Page images
PDF
EPUB

355

Then with a slow incline of his broad breast,
Like to a diver in the pearly seas,
Forward he stoop'd over the airy shore,
And plung'd all noiseless into the deep night.

HYPERION.

BOOK II.

IO

Just at the self-same beat of Time's wide wings
Hyperion slid into the rustled air,
And Saturn gain’d with Thea that sad place
Where Cybele and the bruised Titans mourn'd.
It was a den where no insulting light

5
Could glimmer on their tears; where their own groans
They felt, but heard not, for the solid roar
Of thunderous waterfalls and torrents hoarse,
Pouring a constant bulk, uncertain where.
Crag jutting forth to crag, and rocks that seem'd
Ever as if just rising from a sleep,
Forehead to forehead held their monstrous horns ;
And thus in thousand hugest phantasies
Made a fit roofing to this nest of woe.
Instead of thrones, hard flint they sat upon,

15 Couches of rugged stone, and slaty ridge Stubborn'd with iron. All were not assembled : Some chain'd in torture, and some wandering. Caus, and Gyges, and Briareus, Typhon, and Dolor, and Porphyrion, With many more, the brawniest in assault, Were pent in regions of laborious breath;

20

30

Dungeon'd in opaque element, to keep
Their clenched teeth still clench'd, and all their limbs
Lock'd up like veins of metal, crampt and screw'd; 25
Without a motion, save of their big hearts
Heaving in pain, and horribly convuls'd
With sanguine feverous boiling gurge of pulse.
Mnemosyne was straying in the world;
Far from her moon had Phæbe wandered ;
And many else were free to roam abroad,
But for the main, here found they covert drear.
Scarce images of life, one here, one there,
Lay vast and edgeways; like a dismal cirque
Of Druid stones, upon a forlorn moor,

35
When the chill rain begins at shut of eve,
In dull November, and their chancel vault,
The Heaven itself, is blinded throughout night.
Each one kept shroud, nor to his neighbour gave
Or word, or look, or action of despair.
Creüs was one ; his ponderous iron mace
Lay by him, and a shatter'd rib of rock
Told of his rage, ere he thus sank and pined.
läpetus another; in his grasp,
A serpent's plashy neck; its barbed tongue

40

45 Squeez'd from the gorge, and all its uncurl'd length Dead ; and because the creature could not spit Its poison in the eyes of conquering Jove. Next Cottus : prone he lay, chin uppermost,

supine

(41) Woodhouse's extracts from the manuscript of Hyperion are all from Book II, and consist of the first 17į lines, lines 32 to 35, 39 to 55, and 64 to 72. These extracts show no variation of consequence from the printed text, only a few pointings and spellings, such as Cræus for Creüs in line 41, and two verbal variations, venom for poison in line 48, and floor for flint in line 50. The two improvements are such as may readily have been made on proof sheets.

50

55

As though in pain; for still upon the fint
He ground severe his skull, with open mouth
And eyes at horrid working. Nearest him
Asia, born of most enormous Caf,
Who cost her mother Tellus keener pangs,
Though feminine, than any of her sons :
More thought than woe was in her dusky face,
For she was prophesying of her glory ;
And in her wide imagination stood
Palm-shaded temples, and high rival fanes,
By Oxus or in Ganges' sacred isles.
Even as Hope upon her anchor leans,

60

(61) This is one of the few instances, in this poem of wondrous firmness and security, where one discerns in Keats the unschooled imagination of a boy—the inaptitude to reject an intrusive and inappropriate image. Up to this point there is the most complete reality of imagination, the most perfect earnestness in setting forth the titanic woes of the dramatis personæ ; but here one is suddenly checked by the thought, “What! is he only playing at Titans after all? Hope with that essentially British anchor of hers in this company? Then why not Faith shouldering her cross? Why not Britannia with her trident transferred from one of George the Third's fine old copper pence? Why not that straddle-kneed Erin with her harp from one of George the Second's ?” In sober seriousDess, it is matter of amazement that this single blot of any consequence should be here; and I presume we must attribute its presence to the fact that Keats was over-ruled as to the publication of the fragment, and had not, in his wretched state of health, the will to revise it thoroughly on giving in to its publication in 1820. Else one is fain to think that Hope and her anchor would have disappeared, together with two words not to be characterized as blots, but rather as survivals from the time of strain and strife after out of the way expressions whereof Endymion is so full a representation. I refer to two instances in which verbs are licentiously and as I think inartistically used instead of their cognate nouns, namely “ Voices of soft proclaimin line 130 of Book I, and “with fierce convulse” in line 129 of Book III. There is a third instance in line 64, Book II ; but there the word shelf would not have served to express the idea involved in the use of shelve.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »