To all my empire: farewell sad I took,
  • And hither came, to see how dolorous fate
  • Had wrought upon ye; and how I might best
  • Give consolation in this woe extreme.
  • Receive the truth, and let it be your balm.”
  • Whether through poz’d conviction, or disdain,
  • They guarded silence, when Oceanus
  • Left murmuring, what deepest thought can tell?
  • But so it was, none answer’d for a space,
  • Save one whom none regarded, Clymene;
  • And yet she answer’d not, only complain’d,
  • With hectic lips, and eyes up-looking mild,
  • Thus wording timidily among the fierce:
  • “O Father, I am here the simplest voice,
  • And all my knowledge is that joy is gone,
  • And this thing woe crept in among our hearts,
  • There to remain for ever, as I fear:
  • I would not bode of evil, if I thought
  • So weak a creature could turn off the help
  • Which by just right should come of mighty Gods;
  • Yet let me tell my sorrow, let me tell
  • Of what I heard, and how it made we weep,
  • And know that we had parted from all hope.
  • I stood upon a shore, a pleasant shore,
  • Where a sweet clime was breathed from a land
  • Of fragrance, quietness, and trees, and flowers.
  • Full of calm joy it was, as I of grief;
  • Too full of joy and soft delicious warmth;
  • So that I felt a movement in my heart
  • To chide, and to reproach that solitude
  • With songs of misery, music of our woes;
  • And sat me down, and took a mouthed shell
  • And murmur’d into it , and made melody—
  • O melody no more! for while I sang,
  • And with poor skill let pass into the breeze
  • The dull shell’s echo, from a bowery strand
  • Just opposite, an island of the sea,
  • There came enchantment with the shifting wind,
  • That did both drown and keep alive my ears.
  • I threw my shell away upon the sand,
  • And a wave fill’d it, as my sense was fill’d
  • With that new blissful golden melody.
  • A living death was in each gush of sounds,
  • Each family of rapturous hurried notes,
  • That fell, one after one, yet all at once,
  • Like pearl beads dropping sudden from their string:
  • And then another, then another strain,
  • Each like a dove leaving its olive perch,
  • With music wing’d instead of silent plumes,
  • To hover round my head, and make me sick
  • Of joy and grief at once. Grief overcame,
  • And I was stopping up my frantic ears,
  • When, past all hindrance of my trembling hands,
  • A voice came sweeter, sweeter than all tune,
  • And still it cried, ‘Apollo! young Apollo!
  • The morning-bright Apollo! young Apollo!’
  • I fled, it follow’d me, and cried ‘Apollo!’
  • O Father, and O Brethren, had ye felt
  • Those pains of mine; O Saturn, hadst thou felt,
  • Ye would not call this too indulged tongue
  • Presumptuous, in thus venturing to be heard.”
  • So far her voice flow’d on, like timorous brook
  • That, lingering along a pebbled coast,
  • Doth fear to meet the sea: but sea it met,
  • And shudder’d; for the overwhelming voice
  • Of huge Enceladus swallow’d it in wrath:
  • The ponderous syllables, like sullen waves
  • Came booming thus, while still upon his arm
  • He lean’d; not rising, from supreme contempt.
  • “Or shall we listen to the over-wise,
  • Or to the over-foolish, Giant-Gods?
  • Not thunderbolt on thunderbolt, till all
  • That rebel Jove’s whole armoury were spent,
  • Not world on world upon these shoulders piled,
  • Could agonize me more than baby-words
  • In midst of this dethronement horrible.
  • Speak! roar! shout! yell! ye sleepy Titans all.
  • Do ye forget the blows, the buffets vile?
  • Are ye not smitten by a youngling arm?
  • Dost thou forget, sham Monarch of the Waves,
  • Thy scalding in the seas? What, have I rous’d
  • Your spleens with so few simple words as these?
  • O joy! for now I see ye are not lost:
