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Keats and the problem of evil : a study of the influence of the Timaeus on Keats’ mythological vision St. Pierre, Martha 1981

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KEATS AND THE PROBLEM OF EVIL: A STUDY OF THE INFLUENCE OF THE TIMAEUS ON KEATS' MYTHOLOGICAL VISION by MARTHA ST. PIERRE A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the. required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA July, 1 9 8 1 0 Martha St. Pierre 1981 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the requirements f o r an advanced degree a t the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and study. I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e copying of t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by h i s or her r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s understood t h a t copying or p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department of The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook P l a c e Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 A b s t r a c t KEATS AND THE PROBLEM OF EVIL: A STUDY OF THE INFLUENCE OF THE TIMAEUS ON KEATS' MYTHOLOGICAL VISION ST. PIERRE, Martha J . The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I 9 8 I A d v i s e r : G e o f f r e y Durrant C r i t i c s have d e c l i n e d to acknowledge the i n f l u e n c e of P l a t o n i s m on Keats' p o e t r y except i n i t s most rudimentary form. Close a n a l y s i s of a contemporary t r a n s l a t i o n of P l a t o ' s Timaeus, however, r e v e a l s many connections between Keats' thought and the mythology of the d i a l o g u e . T h i s t h e s i s contends t h a t Thomas T a y l o r ' s t r a n s l a t i o n of and commentaries on the Timaeus u n d e r l i e much of the m y t h o l o g i c a l s t r u c t u r e of Keats' Hyperion and the system of s a l v a t i o n which Keats l a t e r develops i n h i s v a l e of soul-making l e t t e r . I t i s t r u e t h a t the poet before 1818 d e c r i e s the importance of "philosophy," but when the problem of e v i l comes to haunt him, he i s f o r c e d to confess h i s need to understand the world w i t h i n a p h i l o s o p h i c a l framework. The mythology of the Timaeus p r o v i d e s him with such a framework. I t cannot be proven a b s o l u t e l y perhaps t h a t Keats was dependent upon the Timaeus i n h i s own myth-making, but there appears to be a number of very d i r e c t i n f l u e n c e s of the dialogue on h i s l e t t e r s and on Hyperion -- these are outlined i n Chapters Two and Three. What i s of most impor-tance i n the study of Keats' mythology i s the way i n which the poet eventually reshapes and moves beyond Platonism to answer the problem of e v i l and to establish a mythology of his own, a mythology which finds embodiment i n the vale of soul-making and i n the odes of 181°. Chapter One traces the growth of Keats from a poet who prefers to delight i n sensations to one who seeks philosophic truth. It establishes his r e l i g i o u s and p h i l o -sophic b e l i e f s before and a f t e r the problem of e v i l (recorded i n March 1818) i s brought home to him, and indicates how he modifies on ^ 'builds upon those b e l i e f s . In the Mansion of Many Apartments and the March of I n t e l l e c t l e t t e r , Keats introduces the a l l e g o r i e s which l a t e r become the basis of the mythology of Hyperion. Chapter Two explores the process of Keats' myth-making i n Hyperion and reveals to what extent the poet depends upon the Timaeus to answer the problem of e v i l . Keats i s determined to show how the P r i n c i p l e of Beauty i s inherent i n the world, '.and .he \adopts the Platonic world-view to explain that mortality and mutability are r e a l l y calculated towards a greater good, are not to be considered e v i l s . The philosophic argument, sustained i n the structure of the poem, f a l l s apart on the emotional l e v e l , however: Keats' tra g i c v i s i o n as exemplified i n the Titans i s not compensated by the philosophic argument. The f a i l u r e of Hyperion to b u i l d a mythology induces the poet to reassess the problem of e v i l , i v to rework i t s parameters, and the e f f o r t l e a d s f i n a l l y t o the r e s o l u t i o n of the problem and to Keats' own mythology. The f i n a l chapter e s t a b l i s h e s how, from the Pytha-gorean concept of s o u l found i n the Timaeus, Keats develops h i s theology of soul-making. His- system of s p i r i t - c r e a t i o n moves f a r beyond P l a t o n i s m and becomes the b a s i s of the poet's own, independent mythology. But although P l a t o n i s m i s aban-doned, i t s c o n t r i b u t i o n to the thought of Keats should not be underestimated: i n measuring h i s own ideas a g a i n s t i t , Keats i s ab l e f i n a l l y to d e f i n e h i s own p h i l o s o p h y , to answer the problem of e v i l . The odes of 1 8 1 9 are a s e r i e s of myths which develop and s u s t a i n Keats' v i s i o n . In each one Keats i l l u s t r a t e s the weaknesses of t r a d i t i o n a l Greek theology, o f f e r i n g i n i t s stead one more a p p r o p r i a t e to modern England, one which e x p l a i n s the r o l e of e v i l i n man's p e r s o n a l s a l v a t i o n . I f we are to know Keats' mythology, i t i s to the odes t h a t we must t u r n . V Table of Contents Acknowledgement v i I. INTRODUCTION: THE PROBLEM STATED 1 II. THE MYTHOLOGY OF HYPERION 2-3 I I I . THE VALE OF SOUL-MAKING AND KEATS' OWN MYTHOLOGY 68 Notes 114 Bibliography 126 v i Acknowledgement I wish to express my h e a r t f e l t gratitude for the d i r e c t i o n and encouragement given to me hy my thesis super-vi s o r Geoffrey Durrant. Martha St. Pierre 1 CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION: THE PROBLEM STATED To approach Keats' poetry i n terms of a philoso-p h i c a l concern such as the problem of e v i l might be con-sidered a spurious endeavour, for Keats r e s i s t e d a l i g n i n g himself with any p a r t i c u l a r philosophical system and d i s -l i k e d the "consecutive reasoning" such systems necessitated. The present study, accordingly, i s not e s s e n t i a l l y philoso-p h i c a l , for, when the problem of the presence of e v i l comes to haunt the poet i n the years 1818 and 1819» while he recognizes i t as a "philosophical" problem req u i r i n g intense thought and v i s i o n to resolve, his mind i n i t s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c fashion perceives the subject i n p o e t i c a l terms: Keats uses allegory and mythology to record both his understanding that there i s pain and misery i n the world and his eventual "philosophical" acceptance of the f a c t . Platonism comes to play a major r o l e i n Keats' thinking, and i t i s my b e l i e f that i t i s the Timaeus, the dialogue which treats i t s subject i n mythological and not s t r i c t l y p hilosophical terms, which records the generation of the universe i n symbolic, mystical and theological patterns, that most influences the ppet. Keats' mythological v i s i o n , as we s h a l l see when we come to look at Hyperion and the odes of 1819, i s profoundly 2 influenced by the Platonic world-view as set out i n the Timaeus. The e d i t i o n of the dialogue which Keats probably f i r s t read was Thomas Taylor's t r a n s l a t i o n of four Platonic dialogues, including the Cratylus, the Phaedo and the Parmenides as well as the Timaeus. I think that Keats l a t e r knew the 180^ e d i t i o n which contains extensive notes by Taylor on the Timaeus, and that the commentary further influenced Keats' mythology. C r i t i c s for the most part refuse to acknowledge any connection between Taylor's work and Keats' poetry, but, considering the d i v e r s i t y and amount of Taylor's writing and influence, i t would be surprising were Keats not to have met with his work. Taylor was the single most i n f l u e n t i a l P l a t o n i s t of Keats' time, and there are many examples i n the poet's writings that attest to a substantial knowledge of Platonism. It i s true that, the prominent status of Platonism i n the i n t e l l e c t u a l environ-ment of the time being what i t was, much of t h i s knowledge could have been acquired from sources other than Taylor; however, Benjamin Bailey, whom the poet v i s i t e d at Oxford i n the autumn of 1817 , owned a copy of the 1793 t r a n s l a t i o n , and the i n t e r e s t he had i n Plato at the time could very well have induced Keats to read the volume. There i s evidence to suggest that Keats had knowledgeoof at least the Parmenides as well as the Timaeus, 2 but i t was the l a t t e r which would have most affected the young poet and former medical student. 3 It i s not astonishing that he who would die i n 6 hours could plans he brought to conclusions. -- the looking upon the Sun the Moon the Stars, the Earth and i t s contents as materials to form greater things -- that i s ethereal things3 would be fascinated by the dialogue which, as Taylor states on the f i r s t page of his Introduction, vindicates to i t s e l f the whole of physi-ology, and i s conversant from beginning to end with the speculation of the universe; ... speculating the same things i n images and exemplars, i n wholes and i n parts; ... and i t leaves none of the primary causes unexplored. (3^9) But while Keats might have read and assimilated the dialogue at Oxford, his natural i n c l i n a t i o n s bade him r e j e c t the influence of philosophical speculation. It i s necessary I think to see Keats as he evolves from a poet who delights only i n sensations to.one who hungers voraciously af t e r truth, for i t points out how overwhelmingly his sudden v i s i o n of the presence of e v i l a f f e c t s him. To i n s i s t urgently that Keats changes completely afte r his c r i s i s i n March 1818 would-be to d i s t o r t the organic quality of his mind and to deny the many other factors which mature him as a man and as a poet. It i s nevertheless true that Keats p e r i o d i c a l l y underwent creative renewals, usually early i n the year ( i n February 1'819, for instance, he i s waiting for the spring to rouse him so that he can 4 f i n i s h Hyperion) and that a marked change i n him occurs i n March and A p r i l 1818. I would l i k e i t borne i n mind, though, that while I emphasize the chronological movement of Keats' thought hy means of c e r t a i n key l e t t e r s because I think i t s i g n i f i c a n t i n understanding the poems to be dealt with l a t e r , I am not unmindful of the v i t a l i t y and wholeness of Keats' imagination. We are fortunate that the poet wrote so oftennand so thoughtfully to Bailey a f t e r his v i s i t to Oxford. Bailey was a student of theology, intensely committed to philoso-p h i c a l studies. It i s evident that he did not approve of Keats' expressed preference for the sensuous, and i t would not be unreasonable to assume that he endeavoured to show the poet the errors of his poetic and theological ways. As a r e s u l t , we have Keats defending his p o s i t i o n as a poet uninterested i n philosophy and as a man detached fromhhis friend's r e l i g i o u s opinions. One of the most s t r i k i n g features of Keats' corres spondence following his v i s i t i s his conscious attempt to separate himself as far as possible from "philosophy" which i n i t s pejorative sense (for Keats) appears to mean a closed system of ideas which by i t s very nature excludes the value of experiences not i n