If By Dull Rhymes Our English Must Be Chain'd

Original Text: 
John Keats, Life, Letters, and Literary Remains, ed. Richard Monckton Milnes (New York: George P. Putnam, 1848): 391 (sonnet no. XVII). PR 4836 A4 1848 Robarts Library.
1If by dull rhymes our English must be chain'd,
3Fetter'd, in spite of pained loveliness;
4Let us find out, if we must be constrain'd,
5     Sandals more interwoven and complete
6To fit the naked foot of poesy;
7Let us inspect the lyre, and weigh the stress
8Of every chord, and see what may be gain'd
9     By ear industrious, and attention meet:
10Misers of sound and syllable, no less
12     Jealous of dead leaves in the bay wreath crown;
13So, if we may not let the Muse be free,
14     She will be bound with garlands of her own.


2] Andromeda: Ethiopian princess who was rescued from amonster by Perseus, her husband-to-be. Back to Line
11] Midas: Phrygian king who wished for gold, more than anything, and was granted the ambiguous gift of turning everything he touched into gold. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: 
RPO 1998.