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HYPERION.

A FRAGMENT.

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[Lord Houghton records, no doubt on the authority of Brown, that Hyperion was begun after the death of Tom Keats, when the poet took up his residence with Brown. In the journal-letter to George and his wife in which the first allusion to Tom's death occurs, written in December 1818 or January 1819, Keats says, "I think you knew before you left England, that my next subject would be the Fall of Hyperion'. I went on a little with it last night..."; and on the 14th of February 1819 he writes "I have not gone on with Hyperion'." In August he writes to Bailey from Winchester, "I have also been writing parts of my 'Hyperion'..." On the 22nd of September he says in his letter to Reynolds, "I have given up 'Hyperion'—there were too many Miltonic inversions in it-Miltonic verse cannot be written but in an artful, or, rather, artist's humour. I wish to give myself up to other sensations. English ought to be kept up. It may be interesting to you to pick out some lines from 'Hyperion,' and put a mark, +, to the false beauty, proceeding from art, and one ||, to the true voice of feeling. Upon my soul, 'twas imagination; I cannot make the distinction-every now and then there is a Miltonic intonation-but I cannot make the division properly." Lord Houghton observes upon this passage that the allusion is probably to the Vision, or earlier version of Hyperion; but see the note quoted below from Woodhouse. Shelley, it will be remembered, says in the Preface to Adonais, "I consider the fragment of Hyperion, as second to nothing that was ever produced by a writer of the same years". And in his unfinished Letter to the Editor of The Quarterly Review he says, “The great proportion of this piece is surely in the very highest style of poetry". In a letter to Peacock he calls Hyperion “an astonishing piece of writing"; and in another he says "if the Hyperion be not grand poetry, none has been produced by our contemporaries". Hunt remarks in The Indicator, very happily, “The Hyperion is a fragment,—a gigantic one, like a ruin in the desart, or the bones of the mastodon. It is truly of a piece with its subject, which is the downfall of the elder gods." Woodhouse, in his interleaved and annotated copy of Endymion, in which I was so fortunate as to recover so many readings from the draft of that poem, records under the date April 1819 that Keats had lent him the fragment of Hyperion for perusal. "It contains," says Woodhouse, "2 books & (ab' 900 lines in all)." As the extant fragment of the earlier version, the Vision, consists of one Canto of 444 lines, and the 62 opening lines of a second Canto, while the fragment published in 1830 consists of 883 lines, that was, no doubt, what Woodhouse had moreover he makes, in connexion with his note, three extracts

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which are from the revised version. He records that Keats "said
he was dissatisfied with what he had done of it; and should not
complete it". Woodhouse, like several of Keats's friends, thoroughly
appreciated the portentous genius of the young poet of Hyperion
he says,
"The structure of the verse, as well as the subject, are
colossal. It has an air of calm grandeur about it which is indica-
tive of true power.-I know of no poem with which in this respect it
can be compared.—It is that in poetry, which the Elgin and Egyp-
tian marbles are in sculpture." Again, at the close of his extracts
from the manuscript, this judiciously admiring friend well says,
"The above lines, separated from the rest, give but a faint idea of
the sustained grandeur and quiet power which characterize the
poem but they are sufficient to lead us to regret that such an
attempt should have been abandoned. The poem, if completed,
would have treated of the dethronement of Hyperion, the former
God of the Sun, by Apollo,-and incidentally of those of Oceanus
by Neptune, of Saturn by Jupiter &c., and of the war of the Giants
for Saturn's reestablishment with other events, of which we
have but very dark hints in the mythological poets of Greece and
Rome. In fact the incidents would have been pure creations of
the Poet's brain. How he is qualified for such a task, may be seen
in a trifling degree by the few mythological glimpses afforded in
Endymion."-H. B. F.]

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HYPERION.

BOOK I.

DEEP in the shady sadness of a vale
Far sunken from the healthy breath of morn,
Far from the fiery noon, and eve's one star,
Sat gray-hair'd Saturn, quiet as a stone,
Still as the silence round about his lair;
Forest on forest hung about his head
Like cloud on cloud. No stir of air was there,
Not so much life as on a summer's day
Robs not one light seed from the feather'd grass,
But where the dead leaf fell, there did it rest, F
A stream went voiceless by, still deadened more
By reason of his fallen divinity
Spreading a shade: the Naiad 'mid her reeds
Press'd her cold finger closer to her lips.

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(14) It seems to me that the power of realization shown in the first decade, and indeed throughout the fragment, answers all objections to the subject, and is the most absolute security for the nobility of the result which Keats would have achieved had he finished the poem. It is impossible to over-estimate the value of such a landscape, so touched in with a few strokes of titanic meaning and completeness; and the whole sentiment of gigantic despair reflected around the fallen god of the Titan dynasty, and permeating the landscape, is resumed in the most perfect manner in the incident

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