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Short poem

John Keats (1795-1821)

To Homer

              1Standing aloof in giant ignorance,
              2      Of thee I hear and of the Cyclades,
              3As one who sits ashore and longs perchance
              4      To visit dolphin-coral in deep seas.
              5So thou wast blind;--but then the veil was rent,
              6      For Jove uncurtain'd Heaven to let thee live,
              7And Neptune made for thee a spumy tent,
              8      And Pan made sing for thee his forest-hive;
              9Aye on the shores of darkness there is light,
            10      And precipices show untrodden green,
            11There is a budding morrow in midnight,
            12      There is a triple sight in blindness keen;
            13Such seeing hadst thou, as it once befel
            14To Dian, Queen of Earth, and Heaven, and Hell.


2] Cyclades: islands of the Ægean.

4] dolphin-coral. This may be an allusion to the beautiful colouring of the dorado fish, popularly called the dolphin; cf. Childe Harold, IV, xxix.

13-14] Homer viewed life as completely as did the goddess with the three names who, as Luna, Diana, and Hecate, ruled in Heaven, Earth, and Hell.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Richard Monckton Milnes, Life, Letters and Literary Remains of John Keats (New York: Putnam, 1848). PR 4836 A4 1848 ROBA
First publication date: 1848
RPO poem editor: J. R. MacGillivray
RP edition: 3RP 2.625.
Recent editing: 4:2001/12/28

Composition date: 1818
Form: English Sonnet
Rhyme: ababcdcdefefgg

Other poems by John Keats