Sonnet: If By Dull Rhymes Our English Must Be Chain'd


    If by dull rhymes our English must be chain'd,
    And, like Andromeda, the Sonnet sweet
    Fetter'd, in spite of pained loveliness;
    Let us find out, if we must be constrain'd,
    Sandals more interwoven and complete
    To fit the naked foot of poesy;
    Let us inspect the lyre, and weigh the stress
    Of every chord, and see what may be gain'd
    By ear industrious, and attention meet:
    Misers of sound and syllable, no less
    Than Midas of his coinage, let us be
    Jealous of dead leaves in the bay wreath crown;
    So, if we may not let the Muse be free,
    She will be bound with garlands of her own.


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Return to the John Keats Home Page, or . . . Read the next poem; Sonnet III: Written On The Day That Mr Leigh Hunt Left Prison

It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.