conformity warth i t s tenets, and from "philosophizing," a reasoning process employing the r a t i o n a l faculty over the imaginative (or i n t u i t i v e or natural). Keats uses the term "philosophy" very loosely, sometimes merely as 5 a synonym for thought or knowledge; however, i t i s clear that when he i s r e j e c t i n g "philosophy," he i s r e j e c t i n g reasoned and theoretically-based knowledge, not a l l thought. His evident d i s l i k e for philosophy goes hand-in-hand with his conception of negative c a p a b i l i t y and his r e s o l u t i o n to define himself as a poet i n the Shakespearean mode as opposed to the Wordsworthian -- to be a poet content to rest i n uncertainties and mysteries without " i r r i t a b l e reaching after fact and reason," rather than one who b u l l i e s his readers into a c e r t a i n philosophy and whose poetry has a "palpable design." Keats' determination to distance himself from the reasoning process, to feast on sensations rather than thoughts, i s extreme; i n the l e t t e r s of early 1818 he maintains that he i s a poet and not a reasoner and that he cares not to be i n the r i g h t . His repeated insistence on his autonomy as a poet i s no doubt i n answer to Bailey's contention that philosophical thought i s imperative -- f o r poets as well as clergymen. Bailey's deep respect for Milton and Wordsworth probably derives from t h e i r practice of dealing within formal e t h i c a l structures. Keats was not of course without a philosophical p o s i t i o n , but he came by i t more i n t u i t i v e l y than system-a t i c a l l y . The poet's l e t t e r s reveal him to be a product of the empiricism and scepticism of the eighteenth century and t h e i r derivative, natual r e l i g i o n (or Deism, Leigh Hunt's " r e l i g i o n of the Heart") Keats' l e t t e r of November 1'817 6 to Bailey i l l u s t r a t e s his adherence to the p r i n c i p l e s of natural r e l i g i o n , p a r t i c u l a r l y to the doctrine that a f f e c t i o n s , passions and sensations are mental dispositions which proceed from the heart and are the "basis of man's knowledge., e t h i c a l and divine: I am c e r t a i n of nothing but the h o l i -ness of the Heart's affections and the truth of Imagination — What the imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth — whether i t existed before or not -- for I have the same Idea of a l l our Passions as of Love that they are a l l i n t h e i r sublime, creative of e s s e n t i a l Beauty — ... I have never yet been able to perceive how any thing can be known for truth by consequitive reasoning — and yet i t must be -- Can i t be that even the greatest Philosopher ever arrived at his goal without putting aside numerous objections -- However i t may be, 0 for a L i f e of Sensations rather than of Thoughts! (I, 184-85) The "naturalism" of Keats' views rests i n his b e l i e f i n the i n d i v i d u a l ' s a b i l i t i e s to understand truth by his apprehension of beauty and to create es s e n t i a l beauty by means of his passions. Truth i s not an absolute e x i s t i n g outside man's domain only to be comprehended by consecutive reasoning, but i t i s something which l i e s within man's powers of creation: "What the imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth -- whether i t existed before or not." Keats' preference for a '.Life, of Sensations may have shocked his fr i e n d Bailey (although he was a follower of the "moral sense philosophers"),^ but i t was a legitimate philosophical stance. 7 The l e t t e r has l i t e r a r y and aesthetic ramifications as well as theologi c a l , among them Keats' conception of negative c a p a b i l i t y , the seeds of which can be found i n his comparison of Men of Genius and Men of Power, i n his unwillingness to assert himself too much, to have any determined character: he i s "certain of nothing but the holiness of the Heart's affections and the truth of Imagin-ation"; he w i l l not take an unswerving stand against p h i l -osophy or thought, but w i l l merely state his preference for sensations. A great deal of what l i e s behind Keats' r e l u c -tance to assert c a t e g o r i c a l l y the tr u t h of what he believes stems from his d i s l i k e of authoritarianism i n any guise, whether i t be Wordsworthian b u l l y i n g or Bailey's C h r i s t i a n i t y (see "In Disgust of Vulgar Superstition"). He prefers the freedom of natural r e l i g i o n which leaves man unencumbered by dogma and free to act as a natural being. Exactly what Keats' "natural r e l i g i o n " was would be impossible to know: Deism was c e r t a i n l y not a s t a t i c , orthodox r e l i g i o n but one i n which doctrine tended to a l t e r with the i n d i v i d u a l . However, we do know of his never-f a i l i n g f a i t h i n a beneficent Creator who gave us the beauty of the natural world, the affections with which to perceive i t and the imagination with which to translate i t s natural beauty into metaphysical beauty and truth. While he does not state e x p l i c i t l y what r e l a t i o n the phy s i c a l world bears to the metaphysical realm (the world of "essential".beauty), 8 we can assume that Keats held the two to be coexistent and both to p a r t i c i p a t e i n r e a l being: the material world was not simply a d e c e i t f u l r e f l e c t i o n of an i d e a l one. Endy-mion's idea that we can step into "a sort of oneness," "a-fellowship divine, a fellowship with essence"- by virtue of our feelings indicates an intimate connection between the two realms, as does Keats' "allegro" Ode: Bards of Passion and of Mirth, Ye have l e f t your souls on earth! Have ye souls i n heaven too, Double l i v e d i n regions new? Yes, and those of heaven commune With the spheres of sun and moon; With the noise of fountains wond'rous, And the parle of voices thund'rous; Where the nightingale doth sing Not a senseless, tranced thing, But a divine melodious truth; Philosophic numbers smooth; Tales and golden h i s t o r i e s 7 Of heaven and i t s mysteries.' That i s , the phenomena of the natural world accord us sight of immortal truth: the divine can be apprehended i n the song of the nightingale, the voice of thunder and the sound of water. U n t i l the spring of 1818, Keats unquestioningly accepts the Deist p o s i t i o n with regard to the problem of e v i l . Man i s equipped with the a b i l i t y to judge the morality of his actions -- good and e v i l are known by the feelings of pleasure and pain which they excite; holiness resides i n the affections of the heart. Because mankind has power 9 over h i s moral a f f a i r s i n consequence of the knowledge of good and e v i l which originates i n him, Keats does not look on the existence of moral sin;..as a philosophical problem. Individual displays of i t — intolerance, i n j u s t i c e , hypocrisy, etc. — i n f u r i a t e d him, and led him to admire and praise great thinkers and men of action who opposed tyranny, such as Voltair e and Kosciusko, but he accepts that each person i s ultimately responsible f o r his own actions and must l i v e with th e i r consequences. As a poet, Keats finds himself able to enjoy a fine display of energy whether i t s source be good or e v i l ; he can delight i n con-ceiving an Iago as much as an Imogen. But the problem with e v i l that i s inherent i n the structure of the world i s another matter. From the point of view of Deism, there i s no such problem, for the good experi-enced i n the natural world so obviously outweighs the bad. In his November l e t t e r to Bailey, Keats adopts the Deist attitude: The f i r s t thing that s t r i k e s me on hea/r/ing a Misfortune having b e f a i l e d / s i c / another i s t h i s . 'Well i t cannot be helped. -- he w i l l have the pleasure of tr y i n g the resourses of h i s s p i r i t . (I, 186) The curt dismissal of, or rather lack of concern for, the feelings of one who suffers misfortune appears inconsistent with the Keats so attuned to human sorrows we normally i d e n t i f y . But the passage does serve to i l l u s t r a t e the 10 optimism of Keats' mind: the world i s the best of possible worlds, and man can only take pleasure i n i t . I f tragedy occurs, one must r e l i s h the struggle to overcome the challenge i t presents to the psyche. This cava l i e r attitude disappears not long aft e r Keats records i t and i s replaced by an anguished r e a l i z a t i o n that l i v i n g creatures are made to suffer i n t h i s world for no apparent reason. And Keats i s l e f t to agonize over the cause of indiscriminate, universal e v i l which i s so at variance with the beauty of nature. The problem of e v i l i s a philosophical one, and u n t i l Keats' verse e p i s t l e to John Hamilton Reynolds, March 2 5 . 1818, he i s unaware of any need to explore i t . The l e t t e r r e l a t e s Keats' v i s i o n of natural disorder: I saw Too f a r into the sea; where every maw The greater on the less feeds evermore: — S t i l l do I that most f i e r c e destruction see, The shark at savage prey, -- the hawk at pounce, The gentle Robin, l i k e a pard or ounce, Ravening a worm. (I, 2 6 2 ; 9 3 - 9 5 . 102-105) For Keats, the episode i s cataclysmic: i t i s not that he had been bl i n d to nature's grimmer aspects, but t h e i r harsh r e a l i t y had never presented i t s e l f with so much poignancy, never seemed such a perversion. Being forced f i n a l l y to recognize and to acknowledge the cruelty and e v i l endemic i n the world i s doubly p a i n f u l for the poet: i n i t s e l f the destruction i s d i f f i c u l t to accept; but i n addition i t betrays 1 1 to the poet his l o s t innocence and has him wishing that the state of innocence could he unending: 0 that our dreamings a l l of sleep'or wake Would a l l t h e i r colours from the sunset take: From something of material sublime, Rather than shadow our own Soul's daytime In the dark void of Night. (I, 2 6 l ; 6 7 - 7 1 ) Our soul meets i t s dark night when i t becomes aware of e v i l and ugliness i n the world; we cannot f o r ever know only the material sublime, the exquisite beauty of the natural world, "for i n the world we j o s t l e , " and part of that world i s quite the reverse of sublime -- savage, brutal, destructive. But Keats can go no further than to recount his anguish; the tone becomes desperate as he faces his i n a b i l i t y -- by reason of immaturity and ignorance — to explain t h i s newly-discovered and newly-felt truth, that there i s pain i n the world: — but my f l a g is-.not unfurl'd On the Admiral s t a f f — and to philosophize I dare not yet! -- Oh, never w i l l the prize, High reason, and the lore of good and i l l Be my award. Things cannot to the w i l l Be s e t t l e d , but they tease us out of thought. Or i s i t that Imagination brought Beyond i t s proper bound, yet s t i l l confined, --Lost i n a sort of Purgatory blind, Cannot r e f e r to any standard law Of either earth or heaven? (I, 2 6 1 - 6 2 ; 7 2 - 8 2 ) Keats r e a l i z e s that the mere wish to understand the world w i l l not elucidate i t , that to penetrate the mystery of good and i l l requires acute, mature v i s i o n . Suddenly p h i l o -sophy, reason, knowledge are as fervently longed for as they 12 were e a r l i e r repudiated. He senses quite accurately that he i s l o s t i n a "Purgatory blind": he sees too deeply into the r e a l i t y of things but i s at the same time too young to comprehend what he sees. Unable to fathom the inner workings of the universe, to discover or