Kepler's Apostrophe

Original Text: 
J. J. Sylvester, The Laws of Verse or Principles of Versification Exemplified in Metrical Translations (London: Longmans, Green, 1870): 89-91.LaEG S985k
2    In characters of flame,
3Which time shall dim not nor deface,
4    I'll stamp, my deathless name.
5The fire which on my vitals preys,
6    And inly smouldering lies,
7Shall flash out to a meteor's blaze
8    And stream along the skies.
9Clafed as the angry ocean's swell
10    My soul within me boils,
11Like a chained monarch in his cell,
12    Or lion in the toils.
13To wealth, to pride, to lofty state,
14    No more I'll bend the knee,
15But Fortune's minions, meanly great,
16    Shall stoop their necks to me.
17The God which formed me for command,
18    And gave me strength to rise,
19Shall plant His sceptre in my hand,
20    His lightning in my eyes;
21Shall with the thorny crown of fame
22    My aching temples bind,
23And hail me by a mighty name
24    A monarch of the mind.
25Me, heaven's bright galaxy shall greet
26    Theirs by primordial choice,
27And earth the eternal tones repeat
28    Of my prophetic voice.
29Stung in her turn, the heartless fair
30    Who proudly eyes me now,
31Shall weep to see some other share
32    The godhead of my brow;
33Shall weep to see some lovelier star
34    Snatched to my soul's embrace,
35Ascend with me Fame's fiery car
36    And claim celestial place.
37Tune oh! my soul thy loftiest strain,
38    Exult in song and glee,
39For worn has snapped each earthlier chain
40    And set the immortal free.
41Minds destined to a glorious shape
42    Must first affliction feel;
43Wine oozes from the trodden grape,
44    Iron's blistered into steel;
45So gushes from affection bruised
46    Ambition's purple tide,
47And steadfast faith unkindly used
48    Hardens to stubborn pride.


1] Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), German astronomer. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
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