Sunday, 15 September 2013

Anthology 5

John Keats sees the Elgin Marbles, and takes wing in one of his finest, most dazzling sonnets - which itself takes wing in its last lines...


ON SEEING THE ELGIN MARBLES

My spirit is too weak--mortality
Weighs heavily on me like unwilling sleep,
And each imagin'd pinnacle and steep
Of godlike hardship, tells me I must die
Like a sick Eagle looking at the sky.
Yet 'tis a gentle luxury to weep
That I have not the cloudy winds to keep,
Fresh for the opening of the morning's eye.
Such dim-conceived glories of the brain
Bring round the heart an undescribable feud;
So do these wonders a most dizzy pain,
That mingles Grecian grandeur with the rude
Wasting of old Time--with a billowy main--
A sun--a shadow of a magnitude.

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