On First Looking into Chapman

On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer Much have I traveled in the realms of gold, And many goodly states and kingdoms seen; Round many western islands have I been Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold. Oft of one wide expanse have I been told That deep-browed Homer ruled as his demesne, Yet did I never breathe its pure serene Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold: Then felt I like some watcher of the skies When a new planet swims into his ken; Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes He stared at the Pacific-and all his men Looked at each other with a wild surmise- Silent, upon a peak in Darien. – John Keats Assignment: Write an expository essay on ONE of the sonnets studied during this course John Keats’s “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer” is an attempt to convince the reader of the beauty and power of a work that impacted literary history in a significant way. This, to him was like a discovery or revelation which was no less significant than those of great explorers of outer space and the earth itself. Prior to Chapman’s translation of Homer’s works, these epics were normally the “realms’ of the elite in their circles of higher learning, from which Keats was excluded. Because Keats lived in an age where major discoveries and inventions had made and still were making astonishing achievements affecting the course of history, his poem brought home to the common people that the work’s impact was no less significant than these feats. Thus the poem climaxes with the awe-filled contemplation and “wild surmise” in reference to one of the most significant discoveries in history, the Pacific Ocean, by “stout Cortez”one of Europes most famous navigators/explorers. Chapman’s Homer is a lyric sonnet of the Italian (or Petrarchan) persuasion. It is divided into two large parts…

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