In thy western halls of gold
When thou sittest in thy state,
Bards, that erst sublimely told
Heroic deeds, and sang of fate,
With fervour seize their adamantine lyres,
Whose chords are solid rays, and twinkle radiant fires.
Here Homer with his nervous arms
Strikes the twanging harp of war,
And even the western splendour warms,
While the trumpets sound afar:
But, what creates the most intense surprise,
His soul looks out through renovated eyes.
Then, through thy Temple wide, melodious swells
The sweet majestic tone of Maro’s lyre:
The soul delighted on each accent dwells,–
Enraptur’d dwells,–not daring to respire,
The while he tells of grief around a funeral pyre.
‘Tis awful silence then again;
Expectant stand the spheres;
Breathless the laurell’d peers,
Nor move, till ends the lofty strain,
Nor move till Milton’s tuneful thunders cease,
And leave once more the ravish’d heavens in peace.
Thou biddest Shakespeare wave his hand,
And quickly forward spring
The Passions–a terrific band–
And each vibrates the string
That with its tyrant temper best accords,
While from their Master’s lips pour forth the inspiring words.
A silver trumpet Spenser blows,
And, as its martial notes to silence flee,
From a virgin chorus flows
A hymn in praise of spotless Chastity.
‘Tis still! Wild warblings from the Aeolian lyre
Enchantment softly breathe, and tremblingly expire.
Next thy Tasso’s ardent numbers
Float along the pleased air,
Calling youth from idle slumbers,
Rousing them from Pleasure’s lair:–
Then o’er the strings his fingers gently move,
And melt the soul to pity and to love.
But when Thou joinest with the Nine,
And all the powers of song combine,
We listen here on earth:
Thy dying tones that fill the air,
And charm the ear of evening fair,
From thee, great God of Bards, receive their heavenly birth.
– John Keats
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