know the law which underlies his nightmarish perceptions, the poet i s l e f t only with the unhappy awareness that the world i s changed for him: It i s a flaw In happiness to see beyond our bourn --It forces us i n Summer skies to mourn; It s p o i l s the singing of the Nightingale. ( I , 2 6 2 ; 82-85) It would have been impossible at t h i s point i n his l i f e for Keats to have written "Beauty i s truth, truth beauty": i t was c l e a r to him that ugliness, the precise opposite of his idea of beauty and harmony, i s very much a part of the truth of the natural world. In Keats' c i r c l e the aesthetic conception of good and e v i l went v i r t u a l l y unquestioned -- Bailey, Hunt, Haydon, H a z l i t t , the most i n t e l l e c t u a l l y i n f l u e n t i a l of Keats' friends, would c e r t a i n l y have sympathized with the young poet's analysis of his encounter with the disharmony and destructive a c t i v i t y of nature: i f beauty i s the same as.' goodness, then the reverse or absence of beauty i s equivalent to e v i l . Their C h r i s t i a n and Deist explanations of the s i t u a t i o n , however, would have been of no help to him: the idea of o r i g i n a l s i n was repugnant to him, and he could not now simply avoid the confrontation which t h i s new sense of r e a l i t y demanded of 13 him. The problem would hot allow escape into the p o e t i c a l character. No honest poet, once he has met face to face a problem of t h i s c a l i b r e , could continue to offer his readers poetry which ignores i t . I t became necessary then -- and Keats immediately took up the challenge -- to f i n d the "standard law of either earth or heaven" which could account for the e v i l that destroys l i f e and happiness. Gradually throughout the weeks following his verse e p i s t l e to Reynolds, Keats evolves an awareness of the tr a g i c implications of e v i l (no longer does he shrug o f f misfortune having be f a l l e n another) by defining -- not i n a reasoning fashion but i n one responsive to the experiences of humanity — the nature of e v i l . He sums up his major concerns with i t i n a l e t t e r to Bailey i n June: Were i t i n my choice I would re j e c t a petrarchal coronation — on accou/n/t of my dying day, and because women have Cancers. (I, 292) Mortality and suf f e r i n g are e v i l s which are f o r Keats d i f f i c u l t to understand and impossible to j u s t i f y . The statement, the s i n c e r i t y of which cannot be doubted, reveals something very impressive about Keats: i t l i e s i n the s h i f t that his ambition has undergone, as a r e s u l t of his grappling with the problem of e v i l I think, from de s i r i n g fame and recognition — a petrarchal crown -- to fin d i n g "there i s no worthy pursuit but the idea of doing some good for the world." 14 With h i s r e c o g n i t i o n t h a t the luxury of e t h e r e a l thoughts gained through sense experience was g i v i n g way to a harsher view of r e a l i t y , one t h a t embraced a t r a g i c consciousness, Keats a l s o saw t h a t h i s f u n c t i o n as a poet and h i s c o n c e p t i o n of poetry ( h i s own and others') must undergo change. Of primary concern to Keats i s how h i s new v i s i o n of the world w i l l a f f e c t h i s work. Since he cannot r e l i n q u i s h h i s b e l i e f i n the P r i n c i p l e of Beauty i n a l l t h i n g s , i t i s necessary somehow to r e c o n c i l e the e x i s t e n c e of e v i l with the e s s e n t i a l goodness of the world. Philosophy, as Keats r e c o g n i z e s i n March, becomes something t h a t a poet must c h e r i s h : I know nothing I have read nothing and I mean to follow Solomon's directions of 'get Wisdom -- get understanding' -- I f i n d c a v a l i e r days are gone by. I f i n d that I can have no enjoyment i n the world but continual drinking of Knowledge ... The road l i e s though a p p l i c a t i o n study and thought. I w i l l pursue i t and to that end purpose r e t i r i n g f or some years. I have been hovering for some time between an exquisite sense of the luxurious and a love for Philosophy -- were I calculated for the former I should be glad -- but as I am not I s h a l l turn a l l my souldto the l a t t e r . (I, 2 ? 1 , A p r i l 24) I have written to George for some Books --s h a l l learn Greek, and very l i k e l y I t a l i a n — and i n other ways prepare myself to ask H a z l i t t i n about a years time the best meta-physical road I can take. -- For although I take poetry to be Chief, there i s something else wanting to one who passes his l i f e among Books and thoughts on Books. (I, 2 7 4 , A p r i l 27) Every department of knowledge we see excellent and calculated towards a great whole ... An 15 extensive knowledge i s needful to thinking people -- i t takes away the heat and fever; and helps, hy widening speculation, to ease the Burden of the Mystery: a thing I "begin to understand a l i t t l e . ( I , 277, May 3) In his insistence on the need for every department of knowl-edge, Keats i s not of course forsaking his previous f a i t h i n the affections as avenues to truth, to "holiness"; what he understands i s that sensations have to he reinforced and can perhaps he augmented hy another form of understanding --one which has to he worked at and developed rather than simply experienced: there i s a "difference of high Sensations with and without knowledge." While prepared to steep himself i n scholarship, the poet retains a healthy attitude about i t s p o s s i b i l i t i e s : "It i s impossible to know how f a r knowledge w i l l console us for the death of a f r i e n d and the i l l 'that f l e s h i s heir to." And perhaps "Wisdom i s f o l l y " (I, 2 7 7 - 7 9 ) -But he i s nevertheless eager to investigate the po t e n t i a l benefits that knowledge might have. The "painful and acute l a b y r i n t h " through which Keats passes i n March and A p r i l leads to a c r y s t a l l i z a t i o n of perceptions i n his l e t t e r of May 3rd to Reynolds (part of which i s quoted above). The tendency of his imagination to convert a l l experience and thought into p o e t i c a l formula-tions acts upon',his new conception of the world. In an e f f o r t to understand his previous indifference to and present concern with the r e a l i t y of the world as he now sees i t , Keats fashions an allegory to describe the process by which 1 6 an i n d i v i d u a l matures: lie c a l l s l i f e a "Mansion of Many-Apartments" and i d e n t i f i e s each stage of a person's devel-opment with a p a r t i c u l a r chamber i n the mansion. In each apartment the occupant i s at f i r s t w e l l - s a t i s f i e d with him-s e l f and his knowledge of the world, but gradually i s made aware of l i m i t a t i o n s i n his knowledge and i s compelled to seek truth beyond his immediate surroundings. The "awakening of the thinking p r i n c i p l e -- within us" i s responsible for the progress from the Infant or Thoughtless Chamber into the Chamber of Maiden Thought where one r e j o i c e s i n the new-born a c t i v i t y of mind. One of the e f f e c t s of developing the c r i t i c a l i n t e l l i g e n c e , however, i s that tremendous one of sharpening one's v i s i o n into the heart and nature of Man --of convincing ones nerves that the World i s f u l l of Misery and Heartbreak, Pain, Sickness and oppression -- whereby This Chamber of Maiden Thought becomes gradually darken'd and at the same time on a l l sides of i t many doors are set open — but a l l dark -- a l l leading to dark passages -- We see not the ballance of good and e v i l . We are i n a Mist. (I, 281) Here Keats i s giving voice again to that f e e l i n g almost of suspension -- of being l o s t i n a Purgatory blind, knowing only that pain exi s t s , but being unable to read the balance of good and i l l . What i s impressive about the allegory i s not simply the r e i t e r a t i o n that the world i s f u l l of misery and heartbreak, but the fa c t that Keats has advanced beyond the emotional t r i b u l a t i o n of the darkened second chamber of his March e p i s t l e , and i s u n i t i n g "sensations with knowl-17 edge"; he i s reasoning out the kind of l i f e - p r o c e s s which every i n d i v i d u a l must undergo. The i n c l u s i o n of his f r i e n d Reynolds and the Wordsworth of "Tintern Abbey" i n the same l i f e journey which he i s on i s an extension of Keats' poetic v i s i o n from personal to c o l l e c t i v e , from subjective to objective. The schematizing of human experience i n the allegory of the Mansion constitutes Keats' f i r s t r e a l step towards a mythological v i s i o n — towards an understanding of the world i n terms of a framework of thought rather than a series of personal responses. Naturally Keats i s anxious to consider the implica-tions which his new, formalized conception of l i f e has for the poet and for poetry: the Mansion becomes the reference-point by which his own work and that of other poets can be measured. Wordsworth's genius, according to Keats, i s to be seen i n his exploration of those dark passages which the younger poet i s only aware exi s t , and i n his penetration of the human heart as i t responds to each of the apartments of l i f e . Once a poet has had the presence of e v i l impressed upon him, his task i s to r e f l e c t the burden of l i f e for his readers, as Wordsworth does. As a thinker, Wordsworth d i f f e r s from Milton i n t h i s : Wordsworth uses philosophy (I think Keats would say) as a process of ordering and explaining experience, and each new discovery into the human heart that he makes expands his philosophical outlook; Milton, by contrast, imposes a system which i s s t a t i c , i s composed of 18 "resting places and seeming sure points of Reasoning," and i s not given to exploring new areas of f e e l i n g and thought, hut i s s a t i s f i e d with the "hintings of good and e v i l i n the Paradise Lost." The comparison of the two poets which sees Wordsworth as the deeper of the two says less about them r e a l l y than about Keats and the process through which he i s going. (Keats at other times accuses Wordsworth of as much dogmatism as he here ascribes to Milton, and l a t e r on Paradise Lost becomes every day a greater wonder to him.) How does the poet deal with the knowledge of pain i n the world? A l l of Keats' energies at t h i s point are con-centrated on t h i s question, and his discussion of Milton and Wordsworth indicates his newly-acquired conviction that great poetry which deals with l i f e ' s major issues depends upon a philosophical v i s i o n ; i n favouring Wordsworth to his predecessor Keats i s determining the sort of organic p h i l o -sophical outlook which he himself would l i k e . Keats' primary concern i s theological and p o e t i c a l , how to explain e v i l i n the world, and his main interests are those he sees working i n the epic poets. His analysis d i r e c t s him to another formulation: "the "grand March of I n t e l l e c t " becomes a way of conceiving i n s o c i a l , p o l i t i c a l and theological terms the history of philosophy and poetry, and i t points out to Keats the enormous task ahead of him i f he wishe s to be "among.the greatest." It i s clear that at t h i s stage i t i s the epic which he sees as the proper vehicle f o r examining 19 the problem of the presence of e v i l . The epic i s able at once to portray dramatically pain and suf f e r i n g and to suggest explanations, of why e v i l should exist, and to of f e r