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On Seeing the Elgin Marbles


John Keats
March 1817


My spirit is too weak --- mortality

Weighs heavily on me like unwilling sleep,

And each imagin'd pinnacle and steep

Of godlike hardship tells me I must die

Like a sick Eagle looking at the sky.

Yet 'tis a gentle luxury to weep

That I have not the cloudy winds to keep,

Fresh for the opening of the morning's eye

Such dim-conceived glories of the brain

Bring round the heart an indescribable feud;

So do these wonders a most dizzy pain,

That mingles Grecian grandeur with the rude

Wasting of old Time --- with a billowy main ---

A sun --- a shadow of a magnitude.


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