Who said: `Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear --
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Might, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.'
2) What sort of person is suggested by the visage that is described?
3) Think of the words on the pedestal. Why is it ironic that the statue has crumbled? Why is it ironic that it is surrounded by desert?
4) What is the theme of this poem?
5) What is your definition of power? What is your definition of pride? In what way do the two complement each other?
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing,
Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red,
The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low,
Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth, and fill
Wild Spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Thou on whose stream, mid the steep sky's commotion,
Angels of rain and lightning: there are spread
Of some fierce Maenad, even from the dim verge
Of the dying year, to which this closing night
Of vapours, from whose solid atmosphere
Thou who didst waken from his summer dreams
Beside a pumice isle in Baiae's bay,
All overgrown with azure moss and flowers
Cleave themselves into chasms, while far below
Thy voice, and suddenly grow gray with fear,
If I were a dead leaf thou mightest bear;
The impulse of thy strength, only less free
The comrade of thy wanderings over Heaven,
As thus with thee in prayer in my sore need.
A heavy weight of hours has chain'd and bow'd
Make me thy lyre, even as the forest is:
Will take from both a deep, autumnal tone,
Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Scatter, as from an unextinguish'd hearth
The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
2) What does the wind do to dead leaves? What does it do to the ocean?
3) What does the speaker ask of the wind in section V of the poem?
4) In what sense is the wind a "destroyer and preserver"?
5) How, according to section IV, has the speaker changed? What caused this change?
6) Whose "new birth" (line 65) do you think the speaker wishes to bring about?
7) Interpret the last line of this poem. How does this famous last line tie the poem together?
Bird thou never wert,
That from Heaven, or near it,
Pourest thy full heart
In profuse strains of unpremeditated art.
Higher still and higher
In the golden lightning
The pale purple even
Keen as are the arrows
All the earth and air
What thou art we know not;
Like a poet hidden
Like a high-born maiden
Like a glow-worm golden
Like a rose embowered
Sound of vernal showers
Teach us, sprite or bird,
What objects are the fountains
With thy clear keen joyance
Waking or asleep,
We look before and after,
Yet if we could scorn
Better than all measures
Teach me half the gladness
2) To what four things does the speaker compare the bird in lines 36-55? In what ways does he say the bird is like these things?
3) Why does the poet say of the bird, "Bird thou never wert"?
4) What do you suppose the speaker means in line 80 by "love's sad satiety"?
5) How is the poet's song different from the bird's song? Why can the bird's song "flow in such a crystal stream"?
6) What does the speaker ask the skylark to teach him? What effect does he think this would have on the world? Why does he feel this way?
Vibrates in the memory--
Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
Live within the sense they quicken.
Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
Are heaped for the belovd's bed;
And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
Love itself shall slumber on.
2) Explain how music, odors, and roses will live on.
3) What idea about love is the speaker communicating?
4) How differently would this idea come across if it were presented in simple prose rather than as a poem? Explain.
Grief too sad for song;
Wild wind when sullen cloud
Knells all the night long;
Sad storm, whose tears are in vain,
Bare woods, whose branches strain,
Deep caves and dreary main----
Wail, for the world's wrong!
2) What do you think the speaker means by "the world's wrong"?
3) What effect is created by calling upon the natural elements to bemoan the world's wrong? How does this device help portray the poet's sense of moral indignation?
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 had I been told
That deep-brow'd 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 star'd at the Pacific--and all his men
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise--
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
2) What transportation did the speaker use in his "travels"? To what does he compare his new-found wonderment?
3) Dante Gabriel Rossetti, a poet of the nine- teenth century, wrote that "A Sonnet is a coin: its face reveals/The soul-it converse, to what Power tis due." How would you describe Keats's "soul," as it is revealed in "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer"? What is the "power" to which that soul owes its due?
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death.
2) In what ways does the speaker wish to be like the star? In what ways does he wish to be different?
3) What do do think is meant by "sweet unrest" in line 12?
4) In a Petrarchan, or Italian, sonnet, the first eight lines pose a question or problem, while the last six lines offer a solution or comment on or extend the issue. What question or problem is presented in the octave, or first eight lines? What response is given in the sestet, or next six lines?
Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,
Before high piled books, in charact'ry,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripen'd grain;
When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love!--then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.
2) What do you think is meant by "cloudy symbols of a high romance" in line 6?
3) Whom is the speaker addressing in line 10?
4) How does the speaker resolve his fears?
5) What does this poern suggest about Keats's views on death? Do you feel these views would be held by the other Romantic poets you have read? Why or why not?
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thine happiness,--
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.
O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been
Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
2) What wish does the speaker express at the end of stanza II and at the beginning of stanza III? According to stanza IV, how will he accomplish this wish?
3) What effect does the word "forlorn" have on the speaker in stanza VIll?
4) What is the "draught of vintage" the speaker craves in stanza II? What would it help him to escape?
5) What differeences between the speakerŐs world and the birdŐs are described in stanza IV? What is meant in line 38 by "here there is no light"?
6) What does the speaker find tempting in stanza VI? What changes his mind in stanza VII?
Thou foster-child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fring'd legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?
Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
2) What ritual is described in the first four lines of stanza IV?
3) In what way is the urn a "Sylvan historian"? How can it tell its "flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme"?
4) Interpret lines 1 1 -1 2: "Heard melodies are sweet, but thoseunheard/Are sweeter . . ." What do these lines indicate about the power of the imagination?
5) Why might the lover in stanza 11 grieve? Why does the speaker advise him not to grieve?
6) What is the "Cold Pastoral" mentioned in line 45? With what does the speaker contrast it?
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss'd cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimm'd their clammy cells.
Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
2) What are some of the songs of autumn?
3) In what way can Autumn be described as a "close bosom-friend of the maturing sun"?
4) What activities frequently associated with the season are described in the second stanza? What impression of Autumn is created by mentioning these activities?
5. Why do you think the speaker mentions the songs of Spring in stanza III?