200 years ago, Keats started writing the ‘Ode to Pan’

On Saturday 26 April 1817, Keats began the ‘Hymn to Pan’

“O thou, whose mighty palace roof doth hang
From jagged trunks, and overshadoweth
Eternal whispers, glooms, the birth, life, death
Of unseen flowers in heavy peacefulness;
Who lov’st to see the hamadryads dress
Their ruffled locks where meeting hazels darken;
And through whole solemn hours dost sit, and hearken
The dreary melody of bedded reeds —
In desolate places, where dank moisture breeds
The pipy hemlock to strange overgrowth;
Bethinking thee, how melancholy loth
Thou wast to lose fair Syrinx — do thou now,
By thy love’s milky brow!
By all the trembling mazes that she ran,
Hear us, great Pan!”

John Keats: lines 232-246 of Book I of Endymion (the opening of the ‘Hymn to Pan’). Among the delights of Endymion are four lyrical interludes which include the ‘Song of the Indian Maid’, the ‘Song of the Constellations’ and this, ‘The Hymn to Pan’.

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