On Sitting Down to Read King Lear Once Again
Richard Monckton Milnes, Life, Letters and Literary Remains of John Keats (New York: Putnam, 1848). PR 4836 A4 1848 ROBA
2 Fair plumed Syren! Queen of far away!
3 Leave melodizing on this wintry day,
4Shut up thine olden pages, and be mute:
5Adieu! for once again the fierce dispute,
6 Betwixt damnation and impassion'd clay
7 Must I burn through; once more humbly assay
8The bitter-sweet of this Shakespearian fruit.
9Chief Poet! and ye clouds of Albion,
10 Begetters of our deep eternal theme,
11When through the old oak forest I am gone,
12 Let me not wander in a barren dream,
13But when I am consumed in the fire,
14Give me new Phoenix wings to fly at my desire.
1] golden-tongued Romance. The meaning and identification is uncertain. Keats may be contrasting poetic romance and poetic tragedy in general in the sonnet; he may be thinking particularly of The Faerie Queene and King Lear; or in putting aside romance, he may have in mind, to some degree, his own Endymion: A Poetic Romance which he was revising for the press at this time. Back to Line
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J. R. MacGillivray