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On First Looking Into Chapmans Homer

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¡§On First Looking Into Chapman¡¦s Homer¡¨

This poem is an expression of how the poet John Keats felt after rediscovering Homer¡¦s ¡§The Odyssey and the Iliad¡¨ when he read Chapman¡¦s English translation of this Greek classic. To express this he uses the form of a sonnet, with fourteen lines, every set of two lines rhyming.

The first four lines are one long sentence consisting mainly as metaphors to summarize his full meaning in whole.

¡§Much have I travell¡¦d in the realms of gold,
and many goodly states and kingdoms seen¡¨.
This can be understood only in a ¡§literary¡¨ and not a ¡§literal¡¨ sense. I say this because he was relatively poor and probably had traveled very little when he wrote this poem at age 21.* But we know that he had a strong passion for literature. * John Keats is trying to tell us that he has traveled and explored the rich realms of literature.

¡§Round many western islands I have been
which bards in fealty to Apollo hold¡¨.
Keats is using ¡§western Islands¡¨ to cause us to think of ever new vistas of constant discovery.
Keats is stressing the honoured poets (bards) passion and obligation toward the ¡¥Art of Poetry¡¦ symbolized by the Greek god ¡¥Apollo¡¦.

¡§Oft on one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-brow'd Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene¡¨
Keats is telling us how he had heard about another great kingdom of writing, the serene air of which he had never breathed. (probably because he never learned Greek) *
Perhaps Keats is stating Homer¡¦s deep intellect with the term ¡§deep-brow¡¦d¡¨.

¡§Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;¡¨
Even though this is mid-sentence, I see this, as the pivotal point of the poem, where Keats starts to express his emotions towards Chapman¡...

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