condolence and perhaps amelioration of the burden of the mystery to i t s readers. The l e t t e r of May 3rd i s important i n many respects --Keats' confrontation with so many ideas and his acceptance of philosophy as one of the poet's tools give him the basis on which to develop his ideas and his work as a poet. His a l l e g o r i z i n g of human l i f e and of the h i s t o r i c a l progress of thought betrays a cast of mind i n the process of mytholo-gizing, of constructing a world-view capable of explaining the mysteries met within the world. The problems of existence, especially that of suffering, go beyond the poet's personal response, and enter the realm of universal, philosophic, epic concerns. Where philosophy and poetry converge of course i s i n mythology -- the p o e t i c a l or narrative rendering of p h i l o -sophic, theological truths. Any mythopoeia to be complete must meet ce r t a i n c r i t e r i a : most important among them i s the explanation of the universe i n the form of a cosmology and of man i n h i s t o r i c a l terms; also r e q u i s i t e i s a theology or doctrine by which man's s p i r i t u a l s e l f i s interpreted and his s p i r i t u a l l i f e enhanced. From the comprehension of man and the universe i n t h e i r t o t a l i t y , there emerges a body of myths which develops and sustains the. mythopoeic 20 v i s i o n , and usually a set of symbols, emblems and metaphors by which the myths become uni v e r s a l l y recognized. Keats' f i r s t attempt at mythologizing, that i s , creating his own mythology, i s Hyperion; i t s strengths and weaknesses can to a great degree be traced to i t s success i n o f f e r i n g a complete system by which to understand the world and man's place i n i t . Of course Keats' mythology i s ultimately a personal one. Nevertheless, he i s bent upon o f f s e t t i n g his private responses to l i f e by presenting a universal v i s i o n which attempts to address i t s e l f to many of man's major preoccu-pations. It was necessary to reshape myth to meet his needs, not as he did f o r Endymion where he took up whatever legends seemed to s t r i k e his fancy, but i n such a way as would show something e s s e n t i a l about the human condition. The difference between Endymion and Hyperion i s profound, not so much for the conclusions they come to, for Keats i n s t i n c t i v e l y l i n k s the natural world with the i d e a l , but f o r the framework which he builds (or f a i l s to b u i l d as i n the case of Endymion) around the ideas contained i n the poems. Endymion i s the issue of Keats' i n t r i n s i c love f o r Greek myth, for the loveliness of the s t o r i e s and the beauty of the poetry which embodies them. To the sensual world which the pastoral hero- and the poet delight i n i s somewhat a r t i f i c i a l l y superimposed an i d e a l v i s i o n , but the Neo-Pla-tonism of the poem can i n no way be reckoned a philosophical 2 1 statement. Keats i s simply l u x u r i a t i n g i n "pure poesy"; he takes 4000 l i n e s of one hare circumstance and f i l l s them with poetry. I f the poem can be said to be constructed on a v i s i o n , i t i s one which finds a young i n d i v i d u a l allowed to indulge i n beauty and romance; the legends on which the poem i s based exist for t h e i r own sake. Hyperion, on the other hand, i s an epic, and the cosmic t o t a l i t y which Keats presents i s meant to convey^ universal truths which should be of benefit to a l l mankind. The poem i s the expression of Keats' understanding of r e a l i t y as i t i s manifested i n the indivi d u a l ' s apprehension of the presence of e v i l ("Tom has spit a l e e t l e blood t h i s afternoon, and that i s rather a damper -- but I know -- the truth i s there i s something r e a l i n the World") and as i t through time leads to knowledge and wisdom. Keats' knowledge of the material which he transforms into his own mythology originates i n such works as Chapman's translations of Homer, Sandys' of Hesiod and Ovid, Hyginus, Spenser and Milton; and editors of Keats have traced much of the Hyperion poem to i t s sources. But one influence which has been ignored or dismissed as impossible i s Thomas Taylor's o t r a n s l a t i o n of the Timaeus of Plato. The dialogue provided Keats not so much with p a r t i c u l a r d e t a i l s concerning the actions <5f the gods; rather i t influenced the way i n which Keats came to use mythology. Hyperion becomes under the authority of Taylor's Plato a comprehensive outline of the 22 makeup of the world based on a theological.,, m y s t i c a l p a t t e r n i n g o f the laws o f the u n i v e r s e . The way i n which Keats g i v e s cosmic s i g n i f i c a n c e to the knowledge t h a t he now possesses owes much to the p e r v a s i v e power of the Greek myths as they grew up around and then served to embody the a b s t r a c t i o n s of P l a t o n i c p h i l o s o p h y . 23 CHAPTER TWO THE MYTHOLOGY OF HYPERION The plan of study which Keats decides to pursue i n the spring of 1818 i s suddenly interrupted i n the autumn hy the i l l n e s s of his brother Tom. The need to f i n d a solu-t i o n to the problem of e v i l , i n t e n s i f i e d by the imminence of his brother's death, p r e c i p i t a t e s the poet into beginning his epic Hyperion before he i s ready. Keats plunges into i t s "abstract images" i n an e f f o r t to escape the tragedy crowding i n upon him, and to work out as well as he can, with an as-yet i n s u f f i c i e n t knowledge, an i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of experience capable of explaining human a f f l i c t i o n . The poem i s embarked upon prematurely, but not b l i n d l y : Keats has been thinking about i t since Endymion, and we have the testimony of Woodhouse to indicate that his plot i s i n o readiness. As well, Keats has his perceptions of the pre-ceding spring to exploit: the v i s i o n of e v i l , now v i v i d l y reinforced i n the dying Tom; the allegory of the Mansion of Many Apartments and i t s r e l a t i o n to the Burden of the Mystery; and the grand March of I n t e l l e c t . Hyperion might be c a l l e d an exploration into one of the dark, t h i r d Chambers, a search for some r e l i e f to the nightmarish igno-ance of Maiden-Thought. There are many reasons for Keats' i n a b i l i t y to go on with the poem, not the least of which i s 24 t h e g r i e f c a u s e d hy Tom's d e a t h , h u t t h e f u n d a m e n t a l one i s t h a t h i s t h i n k i n g s i m p l y has n o t a d v a n c e d f a r enough f o r h i m t o answer t h e p r o b l e m o f e v i l . The f a c t t h a t H y p e r i o n i s a n e p i c and n o t t h e romance i t was o r i g i n a l l y i n t e n d e d t o be s u g g e s t s t h e s e r i o u s n e s s w i t h w h i c h K e a t s i s a p p r o a c h i n g h i s w r i t i n g . I t i s no doubt t h e r e s u l t o f t h e May 3rd M a r c h o f I n t e l l e c t t h a t he d e c i d e s t o c a s t H y p e r i o n as a n e p i c , t h e c o n s i d e r a t i o n o f W o r d s w o r t h a n d M i l t o n as g r e a t p o e t s h a v i n g b e e n i n t e r m s o f t h e i r e p i c v i s i o n . I t i s h i s b e l i e f i n t h e power o f t h e genre t o a c c o m p l i s h good i n t h e w o r l d , a l o n g w i t h h i s a m b i -t i o n t o e s t a b l i s h h i s own p l a c e i n E n g l i s h p o e t r y , t h a t s e t s h i m u p o n h i s e p i c t a s k . As a n e p i c , t h e poem comprehends s e v e r a l l a y e r s o f m e a n i n g , b u t t h e p r i m a r y one i s t o be f o u n d i n t h e s y m b o l i c w o r l d - o r d e r w h i c h t h e p o e t p r e s e n t s i n a n e f f o r t t o a c c o u n t f o r t h e p r o b l e m o f p a i n . The r e s p o n s e o f t h e T i t a n s t o t h e i r f a l l , i n a l l i t s a n g u i s h and h e a r t -b r e a k , i s t o o m a s t e r f u l l y drawn f o r u s t o t h i n k t h a t K e a t s has n o t t h e p r o b l e m o f e v i l as h i s p r i n c i p a l s u b j e c t . The Timaeus o f P l a t o p l a y s a l a r g e p a r t i n K e a t s ' d e s i g n : t h e cosmogony t h e p o e t i n t r o d u c e s i s b a s e d on t h e P l a t o n i c w o r l d - o r d e r as he w o u l d have d i s c o v e r e d i t i n Thomas T a y l o r ' s t r a n s l a t i o n a t B a i l e y ' s . I n m a k i n g u s e o f t h e w o r l d = s y s t e m o f t h e Timaeus and i t s t h e o l o g i c a l i m p l i c a t i o n s , K e a t s i s e n d e a v o u r i n g t o p r o f i t f r o m t h e s t o r e o f p h i l o s o p h y o r " h i g h r e a s o n , ' " t o e q u i p h i m s e l f w i t h enough knowledge t o 25 clear away the mists, to see the balance of good and e v i l . Hyperion i s to reconcile the' problem of pain to the idea that the universe i s inherently good. For the f i r s t time Keats w i l l be using mythology f o r i t s o r i g i n a l purpose: as an utterance of r e l i g i o u s truth, that i s , a giving order and shape to a v i s i o n of creation which defines man's s p i r i t u a l condition and his place i n the scheme of things. Keats i s very much on his way to mythologizing i n Hyperion, to rendering concrete, dramatic embodiment to the abstract p r i n c i p l e s which govern existence. However, to have succeeded f u l l y would have required a larger and more con-fident knowledge than Keats was then i n possession of, and the poem as mythology i s more one of a s p i r a t i o n than of completion. Nevertheless, with the fragment, Keats.sets himself firmly i n l i n e with the great English poets. The excellence of the verse, the magnitude of his "more anxiety for Humanity" which reveals i t s e l f i n the b e a u t i f u l concep-t i o n of the f a l l e n Titans secure the poet's t i t l e to fame. Attempting an entire mythology was perhaps an error, but i n the venture Keats once again 'hits the soundings' from which he i s f i n a l l y to emerge vi c t o r i o u s as a mythological poet i n his own r i g h t . The mythological design of Hyperion i s of large proportions: while the problem of e v i l i s Keats' main concern, the poet does not intend to delineate i t alone; rather the poem i s to be an extensive mythical narrative i n 26 which the problem of e v i l w i l l be resolved. The Timaeus plays a large r o l e i n Keats' plan, but before considering that r o l e , one other factor contributing to the mythology of the poem should be noted. We f i n d Keats influenced not only by t r a d i t i o n a l Greek poetry and myth, but also by contemporary speculative mythologies which interpret Greek myth i n a l l manner of ways to support various r e l i g i o u s , s o c i a l and h i s t o r i c a l t h e o r i e s . 1 0 Keats was p a r t i c u l a r l y affected by the speculative mythographer Edward Davies, a copy of whose C e l t i c Researches he owned. That author boldly hypothesizes the i n f i l t r a t i o n of the Old Testament Jews along with t h e i r counterparts i n Greek mythology (who l a t e r become i d e n t i f i e d as the B r i t i s h Druids) into Early B r i t a i n . The theory which equates Greek gods and heroes with the ancient Druids was a popular one, and Keats was w i l l i n g to draw on i t i n order that his poem be a national epic. As early as "Sleep and Poetry" we see the poet influenced by the theory ( 1 1 . 1 6 9 - 7 2 , I83)> and i n Hyperion his intention i s to expand the idea into a B r i t i s h mythology recounting the r i s e of poetry from Asia to Greece to Italy and f i n a l l y to England. 