Surprise! Not a Metaphysical


No, he's not a metaphysical poet. He may not even have been a Christian. But his poetry is among the greatest in the English language. One of his poems ("To Autumn")has been typified by one critic as "imperfect because of it's perfection." And his vibrant poetry tends to remind one of the God's vibrant poetry in creating such an artist.

On first looking into Chapman's Homer
John Keats

MUCH have I travell'd 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-brow'd 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
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

"I felt like some watcher of the skies/When a new planet swims into his ken. . ." certainly describes my reaction to reading this poem the first time. Certainly one of the finest sonnets of the 19th century, if not the very best of Keats himself. And I suspect that he may have his history a little off--Cortez probably should be Balboa--but hey! he didn't claim to be a historian.

For those interested in looking into Chapman's Homer (as well as the remarkable and lovely Pope translations) you can do so at t this site. Simply look up "Homer" or "Chapman" or go to the "Elizabethans" page. Enjoy.

Bookmark and Share



About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on August 7, 2002 8:18 AM.

The Philosophy of this Blog was the previous entry in this blog.

On Coping with Sinfulness is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

My Blogroll