On First Looking into Chapman's Homer

John Keats, “On Looking into Chapman’s Homer,” autograph manuscript, 1816. MA 214.3. Purchased by Belle da Costa Greene on behalf of J. P. Morgan, Jr., 1915.


To Mariane Reynolds —
Much have I travell’d in the Realms of gold
     And many goodly states and kingdoms seen
     Round many western islands have I been
Which Bards in featly to Apollo hold
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
     That deep brow’d Homer rules as his Demesne
     Yet could I never judge what Men could mean
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold
Then felt I like one Watcher of the Skies
     When a new Planet swims into his Ken
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
     He star’d at the Pacific and all his men
Look at each other with a wild surmise
     Silent upon a Peak in Darien.