John Keats' Ode to Apollo was written in February 1815, and pays tribute
to a whole pantheon full of great poets. The strength of these images is stronger
than ever, as he is slowly finding his own poetic voice, which reaches its
peak in Endymion.
Structurally, however, this ode is a mess. There is absolutely no commonality
of form between the stanzas, and the words tend to trip over each other if
you're not careful.
Ode to Apollo
In thy western halls of gold
When thou sittest in thy state,
Bards, that erst sublimely told
Heroic deeds, and sung of fate,
With fervour seize their adamantine lyres,
Whose cords are solid rays, and twinkle radiant fires.
There 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 surprize,
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,--
Enraptured 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 laurel'd peers;
Nr 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 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:
The dying tones that fill the air,
And charm the ear of evening fair,
From thee, great God of Bards, receive their heavenly birth.