Talk:On First Looking into Chapman's Homer

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Nominate for featured article? Stunning work,everyone! Andycjp 15/05/04

Cortez vs. Balboa.[edit]

I remember reading somewhere that Keats was actually not mistaken when he compares himself to Cortez.

Balboa discovered the Pacific. Homer wrote the epics. Chapman translated them

Cortez looked at the Pacific through Balboa's eyes (I think there is no proof that Cortez saw the pacific himself) Keats is looking at the epics through Chapman's eyes.

Both of them have not seen the true beauty of something so wonderful with their own eyes.

I don't think that's a sound reading, since "stout Cortez" is being paralleled to the astronomer (Herschel presumably in K's mind) who discovers a new planet. The point is that Keats's own experience of encountering a great poet is like a totally new discovery of something of monumental significance. The article's current position of justifying the Cortez cite is frankly a lot of gobbledygook, and the special pleading inherent in claiming that Keats was "keenly interested in history" and so wouldn't make such a mistake is embarrassing. Keats relied for his knowledge on a book by William Robertson called History of America, which includes separate passages describing Balboa's discovery of the Pacific Ocean from a peak in Darien and Cortez's first survey of Mexico City from a high point. If you read them, you'll find they're very similar, and the most reasonable conclusion is that Keats confused them in his memory. (talk) 08:20, 14 April 2008 (UTC)
In fact metrically "Balboa" could have been easily substituted for "stout Cortez", eliminating the problem of an extra syllable mentioned in the article, the loss of an bland adjective being a small cost for historical accuracy in my opinion. And ironically the next line has an extra syllable anyway ("and"). If Keats was willing to change "wondering eyes" to "eagle eyes", it's strange he didn't change this.--Jack Upland (talk) 03:43, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

The 'and' is elided. 'stout' is not a 'bland' adjective, and as has been mentioned elsewhere, it doesn't mean 'fat'.

No, it doesn't mean fat, but so what? How is "and" elided??? It's an extra syllable!!!--Jack Upland (talk) 10:53, 3 January 2016 (UTC)

"Stout" Cortez[edit]

This has always seemed unfair. Why bring his body type into the poem? Bah humbug, Keats!

(M Padman) 'stout' used to mean 'brave' and is used in English public schools to describe someone as a 'stout fellow'[citation needed]. Incidentally neither Cortez nor Bilbao 'discovered' the Pacific. It was always there. It was found by them but what credit goes to the Indians who knew about it for ages and showed it to the so called 'explorer' who went where no humans went, meaning where no whites had ever gone.....

That's a misinterpretation of what "discovery" and "explorer" mean, but that's irrelevant here.--Jack Upland (talk) 03:35, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
wikt:stout --Rodhullandemu 21:46, 4 January 2009 (UTC)

True. I have, however, corrected the erroneous statement about the 'first' Europeans to see the Pacific: its western coast was seen by Europeans much earlier.


I have removed the following after researching its veritability; if some reference for it can be found, it should be replaced:

'When this poem was first published, critics drew attention to the fact that Keats was not classically educated, depending on a translation of Homer rather than being able to read the Greek original. Keats was deeply upset at being rejected for reasons of social class, but this did not stop him using classical themes in his later work.'

OES23 14:23, 26 September 2007 (UTC)

Western Isles[edit]

Can a better explanation for this phrase be found? It makes little sense to say the Greek Islands were to the west of the East Indies. The confusion between the West and East Indies did not outlive Columbus. Compared with America, the Greek Islands are even further east.

Keats could mean the West Indies. This would tie in with "realms of gold". But how to explain Apollo? And he doesn't introduce Cortez till later.

Alternatively he could mean the Fortunate Isles/Garden of the Hesperides of ancient mythology. Presumably they are linked with Apollo as he is a god of the sun and "Hesperides" means dusk.--Jack Upland (talk) 21:58, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

My take is more likely the latter; Homer would have been writing in these terms about places beyond his knowledge and experience, and at the time, this would have included the islands of the Western Mediterranean, i.e. around Iberia, and the Indies, East or West, would have been completely unknown to him. Keats is apparently making a strong metaphorical comparison between two versions of historical events, mediated by Chapman himself. But that's just how I see it. --Rodhullandemu 22:11, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

I don't understand what you mean. There is no suggestion Homer is writing about the East and West Indies. What are the two versions of historical events?--Jack Upland (talk) 22:17, 4 April 2009 (UTC)

Or Keats could mean the western isles of the Hebrides, and be referring to Scottish poetry. But does that have any basis in his career? I remain baffled by this phrase.--Jack Upland (talk) 07:52, 23 December 2010 (UTC)

"realms of gold"[edit]

"realms of gold" in the opening line seem to imply worldly riches... how can this be original research? It's just reading the words, not even interpreting them. Tagging isn't editing. --Wetman (talk) 23:15, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

Poetry, of its nature, is laden with metaphor, and more or less always has been. If otherwise, there would be no jobs for professors of English Literature. One man's "realms of gold" may well refer in a literal sense to, e.g. Eldorado; another's may well refer to the richness that derives from other sources, such as the value of friendship, the beauty of language itself, or even some religious significance. However, Keats is one of the major romantic poets and I doubt that what he meant hasn't been addressed by academics over the last 200 years or so. That, of course, remains conjectural in the absence of Keats' own words, but at least it's worthy of inclusion in this article. WP:OR strongly suggests that we should not draw conclusions for the reader; and WP:RS, supported by WP:V, suggests, nay mandates, that we are only able here to report what those sources have written. In the case of Keats, and this poem, there should be ample material for an encyclopedic analysis. I would have justified earlier had I not thought it beyond argument, since I am currentlt working on a backlog of image fixes; but if you need chapter and verse, you may have it, as entitled. But experienced editors shouldn't need it. Rodhullandemu 23:47, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

Space round the box[edit]

Can an editor adept in html create a slight breathing space between the box and the text? The poem template tested intruded extraneous marks. Thanks.--Wetman (talk) 07:09, 6 February 2011 (UTC)

References to the poem.[edit]

GK Chesterton in his poem "The Logical Vegetarian", (Wine, water and song, Methuen & co, August 1915) I am silent in the Club, I am silent in the pub, I am silent on a bally peak in Darien; — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:20, 15 June 2012 (UTC)