1^ That Keats linked the welfare of England with that of her poetry, b e l i e v i n g that the s p i r i t u a l health of a people i s dependent upon i t s a r t i s t i c health, i s apparent i n the l e t t e r he writes to George i n America while at work on Hyperion, 1 4 t h October 1818: Dilke, whom you know.to be a Godwin 27 p e r f e c t i b i l / I t / y Man, pleases himself with the idea that America w i l l he the country to take up the human i n t e l l e c t where england leaves o f f — I d i f f e r there with him greatly -- A country l i k e the united states whose greatest Men are Franklins and Washingtons w i l l never do that -- They are great men doubtless but how are they to be compared to those our countrey men l i k e Milton and the two Sidneys -- The one i s a philosophical Quaker f u l l of mean and t h r i f t y maxims the other sold the very Charger who had taken him through a l l his Battles — Those American's are great but they are not sublime Man -- the humanity of the United States can never reach the sublime. (I, 3 9 7 - 9 8 ) The sublimity of Hyperion was to be a contribution to his country's honour and to her welfare. The importance of a B r i t i s h mythology, i m p l i c i t l y postulated i n the l e t t e r and by the poem, i s by the autumn of 1819 so strongly f e l t by Keats that he sees the necessity of writing i n pure English idiom. Perhaps more s i g n i f i c a n t l y , however, i s the fact that such an outline — one which would see Saturn eventually r u l i n g B r i t a i n (the Isles of the Blest) and nurturing the growth of English poetry -- provided Keats with a structure to his poem and an h i s t o r i c a l perspective by which the modern reader would recognize his world. Within i t , the March of I n t e l l e c t would f i n d a more complete expression than i t had when f i r s t conceived: Keats would i l l u s t r a t e the greater beauty and truth of each new p o e t i c a l age as i t i s b u i l t upon the previous one. The adoption of the Greek-28 Druid-English connection we can see as a convenience. Keats was aware that his all u s i o n s to "Druid stones" and Saturn's "Druid locks" would be s u f f i c i e n t to indicate to his readers the progress of the poem. The mythography Keats i s using i s one small facet of his mythmaking, but i n i t we r e a l i z e the immense plans he had f o r Hyperion but was unable to r e a l i z e . He could, no doubt, have continued the h i s t o r i c a l representation of the development of poetry; what was lacking was not information, but knowledge. Where the poem f a i l s i s not i n imaginative speculation concerning poetry, but i n find i n g the r i g h t philosophical answer to compensate the Titans for t h e i r loss of sovereignty. Platonism -- to which Keats looks for a solution i n his theological questionings — was of course an i n t e g r a l part of thought i n English l i t e r a t u r e long before the a r r i v a l of Thomas Taylor, and we see i t i n i t s commonly-held tenets working i t s way into Wordsworth's "Immortality Ode" and even into Keats' e a r l i e r poetry. It i s the p a r t i c u l a r brand of Platonism, though, i n the Timaeus, that affects so much the thought and poetry of Keats. I have suggested that the poet turned to the Timaeus believing that philosophy was a source of the knowledge required to unravel the more pressing complexities of l i f e ; however, the Timaeus i s philosophy only i n the widest sense of the term ( i n the fact that i t i s written by a philosopher), for i n i t s mythological mode of expression i t escapes the c r i t i c a l , argumentative 29 technique Plato usually exhibits i n his dialogues and con-centrates on description; indeed, the philosopher sometimes f a l l s short of maintaining p e r f e c t l y - d i s c i p l i n e d philosophical analysis i n his e f f o r t to envision the creation and "behaviour 12 of the universe. Here was more of poetry than philosophy, and the imaginative q u a l i t y of the writing would have suited Keats' p o e t i c a l d i s p o s i t i o n . He was w i l l i n g to trust to the truths i t s symbolism conveyed rather than to the e x p l i c i t , more reasoned arguments of other Platonic dialogues, of other philosophies perhaps. Keats would have recognized i n the dialogue mytho-poesis at i t s greatest: an ordering of perceptions which revealed by means of analogy, imagery and symbolism the meaning of the universe. Myth i s used, not as the "myths" of the other dialogues which are introduced to i l l u s t r a t e a l l e g o r i c a l l y c e r t a i n doctrines of Platonism, but as a method of conceiving and forming i n words what i s i n essence unknowable and i n e f f a b l e . It i s the imaginative imposition of pattern and expression on ideas speculative and impossible of l o g i c a l d e f i n i t i o n . (Timaeus often repeats his uncertainty as to the accuracy of his state-ments, but has f a i t h that his assertions are "assimilative" of the truth.) For instance, to exonerate the creator from any c u l p a b i l i t y with reference to the presence of e v i l , Timaeus has the a r t i f i c e r address his junior gods, commanding them to create the mortal race i n order that he not be 3 0 held responsible for the e v i l devolving upon that race. At no time of course does Plato believe that his "God who i s a perpetually reasoning d i v i n i t y " (Timaeus, 4 8 3 ) has the immanence conferred upon him here by Timaeus; but i n s t r a i n i n g to r e a l i z e i n words the ideas and forms of creator and creation, the philosopher i s forced to f a l l back on mythological conceptions. S t r i c t l y speaking, these concep-tions sometimes belie the force of other statements within the dialogue (see Note 1 2 above), but i n the main, Timaeus presents a spectacularly compact cosmic v i s i o n which explains the created world and i t s laws. The interdependence of material and s p i r i t u a l , mundane and c e l e s t i a l , inherent i n Plato's mythology, owes i t s source to the central purpose of the dialogue which "prepares us to understand physics, not only physically- but t h e o l o g i c a l l y " (Taylor, 4 l 6 ) . Within the structure of i t s thought -- where the cosmos i s described i n terms of man, and man i s shown to contain p a r t i a l l y everything that the universe contains wholly -- come the conclusions that what exists i n the natural world i s , although distant from D i v i n i t y , whole, r e a l and good, and that philosophic truth i s to be found i n the world we see. Plato i l l u s t r a t e s the universe working i n a p e r f e c t l y -harmonized order where divine truth can be apprehended i n the contemplation of the beauty which t h i s order creates. The dialogue i s unique i n the Platonic canon: what i s stressed i s not the ignorance of a darkened cave, the almost 3 1 s p i r i t u a l void of material existence, but the beauty and good which characterize the whole of the created universe. Timaeus represents the power of even our "shadowy thoughts" to a t t a i n to truth, the beautiful being very much a part of the sensible world. The p r i n c i p a l intent of the Timaeus i s to indicate how everything, including man and his mundane world, moves towards the good, the perfection of i t s e l f . Taylor i n his Introduction elucidates much of the dialogue and his comments are learned and thorough; but he Neo-Platonizes i t s meaning as well, endeavouring to bring i t into l i n e not only with the other Platonic dialogues but with the whole t r a d i t i o n of Platonism and Neo-Platonism. In his e c l e c t i c commentary, Taylor's aim i s to see the dialogue i n terms of some of the more absolute doctrines of Platonism, and he sometimes neglects to give due c r e d i t to the statements which are often more suggestive than categorical. He does admit i t s anomalous character, c a l l i n g attention to Plato's Pythagorean use of exemplar and image to i l l u s t r a t e t r u t h by analogy, and he i s c e r t a i n l y not backward i n his admiration for the beauty of the mythical conceptions. But i t i s he and not Timaeus who asserts that the material world d i s t o r t s the truth of r e a l being, that i t i s "shadows f a l l i n g upon shadow." Timaeus, on the other hand, while he recognizes that our knowledge i s limited, does not suggest that the world of the senses i s i n any way an unreal one: But the greatest employment of the eyes, 32 with respect to the use f o r which they were bestowed on us by the D i v i n i t y , we s h a l l now endeavour to explain. For, i n my opinion, the sight i s the cause of the greatest emolument to us on the present occasion; since what we are now discov-ering concerning the universe could never have been discovered without surveying the stars, the sun, and the heavens...., the nature of the universe. But from a l l t h i s we obtain the possession of p h i l o -sophy; a greater good than which never was nor ever w i l l be bestowed by the Gods on the mortal race. And t h i s i s what I c a l l the greatest benefit of the eyes. ... But concerning voice and hearing, we again assert that they were bestowed on us by the Gods on the same account. (519) In the Timaeus there i s no i n d i c a t i o n that the physical world i s an impoverished realm, that mortals need cast o f f 1the chains of existence: i t i s i n fact the physical world as Keats understood i t , and i n choosing the Timaeus to work with, Keats was opposing himself to the Platonism, and Taylor's Neo-Platonism, which see the corporeal world as a cave affording us only perversions for knowledge. Because Plato i s so intent upon affirming t h i s premise that the world i s calculated towards the good, he has trouble r e c o n c i l i n g the presence of e v i l with his v i s i o n : i n f a c t , he and Keats are;faced with the same problem. For the philosopher, there i s no doubt that the e v i l which exists i s the product of a necessary process: For, as the D i v i n i t y was w i l l i n g that a l l things should be good, and that as much as possible nothing would be e v i l ; hence, receiving every thing v i s i b l e , and which 33 was not i n a state of r e s t , but moving with confusion and disorder, he reduced i t from t h i s wild inordination into order, considering that such conduct was "'/> by far the best. For i t neither ever was lawful, nor i s , for the best of causes to produce any other than the most beautiful of effe c t s . (Timaeus, 4 7 7 - 7 8 ) There i s no malevolence here. Only because of i t s pre-existence i n chaos and the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of i t s complete eradication does e v i l subsist i n the universe. Sometimes Timaeus seems to hint that the ideas of mortality and mutability exist i n the mind of the creator and thus, for the world to be as perfect as possible, they must f i n d expression i n his creation. Both explanations, assuredly, give r i s e to the graver questioning of the omnipotence and benevolence of God, but as the whole Platonic world-view i s founded on a b e l i e f i n both, doubts are disclaimed before they have a chance to take root. For, as Timaeus says, "It i s more just to discourse concerning good things than such as are evilV ( 5 6 4 ) . And t h i s i s exactly what Hyperion i s prepared to do. Although misfortune bringing with i t pain and t r i b u l a t i o n i s to be incorporated i n the poem, i t i s the good inherent i n l i f e ' s processes that Keats means to emphasize. It-would be impossible to calculate to what extent the Timaeus figures i n Keats' thinking, to what extent i t merely affords a s o l i d support for him to assert h i s own p r i n c i p l e s . There c e r t a i n l y exists an a f f i n i t y between Hyperion and the dialogue 3 ^ i n t h e i r c e n t r a l t h e s i s t h a t t h e w o r l d - o r d e r i s g o o d a n d t h a t i t m o v e s t o w a r d s t h e i m p r o v e m e n t o f i t s e l f . I f K e a t s r e a d t h e . d i a l g g u e a t B a i l e y ' s , i t w a s a y e a r p r i o r t o b e g i n n i n g t h e e p i c , b u t we k n o w t h a t he h a d t h e p o e m i n h i s m i n d a t t h e t i m e a n d p e r h a p s i t was t h e n t h a t he s a w t h e p o s s i b i l i t i e s o f a d a p t i n g t h e P l a t o n i c c o s m o g o n y t o h i s H y p e r i o n . ^ H o w e v e r i t came a b o u t , t h e T i m a e u s p l a y s a n i m p o r t a n t p a r t i n K e a t s ' m y t h o l o g i c a l o u t l o o k : w o r k i n g f r o m memory ( i t i s n o t s o m u c h d e t a i l s t h a t K e a t s f i n d s i n t h e m y t h o l o g y o f t h e T i m a e u s a s ' v i s i o n a r y a b s t r a c t i o n s ' ) , K e a t s u s e s t h e c o s m o g o n y o f t h e T i m a e u s t o f a s h i o n h i s own m y t h i c a l u n i v e r s e . L a t e r o n , t h e p o e t w i l l r e t u r n t o t h e . . . d i a l o g u e a n d w i l l s e e i n i t m a t e r i a l s f o r h i s " s y s t e m o f s a l v a t i o n , " b u t he h a s f i r s t t h e e x p e r i e n c e o f H y p e r i o n t o g e t t h r o u g h . T h e T i m a e u s i n f o r m s r a t h e r t h a n d i c t a t e s t h e c o s m o s o f t h e p o e m . K e a t s t a k e s a w e l l - k n o w n m y t h i c s t o r y — t h e o v e r t h r o w o f t h e T i t a n s b y t h e O l y m p i a n s — a n d i n f u s e s i t w i t h h i s own i n t e r p r e t a t i o n o f t h e w o r l d , a n i n t e r p r e t a t i o n w h i c h may h a v e b e e n i n s p i r e d b y t h e P l a t o n i c m y t h o l o g y , o n e w h i c h i n i t s p r e s e n t a t i o n c e r t a i n l y owes s o m e t h i n g t o t h a t m y t h o l o g y . T h e m a i n s u b j e c t o f H y p e r i o n i s a t h e o l o g i c a l o n e ; t o e x p l o r e i t K e a t s i s i n n e e d o f a v i s i o n o f t h e w o r l d a t o n c e c o n c r e t e e n o u g h t o e n s u r e t h a t c o n c l u s i o n s come t o w o u l d be r e l i a b l e , c o u l d be v e r i f i e d w i t h i n i t s s t r u c t u r e s , a n d y e t o p e n a n d s p e c u l a t i v e e n o u g h t o a l l o w t h e p o e t r o o m 35 f o r personal wanderings, personal surmises. While the Timaeus has i t s own d i f f i c u l t i e s i n meeting the problem of e v i l , i t s construction of the world i s nevertheless sub-s t a n t i a l enough and at the same time e l a s t i c enough to offer Keats a security i n i t s cosmogony. The theogony of Hyperion i s by no means a complete one, but the poet nonetheless reveals enough of the divine order to confirm that he i s following Plato's conception of creation with reference to the hierarchy of the gods. According to Timaeus, the t r a d i t i o n a l gods ( i . e . the Titans and Olympians) are merely part of the whole scheme of creation, and they are "secondary" i n power and i n b i r t h to t h e i r creator the Demiurgus, the planets or " c e l e s t i a l " god to Heaven and Earth t h e i r parents, to Time (the moving image of Eternity) and to the ethereal elements.1-^ These are fi x e d gods and v e r i t i e s , whereas the secondary (or sub-lunary, or mundane, or junior) gods, although immortal, are within generation and subject to change. Once the Demiurgu of the Timaeus has fabricated the universe and i t s empyrean realm, he applies himself to the t r a d i t i o n a l gods: In t h i s manner, then, . 1 . . . . . ; . the generation of these Gods i s to be described: That Ocean and Tethys were the progeny of heaven and earth. That from hence Phorcys, Saturn, and Rhea, and such as subsist together from these, were produced. That from Saturn and Rhea, Jupiter, Juno, and a l l such as we know are c a l l e d the brethren of these descended. And l a s t l y , others which are reported to be the 36 progeny of these. (Timaeus, 5 0 1 ) The A r t i f i c e r of the universe thus addressed them: "Gods of Gods, of whom I am the demiurgus and father, whatever i s generated hy me i s indissoluble, such being my w i l l i n i t s f a b r i c a t i o n . Indeed every thing which i s bound i s dissoluble; but to be w i l l i n g to dissolve that which i s b e a u t i f u l l y harmonized, and well-com-posed, i s the property of an e v i l nature. Hence, so far as you are generated, you \ are not immortal, nor i n every respect indissoluble; yet you s h a l l never be dissolved, nor become subject to the f a t a l i t y of death; my w i l l being a much greater and more excellent bond than the v i t a l connectives with which you were bound at the commencement of your generation. (Timaeus, 5 0 1 - 5 0 4 ) He delivered to the junior Gods the province of f a b r i c a t i n g mortal bodies, and generating whatever else remained necessary to the human soul; and gave them dominion over every thing consequent to t h e i r f a b r i c a t i o n s . He likewise commanded them to govern as much as possible i n the best andmmost be a u t i f u l manner the mortal animal, that i t might not become the cause of e v i l to i t s e l f . (Timaeus, 5 1 1 - 1 2 ) The genealogy presented here i s standard; what i s to be remarked i s the p a r t i c u l a r p o s i t i o n and r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s given to the o f f s p r i n g of Heaven and Earth. Keats creates his gods i n the image of Plato's -- they are within genera-tio n , they are l i m i t e d i n t h e i r knowledge and t h e i r powers, and they are responsible for govering the mortal world i n the "most b e a u t i f u l manner" possible. That his junior gods are within the mutable world i s s u f f i c i e n t l y evident. But Keats c l e a r l y marks as well 37 t h e i r p o s i t i o n r e l a t i v e to the entire universe. Coelus characterizes the Titans as symbols divine, Manifestations of that beauteous l i f e D iffus'd unseen throughout eternal space. (I, 316-18) They are "shap'd and palpable Gods," symbols, and are not to be equated with "beauteous l i f e " or the realm of i n t e l l i -gible being. As the r u l e r s of mortals, the Titans are knowledgeable of what mortality and mutability s i g n i f y , and what they suffer i n th e i r f a l l i s a further distancing from the empyrean realm -- a taking on of, not only the earth as thei r dwelling place, but the more p a i n f u l q u a l i t i e s of mortals. Saturn s t r i v e s , i n what he b l i n d l y sees as his disgrace, against the passions of rage, fear, anxiety, remorse, spleen, despair, but i n vain; f o r Fate Had pour'd a mortal o i l upon his head, A disanointing poison. (II, 9 6 - 9 8 ) Thea too experiences human agony i n her defeat and i n her sympathy for Saturn: One hand she press'd upon that aching spot Where beats the human heart, as i f just there, Though an immortal, she f e l t cruel pain. (I, 42-44) To make his gods undergo what he sees to be the pl i g h t of the human being i n pain and ignorance i s Keats' intention, for the poem i s to explore, among other things, the Mansion of Many Apartments; Keats, in, humanizing his characters as 38 much as he does, does not lessen the cosmic, philosophical significance of t h e i r c r i s i s , hut rather renders i t at once more immediate and more universal. In portraying his gods as "unlike Gods," the poet i s not diverging from the kind of mythology found i n the Timaeus where attr i b u t e s of the i n t e l l i g i b l e and material realms are f r e e l y interchanged, but i s i n the same process of mythologizing as i s Timaeus, making his assertions "assimilative of the t r u t h " of human experience. The orders of r e a l i t y i n the poem are most sharply focussed i n Hyperion, the only T i t a n who has retained his godhead. The reason for his continued power i s not expressly given, but he i s "brightest" of Coelus' children, and i t i s evident within the larger meaning of the poem (where " f i r s t i n beauty should be f i r s t i n might") that he i s l a s t to f a l l because he i s the most beautiful of'his race. Why he i s may be easily conjectured: "The sun imitates to a greater degree than the other planets the permanency of e t e r n i t y " (Timaeus, 5 6 4 ) ; i t i s fabricated from the most divine of the elements. Keats,"like Plato, designates the sun a "planet" orb of f i r e , and grants Hyperion i n consequence of his r e l a t i o n with the most exalted planet, superior beauty. However, i n spite of t h i s beauty and his p o s i t i o n within the sublunary hierarchy, Hyperion i s merely the "sun's God"; he inhabits and attends the c e l e s t i a l planet, but he has no sovereignty over i t . Six hours before dawn, Hyperion would cause the sun to r i s e : 39 Fain would he have commanded, f a i n took throne And bid the day begin, i f but for change, He might not: -- No, though a primeval God: The sacred seasons might not be disturb'd. (I, 2 9 0 - 9 3 ) The hierarchy i s clear: the c e l e s t i a l god, the sun, controls Time, the sacred seasons. And Hyperion i s i n f e r i o r to both; his power as a secondary god i s over only the mortal world. Like Hyperion, the other junior gods are circum-scribed i n t h e i r a b i l i t i e s . Saturn's "godlike exercise" while he governed consisted of mild patronage over the lesser stars and elements, and a somewhat stronger ru l e over the earth. His acts were Of influence benign on planets pale, Of admonitions to the winds and seas, Of peaceful sway above man's harvesting. (I, 108-110) Though an immortal god, he has no ultimate authority. His questions But cannot I creat e ? Cannot I form? Cannot I fashion f o r t h Another world, another universe To overbear and crumble t h i s to naught? Where i s another chaos? (I, 141-45) are r h e t o r i c a l , extravagant,' for he can do none of these things, he has done none of them. Both Coelus and Oceanus d e t a i l how Saturn came into being, and i t was subsequent to genesis from chaos. Related to th e i r r e s t r i c t e d powers i s the limited knowledge the Titans possess. In Coelus 1 address to Hyperion 40 we discover that the forces behind creation are hidden from the gods. The Titans, l i k e the f i r s t race of sublunary gods i n the Timaeus (and here Plato i s following Hesiod), are the offspring of Heaven and Earth. They and t h e i r parents are unaware of the p r i n c i p l e s of t h e i r generation. For Coelus, Hyperion i s the Son of Mysteries A l l unrevealed even to the powers Which met at / h i s / creating. (I, 310-12) Nor do the Titans understand the cause of t h e i r downfall, but believe i t to be the power of the Olympians. For Saturn, although he has read "strange l o r e " and i s learned i n the legends of the f i r s t of days, there are reasons for things that he cannot fathom. He addresses the gods: Not i n my own sad breast, Which i s i t s ©wn great judge and searcher out, Can I f i n d reason why ye should be thus. (II, 1 2 9 - 3 D It i s only the g r i e f of having l o s t t h e i r supremacy that the Titans know. Their father, who recounts the f a l l , can describe, but he cannot explain: I saw him f a l l , I saw my f i r s t - b o r n tumbled from, .his throne! To me his arms were spread, to me his voice Found way from f o r t h the thunders round his head! • • • I have seen my sons most unlike Gods. Divine ye were created, and divine In sad demeanour, solemn, undisturb'd, Unruffled, l i k e high Gods, ye l i v ' d and ruled: Now I behold i n you fear, hope, and wrath; 41 Actions of rage and passion; even as I see them, on the mortal world beneath, In men who die. — This i s the g r i e f , 0 Son! (I, 3 2 2 - 2 5 , 3 2 8 - 3 5 ) While Keats appears to be following Hesiod i n a t t r i b u t i n g the parentage of the Titans to Heaven and Earth (as well as i n his description of the den to which the gods f a l l ) , he i s i n fact using the Platonic i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of Hesiod. It has always puzzled c r i t i c s of Hyperion that Coelus should love and p i t y his sons when the Theogony, which they were depending upon as Keats' source, has Heaven vowing vengeance on Cronos (or Saturn). But given the basis of the Timaeus, and Keats' obvious concurrence i n i t , that everything i n the world moves towards the good, i t i s only natural that Coelus pride himself on the beauty and power of his children, and that he sympathize i n t h e i r woes. I f Keats had i n mind the outline of the r i s e of poetry, no doubt Saturn and his Titans would eventually have come'to accept theccensures of Oceanus, to see themselves as a nec-essary but transitory phase i n the advancement of the world, and to recognize t h e i r function i n giving l i f e and knowledge to the Olympians. The wars would thus be metaphors for the pain and turbulence experienced i n the process of necessary change. The Titans must needs bow to £heir successors; since the commission of the junior gods i s to rule i n the best and most beautiful manner, the Olympians must be sub-mitted to", for i n t h e i r greater beauty they are capable of superior governing. 42 Oceanus' description of the coming-into-being of the universe and i t s gods, with Light or V i s i b i l i t y the main element of the c e l e s t i a l beginnings, with the A r t i f i c e r continuing to abide i n his own habit during creation, and with the notion that Time ("the ripe hour," "upon that very hour") rose together with the universe i s i n accord with 16 the Platonic mythology: From chaos and parental darkness came Light, the f i r s t f r u i t s of that i n t e s t i n e b r o i l , That s u l l e n ferment, which for wondrous ends Was ripening i n i t s e l f . The ripe hour came, And with i t l i g h t , and l i g h t , engendering Upon i t s own producer, forthwith touch'd The whole enormous matter into l i f e . Upon that very hour, our parentage, The Heavens, and the Earth, were manifest: Then thou the f i r s t born, and we the giant race Found ourselves r u l i n g new and beauteous realms. (II, 191-201) As well, the sage's reasoning of how and why the Titans' f a l l occurs, which w i l l be looked at l a t e r , i n i t s naturalism and i t s understanding of generation as process, i s i n keeping with Platonic doctrine. In order to clear up a misconception of the poem which i s almost univ e r s a l l y accepted, i t i s necessary to recognize that Keats i s working within the Platonic world of the Timaeus. Although they exhibit weakness, a l l the f r a i l i -t i e s of the human condition, the Titans do not f a l l from 17 weakness, from un-godlike actions. ' This should be apparent from Oceanus' statement that they f a l l from course of Nature's law, not force Of thunder, or of Jove. (II, 181-82) 43 But more than Oceanus1 words, which, i t i s true, do not always conform to the emotional truth of the poem, we have the examples of the y e t - t o - f a l l Hyperion and of the con-quering Olympians to i l l u s t r a t e that the revolution which takes place does not r e s u l t from wrongful or weak actions on the part of the Titans. Hyperion, s t i l l sovereign, i s destined to lose his power: nothing he can do or refuse to do can save him. The eagle's wings and neighing steeds (unseen, unheard before by gods or wondering men) which herald the approach of Apollo (I, 182-85) s i g n a l Hyperion's deposition without his having acted at a l l . Only a f t e r his defeat i s clear to him does he desperately and i n e f f e c t u a l l y try to hasten the dawn. And Coelus s p e c i f i c a l l y states that i t i s "now," after the f a l l , that the Titans are l i k e mortals, f u l l of fear, hope and wrath. But more remarkable and d e f i n i t i v e evidence that Keats makes his sublunary gods, whether Tit a n or Olympian, subject to universal laws over which they have no power, i s the fact that even the Olympians, fated to excel t h e i r predecessors, do not r e a l i z e t h e i r p o s i t i o n i n the scheme of things. Saturn's passionate execrations and his threat to destroy the new order (quoted above, p. 3 9 ; I, 141-45) Found way onto Olympus, and made quake The rebel three. (I, 145-46) The Olympians do not comprehend the power that has been given, to them. The T i t a n Enceladus, hurling mountains i n the second war, scar'd the younger Gods To hide themselves i n forms of beast and bi r d . ( I I , 7 1 - 2 ) The insecurity of the new order i s not s u r p r i s i n g when we consider that the younger gods represent simply another stage i n generation, that they are part of a process not f u l l y recognized or understood. Their condition i s most apparent i n Apollo whose questions, p a r a l l e l i n g Saturn's Who had power To make me desolate? whence came the strength? How was i t nurtur'd to such bursting forth, While Fate seem'd strangled i n my nervous grasp? ( I , 102-105) show him to be as uncomprehending as the aged god. Apollo asks: Where i s power? Whose hand, whose essence, what d i v i n i t y Makes thi s alarum i n the elements, While I here i d l e l i s t e n on the shores In fearless yet i n aching "Ignorance? ( I l l , 103-107) One of Keats' themes i s the growth of the i n d i v i d u a l from ignorance to the a c q u i s i t i o n of knowledge through p a i n f u l experience. However much stress i s l a i d upon ignorance, though, his characters remain d e i t i e s of formidable q u a l i t i e s . Saturn may not be aware of the powers which conduct his downfall, but he has ruled as a king, he has 'read and studied deep,' and his emotional faculty i s capacious. Apollo, and we may suppose his fellow Olympians too, are 45 given "knowledge enormous." What Keats i s endeavouring to embody i n his poem i s the force of universal laws which must be reckoned with, and the fact that a l l , conquered and conquering, are caught i n a process not e a s i l y understood. No blame attaches i t s e l f to those who suffer, no f a u l t i s to be found i n the i n d i v i d u a l . Rather, ignorance i s a condition natural within the patterning of the universe; to vanquish i t e n t i r e l y i s impossible. However, the pain of ignorance can be to a great extent a l l e v i a t e d i f one recog-nizes the abstract truth that beauty and goodness are the basis of the organization of the world. While not yet apparent to the Titans, t h i s truth i s nevertheless written into the f a b r i c of the poem. Keats w i l l be presenting — we see him at work on i t i n his struc-turing of the c e l e s t i a l , sublunary and mundane orders of r e a l i t y — a perfectly-harmonized universe i n which the beauty of the world w i l l be apparent. In a remarkably fine use of the four elements as they r e f l e c t experiences within the poem, Keats erects a s o l i d support to his cosmic system. A good part of the Timaeus i s devoted to the study of the elements.— aft e r a l l , they are the materials of which the universe consists — from t h e i r demurgic, i n t e l l i g i b l e e x ist-1 Pi ence as form to th e i r subsistence as matter. One can rea d i l y imagine that the Platonic discourse would have impressed and delighted the poet, esp e c i a l l y as a former medi-c a l student, i n i t s ex p l i c a t i o n of the various manifestations 4 6 the elements assume., p a r t i c u l a r l y as applied to the composi-t i o n of the body with i t s passions, senses, humours and diseases. While Keats may not he consciously r e c a l l i n g the Timaeus i n his treatment of the elements, the imagery he employs, where the elements mark the d i v i s i o n between the ethereal and corporeal orders of his cosmological design, c e r t a i n l y shows the influence of the dialogue. The f a l l of Saturn i s r e f l e c t e d i n his separation from the elements he was used to associate with and command. That they constituted an important part of his rule as king can be noted i n the fact that he looks to them to explain his collapse: In sign, symbol, or portent Of element, earth, water, a i r , and f i r e --At war, at peace, or inter-quarreling One against one, or two, or three, or a l l Each several one against the other three, .As f i r e with a i r loud warring when rain-floods Drown both, and press them both against earth's face, Where, finding sulphur, a quadruple wrath Unhinges the poor world; -- not i n that s t r i f e Wherefrom I take strange lore, and read i t deep, Can I f i n d reason ,why /we/ should be thus. (II, 139-49) (Keats presumes the i n s t r u c t i v e nature of the elements i n his mythology much as does Timaeus for whom t h e i r geometrical composition and r e l a t i o n s among one another form a basis for s c i e n t i f i c a a n d philosophic knowledge. In f a c t , Saturn's catalogue has much i n common with Timaeus' description of the many a c t i v i t i e s of the elements. 1^) The poem opens with the deposed deity "far from the f i e r y noon," where there i s "no s t i r of a i r " ; the stream which passes by i s "voice-47 l e s s , " "deadened"; and the ancient god finds no comfort from the earth. The physical setting c l e a r l y indicates Saturn's loss of royalty: here i s a king cast into the equivalent i n nature of a castle's dungeon, locked away, deprived of a l l that possesses health, "beauty, pomp. But the imagery too reveals the psychological r e a l i t y of Saturn's present state: his i d e n t i t y i s gone, he t e l l s Thea, l e f t between his throne and the earth -- his l i f e l e s s n e s s , his lack of i d e n t i t y f i n d expression i n the elements which no longer p a r t i c i p a t e i n his l i f e , with which he can no longer i d e n t i f y himself. The loss of sovereignty i s summed up by Thea as the disunion of the king and earth, water, a i r and f i r e : heaven i s parted from thee, and the earth Knows thee not, thus a f f l i c t e d , for a god, And ocean too, with a l l i t s solemn noise, Has from thy sceptre pass Id; and a l l the a i r Is emptied of thine hoary majesty. Thy thunder, conscious of the new command, Rumbles reluctant o'er our f a l l e n house; And thy sharp li g h t n i n g i n unpractis'd hands Scorches and burns our once serene domain. (I, 55-63) The gods' once peaceful dominion, now t h e i r abode, experi-ences the very lowest form the elements can assume: disorder and unruliness where l i g h t n i n g i s caustic and brings with i t harm. This mundane f i r e which burns and scorches i s i n contrast to the c e l e s t i a l home of Hyperion. The planet i n which the god resides and to whose pre-eminence he owes his continued power i s fabricated from f i r e , the most ethereal of the elements. Timaeus t e l l s us that i n i t s pure form, 48 the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of f i r e i s v i s i b i l i t y , not heat. Keats makes use of t h i s d i s p a r i t y between the ethereal