Hyperion. Book III


    Thus in altemate 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 everything 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 hast 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
    Would come no mystery? For me, dark, dark,
    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 splendor 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, steadfast 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


facebook share button twitter share button google plus share button tumblr share button reddit share button email share button share on pinterest pinterest

Create a library and add your favorite stories. Get started by clicking the "Add" button.
Add Hyperion. Book III to your own personal library.

Return to the John Keats Home Page, or . . . Read the next poem; Imitation Of Spenser

Anton Chekhov
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Susan Glaspell
Mark Twain
Edgar Allan Poe
Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
Herman Melville
Stephen Leacock
Kate Chopin
Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson