Verse > Anthologies > Hunt and Lee, eds. > The Book of the Sonnet
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Hunt and Lee, comps.  The Book of the Sonnet.  1867.
 
I. “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer”
By John Keats (1795–1821)
 
MUCH have I travelled 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        5
  That deep-browed 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;        10
  Or like stout Cortes when with eagle eyes
He stared 1 at the Pacific—and all his men
  Looked at each other with a wild surmise—
  Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
 
Note 1. “Stared” has been thought by some too violent, but it is precisely the word required by the occasion. The Spaniard was too original and ardent a man either to look, or to affect to look, coldly superior to it. His “eagle eyes” are from life, as may be seen by Titian’s portrait of him. [back]
 
 
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