On Seeing the Elgin Marbles

Original Text: 
The Poetical Works of John Keats, ed. H. W. Garrod, 2nd edn. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1958): 478.
2    Weighs heavily on me like unwilling sleep,
3    And each imagin'd pinnacle and steep
4Of godlike hardship tells me I must die
5Like a sick Eagle looking at the sky.
6    Yet 'tis a gentle luxury to weep
7    That I have not the cloudy winds to keep
8Fresh for the opening of the morning's eye.
9Such dim-conceived glories of the brain
10    Bring round the heart an undescribable feud;
11So do these wonders a most dizzy pain,
12    That mingles Grecian grandeur with the rude
14    A sun -- a shadow of a magnitude.


1] Elgin Marbles: fragmentary sculptures taken largely from the frieze and pediment of the Parthenon in Athens by Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin (1766-1841), sold to the British government, and placed in the British Museum in 1816. Back to Line
13] main: sea. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
In The Examiner.
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: