Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Georgian Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Georgian Verse.  1909.
 
On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer
By John Keats (1795–1821)
 
MUCH have I travell’d in the realms of gold,
  And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
  Round many western islands 1 have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told        5
  That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne;
  Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman 2 speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
  When a new planet swims into his ken;        10
Or like stout Cortez 3 when with eagle eyes
  He star’d at the Pacific—and all his men
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise—
  Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
 
Note 1. Western islands: Prof. Bronson remarks (English Poems, 1907), “Keats’ reading was limited for the most part to the poets of England, the westernmost country of Europe, as Greece is the easternmost.” [back]
Note 2. Chapman: George Chapman, the Elizabethan poet and dramatist, was born in 1560 and died in 1634. His translation of Homer was brought out during the years 1598–1616. [back]
Note 3. Cortez: Balboa, not Cortez, discovered the Pacific Ocean in 1513. “Keats,” says De Sélincourt, “either consciously or unconsciously transferred the glory to Cortez, whose portrait by Titian had much impressed him.” [back]
 
 
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