Hyperion: Book 1 Line 17-21 - Summary & Analysis

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Upon the sodden.....some comfort yet (Book I, Lines 17-21)


      In this passage Keats makes beautiful use of his poetic talent in a language that makes us more feel than think. We get an idea of the hopelessness of the situation to which Saturn has been dragged after the fall. He is feeling so dejected that he cannot open his eyes, or keep his head erect. Bowing his head down toward earth, he expects her to heal his injured feelings. The earth is the last possible source of consolation for Saturn.

Critical Analysis

      Keats has enhanced the effect of Saturn’s painful condition by adopting the Miltonic device of qualifying a noun by more than one adjective as in the case of Saturn’s hand, which he calls “nerveless, listless, dead Unsceptred”, four adjectives, one after the other in a row. It shows Keats’s perfect command on the setting of words.

      Keats’s description of the fallen Saturn reminds us of how Dante describes those who had done violence against gods “on earth some lay supine”, as it has been put by Cary.

      Realmless eyes—In fact not the eyes but Saturn is seamless, but to heighten the poetic effect, Keats transfers the epithet from Saturn to his eyes.

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