  • O joy! for now I see a thousand eyes
  • Wide glaring for revenge!“— As this he said,
  • He lifted up his stature vast, and stood,
  • Still without intermission speaking thus:
  • “Now ye are flames, I’ll tell you how to burn,
  • And purge the ether of our enemies;
  • How to feed fierce the crooked stings of fire,
  • And singe away the swollen clouds of Jove,
  • Stifling that puny essence in its tent.
  • O let him feel the evil he hath done;
  • For though I scorn Oceanus’s lore,
  • Much pain have I for more than loss of realms:
  • The days of peace and slumberous calm are fled;
  • Those days, all innocent of scathing war,
  • When all the fair Existences of heaven
  • Came open-eyed to guess what we would speak:—
  • That was before our brows were taught to frown,
  • Before our lips knew else but solemn sounds;
  • That was before we knew the winged thing,
  • Victory, might be lost, or might be won.
  • And be ye mindful that Hyperion,
  • Our brightest brother, still is undisgraced—
  • Hyperion, lo! his radiance is here!”
  • All eyes were on Enceladus’s face,
  • And they beheld, while still Hyperion’s name
  • Flew from his lips up to the vaulted rocks,
  • A pallid gleam across his features stern:
  • Not savage, for he saw full many a God
  • Wroth as himself. He look’d upon them all,
  • And in each face he saw a gleam of light,
  • But splendider in Saturn’s, whose hoar locks
  • Shone like the bubbling foam about a keel
  • When the prow sweeps into a midnight cove.
  • In pale and silver silence they remain’d,
  • Till suddenly a splendour, like the morn,
  • Pervaded all the beetling gloomy steeps,
  • All the sad spaces of oblivion,
  • And every gulf, and every chasm old,
  • And every height, and every sullen depth,
  • Voiceless, or hoarse with loud tormented streams:
  • And all the everlasting cataracts,
  • And all the headlong torrents far and near,
  • Mantled before in darkness and huge shade,
  • Now saw the light and made it terrible.
  • It was Hyperion:—a granite peak
  • His bright feet touch’d, and there he stay’d to view
  • The misery his brilliance had betray’d
  • To the most hateful seeing of itself.
  • Golden his hair of short Numidian curl,
  • Regal his shape majestic, a vast shade
  • In midst of his own brightness, like the bulk
  • Of Memnon’s image at the set of sun
  • To one who travels from the dusking east:
  • Sighs, too as mournful as that Memnon’s harp
  • He utter’d, while his hands contemplative
  • He press’d together, and in silence stood.
  • Despondence seiz’d again the fallen Gods
  • At sight of the dejected King of Day,
  • And many hid their faces from the light:
  • But fierce Enceladus sent forth his eyes
  • Among the brotherhood; and, at their glare,
  • Uprose Ia’petus, and Creus too,
  • And Phorcus, sea-born, and together strode
  • To where he towered on his eminence.
  • There those four shouted forth old Saturn’s name;
  • Hyperion from the peak loud answered, “Saturn!”
  • Saturn sat near the Mother of the Gods,
  • In whose face was no joy, though all the Gods
  • Gave from their hollow throats the name of “Saturn!”

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MLA Style: Works Cited

Keats, John. Hyperion: A Fragment. BOOK II. 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_hyperion_a_fragment_book_ii.html.

Chicago Style: Note

John Keats, Hyperion: A Fragment. BOOK II. Mapping Keats’s Progress: A Critical Chronology, Edition 3.3 , last modified 5th September 2020. https://johnkeats.uvic.ca/poem_hyperion_a_fragment_book_ii.html.

Chicago Style: Bibliography

Keats, John. Hyperion: A Fragment. BOOK II. Mapping Keats’s Progress: A Critical Chronology, Edition 3.3 , last modified 5th September 2020. https://johnkeats.uvic.ca/poem_hyperion_a_fragment_book_ii.html.