Verse > Anthologies > Robert Bridges, ed. > The Spirit of Man: An Anthology
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Robert Bridges, ed. (1844–1930).  The Spirit of Man: An Anthology.  1916.
 
The opening of Hyperion

John Keats (1795–1821)
 
DEEP 1 in the shady sadness of a vale
Far sunken from the healthy breath of morn,
Far from the fiery noon, and eve’s one star,
Sat grey-hair’d Saturn, quiet as a stone,
Still as the silence round about his lair;        5
Forest on forest hung about his head
Like cloud on cloud. No stir of air was there,
Not so much life as on a summer’s day
Robs not one light seed from the feather’d grass,
But where the dead leaf fell, there did it rest.        10
A stream went voiceless by, still deaden’d more
By reason of his fallen divinity
Spreading a shade: the Naiad ’mid her reeds
Press’d her cold finger closer to her lips …
 
  It seem’d no force could wake him from his place;        15
But there came one, who with a kindred hand
Touch’d his wide shoulders, after bending low
With reverence, though to one who knew it not.
She was a Goddess of the infant world;
By her in stature the tall Amazon        20
Had stood a pigmy’s height: she would have ta’en
Achilles by the hair and bent his neck;
Or with a finger stay’d Ixion’s wheel.
Her face was large as that of Memphian sphinx,
Pedestal’d haply in a palace-court,        25
When sages look’d to Egypt for their lore.
But oh! how unlike marble was that face:
How beautiful, if sorrow had not made
Sorrow more beautiful than Beauty’s self.
There was a listening fear in her regard,        30
As if calamity had but begun;
As if the vanward clouds of evil days
Had spent their malice, and the sullen rear
Was with its stored thunder labouring up …
 
Note 1. Keats. The opening of ‘Hyperion’. [back]
 
 
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