Mapping Keats’s Progress: A Critical Chronology

Mapping Keats’s Progress
A Critical Chronology

Hyperion: A Fragment. BOOK III

  • Thus in alternate uproar and sad peace,
  • Amazed were those Titans utterly.
  • O leave them, Muse! O leave them to their woes;
  • For thou art weak to sing such tumults dire:
  • A solitary sorrow best befits
  • Thy lips, and antheming a lonely grief.
  • Leave them. O Muse! for thou anon wilt find
  • Many a fallen old Divinity
  • Wandering in vain about bewildered shores.
  • Meantime touch piously the Delphic harp,
  • And not a wind of heaven but will breathe
  • In aid soft warble from the Dorian flute;
  • For lo! ’tis for the Father of all verse.
  • Flush every thing that hath a vermeil hue,
  • Let the rose glow intense and warm the air,
  • And let the clouds of even and of morn
  • Float in voluptuous fleeces o’er the hills;
  • Let the red wine within the goblet boil,
  • Cold as a bubbling well; let faint-lipp’d shells,
  • On sands, or in great deeps, vermilion turn
  • Through all their labyrinths; and let the maid
  • Blush keenly, as with some warm kiss surpris’d.
  • Chief isle of the embowered Cyclades,
  • Rejoice, O Delos, with thine olives green,
  • And poplars, and lawn-shading palms, and beech,
  • In which the Zephyr breathes the loudest song,
  • And hazels thick, dark-stemm’d beneath the shade:
  • Apollo is once more the golden theme!
  • Where was he, when the Giant of the Sun
  • Stood bright, amid the sorrow of his peers?
  • Together had he left his mother fair
  • And his twin-sister sleeping in their bower,
  • And in the morning twilight wandered forth
  • Beside the osiers of a rivulet,
  • Full ankle-deep in lilies of the vale.
  • The nightingale had ceas’d, and a few stars
  • Were lingering in the heavens, while the thrush
  • Began calm-throated. Throughout all the isle
  • There was no covert, no retired cave
  • Unhaunted by the murmurous noise of waves,
  • Though scarcely heard in many a green recess.
  • He listen’d, and he wept, and his bright tears
  • Went trickling down the golden bow he held.
  • Thus with half-shut suffused eyes he stood,
  • While from beneath some cumbrous boughs hard by
  • With solemn step an awful Goddess came,
  • And there was purport in her looks for him,
  • Which he with eager guess began to read
  • Perplex’d, the while melodiously he said:
  • “How cam’st thou over the unfooted sea?
  • Or hath that antique mien and robed form
  • Mov’d in these vales invisible till now?
  • Sure I have heard those vestments sweeping o’er
  • The fallen leaves, when I have sat alone
  • In cool mid-forest. Surely I have traced
  • The rustle of those ample skirts about
  • These grassy solitudes, and seen the flowers
  • Lift up their heads, as still the whisper pass’d.
  • Goddess! I have beheld those eyes before,
  • And their eternal calm, and all that face,
  • Or I have dream’d.” — “Yes,” said the supreme shape,
  • “Thou has dream’d of me; and awaking up
  • Didst find a lyre all golden by thy side,
  • Whose strings touch’d by thy fingers, all the vast
  • Unwearied ear of the whole universe
  • Listen’d in pain and pleasure at the birth
  • Of such new tuneful wonder. Is’t not strange
  • That thou shouldst weep, so gifted? Tell me, youth,
  • What sorrow thou canst feel; for I am sad
  • When thou dost shed a tear: explain thy griefs
  • To one who in this lonely isle hath been
  • The watcher of thy sleep and hours of life,
  • From the young day when first thy infant hand
  • Pluck’d witless the weak flowers, till thine arm
  • Could bend that bow heroic to all times.
  • Show thy heart’s secret to an ancient Power
  • Who hath forsaken old and sacred thrones
  • For prophecies of thee, and for the sake
  • Of loveliness new born.” — Apollo then,
  • With sudden scrutiny and gloomless eyes,
  • Thus answer’d while his white melodious throat
  • Throbb’d with the syllables.—“Mnemosyne!
  • Thy name is on my tongue, I know not how;
  • Why should I tell thee what thou so well seest?
  • Why should I strive to show what from thy lips
  • And painful vile oblivion seals my eyes:
  • I strive to search wherefore I am so sad,
  • Until a melancholy numbs my limbs;
  • And then upon the grass I sit, and moan,
  • Like one who once had wings.—O why should I
  • Feel curs’d and thwarted, when the liegeless air
  • Yields to my step aspirant? why should I
  • Spurn the green turf as hateful to my feet?
  • Goddess benign, point forth some unknown thing:
  • Are there not other regions than this isle?
  • What are the stars? There is the sun, the sun!
  • And the most patient brilliance of the moon!
  • And stars by thousands! Point me out the way
  • To any one particular beauteous star,
  • And I will flit into it with my lyre,
  • And make its silvery splendour pant with bliss.
  • I have heard the cloudy thunder: Where is power?
  • Whose hand, whose essence, what divinity
  • Makes this alarum in the elements,
  • While I here idle listen on the shores
  • In fearless yet in aching ignorance?
  • O tell me, lonely Goddess, by thy harp,
  • That waileth every morn and eventide,
  • Tell me why thus I rave, about these groves!
  • Mute thou remainest—mute! yet I can read
  • A wondrous lesson in thy silent face:
  • Knowledge enormous makes a God of me.
  • Names, deeds, gray legends, dire events, rebellions,
  • Majesties, sovran voices, agonies,
  • Creations and destroyings, all at once
  • Pour into the wide hollows of my brain,
  • And deify me, as if some blithe wine
  • Or bright elixir peerless I had drunk,
  • And so become immortal.“—Thus the God,
  • While his enkindled eyes, with level glance
  • Beneath his white soft temples, stedfast kept
  • Trembling with light upon Mnemosyne.
  • Soon wild commotions shook him, and made flush
  • All the immortal fairness of his limbs;
  • Most like the struggle at the gate of death;
  • Or liker still to one who should take leave
  • Of pale immortal death, and with a pang
  • As hot as death’s is chill, with fierce convulse
  • Die into life: so young Apollo anguish’d:
  • His very hair, his golden tresses famed,
  • Kept undulation round his eager neck.
  • During the pain Mnemosyne upheld
  • Her arms as one who prophesied.—At length
  • Apollo shriek’d;—and lo! from all his limbs
  • Celestial *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *
  • *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

🗙 Cite this page:

MLA Style: Works Cited

Keats, John. Hyperion: A Fragment. BOOK III. 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_iii.html.

Chicago Style: Note

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

Chicago Style: Bibliography

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