Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Fall of Hyperion - A Dream (CANTO II)

By John Keats

'Mortal, that thou may'st understand aright,
'I humanize my sayings to thine ear,
'Making comparisons of earthly things;
'Or thou might'st better listen to the wind,
'Whose language is to thee a barren noise,
'Though it blows legend laden through the trees.
'In melancholy realms big tears are shed,
'More sorrow like to this, and such like woe,
'Too huge for mortal tongue, or pen of scribe.
'The Titans fierce, self hid or prison bound,
'Groan for the old allegiance once more,
'Listening in their doom for Saturn's voice.
'But one of our whole eagle brood still keeps
'His sov'reignty, and rule, and majesty;
'Blazing Hyperion on his orbed fire
'Still sits, still snuffs the incense teeming up
'From man to the sun's God: yet unsecure,
'For as upon the earth dire prodigies
'Fright and perplex, so also shudders he:
'Nor at dog's howl or gloom bird's Even screech,
'Or the familiar visitings of one
'Upon the first toll of his passing bell:
'But horrors, portioned to a giant nerve,
'Make great Hyperion ache. His palace bright,
'Bastion'd with pyramids of glowing gold,
'And touch'd with shade of bronzed obelisks,
'Glares a blood red through all the thousand courts,
'Arches, and domes, and fiery galleries:
'And all its curtains of Aurorian clouds
'Flush angerly; when he would taste the wreaths
'Of incense breath'd aloft from sacred hills,
'Instead of sweets his ample palate takes
'Savour of poisonous brass and metals sick.
'Wherefore when harbour'd in the sleepy West,
'After the full completion of fair day,
'For rest divine upon exalted couch
'And slumber in the arms of melody,
'He paces through the pleasant hours of ease
'With strides colossal, on from hall to hall;
'While far within each aisle and deep recess
'His winged minions in close clusters stand
'Amaz'd, and full of fear; like anxious men,
'Who on a wide plain gather in sad troops,
'When earthquakes jar their battlements and towers.
'Even now, while Saturn, roused from icy trance,
'Goes step for step with Thea from yon woods,
'Hyperion, leaving twilight in the rear,
'Is sloping to the threshold of the West.
'Thither we tend.' Now in clear light I stood,
Reliev'd from the dusk vale. Mnemosyne
Was sitting on a square edg'd polish'd stone,
That in its lucid depth reflected pure
Her priestess garments. My quick eyes ran on
From stately nave to nave, from vault to vault,
Through bow'rs of fragrant and enwreathed light
And diamond paved lustrous long arcades.
Anon rush'd by the bright Hyperion;
His flaming robes stream'd out beyond his heels,
And gave a roar, as if of earthly fire,
That scared away the meek ethereal hours
And made their dove wings tremble. On he flared.


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