Sonnet. Written Upon The Top Of Ben Nevis
John Keats (1795-1821)
Let's see whether he needed the letter E.
Sonnet. Written Upon The Top Of Ben NevisRead me a lesson, Muse, and speak it loud Upon the top of Nevis, blind in mist! I look into the chasms, and a shroud Vapourous doth hide them, -- just so much I wist Mankind do know of hell; I look o'erhead, And there is sullen mist, -- even so much Mankind can tell of heaven; mist is spread Before the earth, beneath me, -- even such, Even so vague is man's sight of himself! Here are the craggy stones beneath my feet,-- Thus much I know that, a poor witless elf, I tread on them, -- that all my eye doth meet Is mist and crag, not only on this height, But in the world of thought and mental might!
Inspiration on Britain's Topmost SummitI ask for words, Parnassian! - said out loud on Scotia's topmost summit, blind in mist! I look into its chasms, which a shroud of vapour bars from sight; so much I wist mankind doth know of Tartarus; and this, upwards, is dismal mist - and that's how much mankind can know of paradisal bliss; downwards, mist rolls across this world: just such, so indistinct, is man's own mirror-study. On craggy rocks aloft my right foot stands -- This much I know, that, poor unwitting noddy, I am on rocks, -- and what my sight commands Is mist and crag, not only on this hill, But in our world of brains and thoughts and skill.
Translation: Copyright © Timothy Adès