The Poetry Corner

Two Sonnets: To Haydon, With A Sonnet Written On Seeing The Elgin Marbles

By John Keats

I. Haydon! forgive me that I cannot speak Definitively of these mighty things; Forgive me, that I have not eagle's wings, That what I want I know not where to seek, And think that I would not be over-meek, In rolling out upfollowed thunderings, Even to the steep of Heliconian springs, Were I of ample strength for such a freak. Think, too, that all these numbers should be thine; Whose else? In this who touch thy vesture's hem? For, when men stared at what was most divine With brainless idiotism and o'erwise phlegm, Thou hadst beheld the full Hesperian shine Of their star in the east, and gone to worship them. II. On Seeing The Elgin Marbles. My spirit is too weak, mortality Weighs heavily upon me like unwilling sleep, And each imagined 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.