John Keats

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On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer

from

Poems, 1817

Much have I travell'd 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.
5 Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
    That deep-brow'd 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
10     When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
    He star'd at the Pacific—and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise—
    Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

First published 1817.

Contributed by Daniel Robinson.