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To Haydon with a Sonnet Written on Seeing the Elgin Marbles

by John Keats, 1817

Haydon! Forgive me, that I cannot speak
   Definitively on these mighty things;
   Forgive me that I have not Eagle's wings—
That what I want I know not where to seek:
And think that I would not be over meek
   In rolling out upfollow'd thunderings,
   Even to the steep of Helciconian springs,
Were I of ample strength for such a freak—
Think too that all those numbers should be thine;
   Whose else? In this who touch thy vesture's hem?
For when men star'd at what was most divine
   With browless idiotism—o'erwise phlegm—
Thou hadst beheld the Hesperean shine
   Of their star in the East, and gone to worship them.

Tags: visual art

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