and cor-poreal forms of the element to depict the gradual reduction i n Hype.rion's status. The sun, his "lucent empire" consists of " b l i s s f u l l i g h t , " "pure fanes," blaze, splendour and symmetry; but when Hyperion enters i t at n i g h t f a l l , having already received omens of his defeat, he enters " f u l l of wrath," and his flaming robes, to r e f l e c t the heat of his anger, give a roar "as i f of earthly f i r e " that scares away the ethereal Hours. Even the suggestion of earthly f i r e (the roar i s as i f of earthly f i r e ) i n the c e l e s t i a l palace i s intrusive and frightening, and i t betrays Hyperion's waning sovereignty. The disappearance of l i g h t , first." i n his empire, and secondly i n himself, further portends his downfall: The blaze, the splendour, and the symmetry, I cannot see -- but darkness, death and darkness. (I, 241-42) When he cannot operate the dawn as he would, when his impo-tence i s abundantly clear to him, his d i v i s i o n from c e l e s t i a l f i r e i s nearly complete: he stretches himself along the clouds i n "radiance faint.V By the end of Book I, he has l e f t his f i e r y home and has plunged into the lower, mundane elements: Then with a slow i n c l i n e of his broad breast, Like to a diver i n the pearly seas, Forward he stoop'd over the airy shore, And plung'd a l l noiseless into the deep night. (I, 354-57) 49 Apollo, who replaces Hyperion as the sun's god, experiences the reverse of Hyperion's downward course through the ele-ments. He i s just awakened and i n the morning t w i l i g h t w i l l quit the heavier earthly elements for the c e l e s t i a l . His d e i f i c a t i o n begins when the "dark, dark, and p a i n f u l o b l i v i o n " which seals up his eyes (and which corree---sponds to Hyperion's newly-acquired v i s i o n of death and darkness) i s transformed into the a s p i r a t i o n for a c e l e s t i a l home: upon the grass I s i t , and moan, Like one who once had wings. -- 0 why should I Feel curs'd and thwarted, when the l i e g e l e s s a i r Yields to my step aspirant? why should I Spurn the green t u r f as hateful to my feet? Goddess benign, point forth"some unknown thing: Are there not other regions than t h i s i s l e ? What are the stars? There i s the sun, the sun! ( I l l , 9 0 - 9 7 ) Although the young god understands not, he senses that he must inhabit a realm more divine than the one he knows. It i s the elements which i n effect t e l l him so: the dense earth i s a l i e n to his touch, water has no meaning f o r him as he s i t s i d l y by the shore ( 1 . 1 0 6 ) , the a i r i n v i t e s his f l i g h t . And i t i s the sun, the v i s i b l e f i r e of the c e l e s t i a l order, which a t t r a c t s his notice, and towards which he longs. Apollo, i n the process of reading the elements, of gleaning the knowl-edge which they offer, i s i n dir e c t contrast to Saturn whose f a l l marks a separation between himself and the power he once had to be comforted by the elements, to govern over them and to read t h e i r secrets. The passing-away of the old 50 order of the gods and the ascent of Apollo are thus s k i l l -f u l l y r e f l e c t e d i n Keats' manipulation of the ways i n which the elements correspond to the varying lev e l s of r e a l i t y . The exact process Keats was to present i n his mytho-l o g i c a l world we can only speculate upon, although we know from the treatment of Apollo and the speech of Oceanus that i t i s to assimilate the Platonic concept of generation: "a motion or procession towards the i n t e g r i t y and perfection of the universe" (Taylor, 4 3 6 ) . Taylor i n his Introduction to the Timaeus refe r s to v i o l e n t reformations i n the cosmic order which are ordained hy D i v i n i t y ; and quotes a passage from Proclus i n which the philosopher describes the progressions into the earth: It i s necessary to remember, that through the devastations of these two elements, f i r e and water, a more p r o l i f i c regeneration of things takes place at c e r t a i n periods of time; and that when D i v i n i t y intends a reformation, the heavenly bodies concur with t h i s design. (435) For there are progressions of a l l the c e l e s t i a l Gods into the earth; and earth contains a l l things, i n an earthly manner, which heaven comprehends c e l e s t i a l l y . (430) Keats' war between the Titans and Olympians which finds the former cast into the mundane world i s hence accounted for within the Platonic cosmogony as i t recognizes revolutions to be part of the generated world and as i t defines the d i f f e r e n t stations of the junior gods i n the universe. The 51 reasons for change are abstract, they are "ideas" e x i s t i n g i n the mind of the demiurgus. Keats' sublunary gods who suffer or prosper within generation cannot see the abstract p r i n c i p l e s of which they are the v i t a l r e a l i z a t i o n s . Yet there are clues to the understanding of the process of the world inherent i n creation which should ins p i r e a f a i t h i n and understanding of the essential goodness of things: there i s beauty i n the heavenly bodies and i n Nature, i n t h e i r appearance, i n th e i r orderly movements and laws, which reveals the goodness of the created universe and which, by analogy, reveals the goodness of the p r i n c i p l e s by which the a r t i f i c e r establishes his world. Keats' world-system with i t s "abstract images" i s meant to show the truth df the Platonic doctrine that the physical world embodies metaphysical truth, that divine knowledge i s to be apprehended i n the machinery of ordinary existence. But because the Titans are b l i n d to the reasons for t h e i r pain, i t i s necessary that the truth be elucidated for them. I t f a l l s to Oceanus, sophist and sage, to explain the pattern of the universe and the law of Nature which account for t h e i r present condition: Yet l i s t e n , ye who w i l l , whilst I bring proof How ye, perforce, must be content to stoop: And i n the proof much comfort w i l l I give, 180 I f ye w i l l take that comfort i n i t s truth. We f a l l by course of Nature's law, not force Of thunder, or of Jove. Great Saturn, • a • as thou wast not the f i r s t of powers, So art thou not the l a s t ; i t cannot be: 52 190 Thou art not the beginning nor the end. • • • Mark well! As Heaven and Earth are f a i r e r , f a i r e r f a r Than Chaos and blank Darkness, though once chiefs; And as we show beyond that Heaven and Earth In form and shape compact and beaut i f u l , 210 In w i l l , i n action free, companionship, And thousand other signs of purer l i f e ; So on our heels a fresh p e r f e c t i o n treads, A power more strong i n beauty, born of us And fated to excel us, as we pass In glory that old Darkness: nor are we Thereby more conquer'd, than by us the rule Of shapeless Chaos. Say, doth the d u l l s o i l Quarrel with the proud forests i t hath fed, And feedeth s t i l l , more comely than i t s e l f ? 220 Can i t deny the chiefdom of green groves? Or s h a l l the tree be envious of the dove Because i t cooeth, and-.hath snowy wings To wander wherewithal and f i n d i t s joys? We are such forest-trees, and our f a i r boughs Have bred for t h , not pale s o l i t a r y doves, But eagles golden-feather'd, who do tower Above us i n t h e i r beauty, and must reign In r i g h t thereof; for ' t i s the eternal law That f i r s t i n beauty should be f i r s t i n might: 230 Yea, by that law, another race may drive Our conquerors to mourn as we do now. Have ye beheld the young God of the Seas, My dispossessor? Have ye seen his face? Have ye beheld his chariot, foam'd along By noble winged creatures he hath made? I saw him on the calmed waters scud, With such a glow of beauty i n his eyes, That i t enforc'd me to bid sad farewell To a l l my empire: farewell sad I took, 240 Arid hither came, to see how-dolorous fate Had wrought upon ye; and how I might best Give consolation i n t h i s woe extreme. ( I I , 177-82, 188-90, 205-42) Oceanus' narration of the creation and the progress of the universe, demonstrating that as each new stage i n generation unfolds the world i s improved, i s the basis of his argument. The Titans themselves have benefited from change, and they cannot expect that the universe w i l l cease i t s movement 53 towards the perfecting of i t s e l f . The same p r i n c i p l e which f i r s t brought fort h good out of chaos, created Heaven and Earth, and then introduced the Titans and the new and beauti-f u l realms over which they ruled, i s s t i l l at work within the world. When the evolutionary character of creation i s properly recognized, Oceanus reasons, a philosophical content-ment must override and subdue any pain suffered i n the process which engenders greater beauty. Beauty and the Good are synonymous: i n the Platonic philosophy, D i v i n i t y introduces the idea of good into the world by imposing b e a u t i f u l forms on i t . This concept that sees beauty a l l i e d to order, figure and proportion underlies Oceanus' v i s i o n of the inherent and progressive goodness of creation. "Shapeless" chaos and "blank" darkness are trans-formed by l i g h t (the element of f i r e , consisting of geometrical proportion) into l i f e . Immediately displacing that which was shapeless and blank are Time, "the eternal image flowing according to number" (Timaeus, 491) and the f a i r e r , because of t h e i r figure and d i v i s i o n , Heaven and Earth. The Titans excel t h e i r parents, are signs of "purer l i f e , " because of t h e i r "form and shape compact," and t h e i r companionship which denotes unity. Oceanus does not announce how i t i s that the Olympians are s t i l l more beautiful than the Titans, but his immediate recognition of t h e i r superiority (he and Mnemosyne are the only Titans to have seen t h e i r conquerors and both immediately acquiesce i n t h e i r fate) i s i n keeping with the 5^ Platonic idea.that the b e a u t i f u l speaks to our highest f a c u l t i e s and that i t i s at once perceived as goodness and truth. Beauty i s the supreme p r i n c i p l e i n a l l things: for Keats i t i s what makes the tragedy of lear bearable; f o r Oceanus, who sees the beauty of Neptune and who as sage sees into the beautiful patterning of the universe, i t i s what makes his sorrow and pain endurable. In his address Oceanus c a l l s upon the "eternal law" that f i r s t i n beauty i s f i r s t i n strength to explain the creation and then the unseating of his royal house. The argument presumes, and Keats surely meant to carry i t out, that the Olympians would do more good for the realms they seized than were the Titans capable of. The parting words of the sage are: Receive the truth, and l e t i t be your balm. (II, 243) The truth i s that the universe follows an orderly, b e a u t i f u l progression towards perfect being. The progression i s "Nature's law." In l a b e l l i n g i t thus, and i n l a t e r supporting t h i s abstract truth by means of a natural, organic argument ( 1 1 . 217-28), Keats may very well have the Platonic mythology of the Timaeus i n mind. The dialogue i s a book concerning Nature, Taylor t e l l s us, and Plato considers r i g h t l y that Nature i s neither matter nor material form nor body nor natural powers, but i s divine through her p a r t i c i p a t i o n of' the good, that i s , the i n t e l l i -gible cause: "she governs the whole world by her powers, 55 by her summit comprehending the heavens, but through these r u l i n g over the f l u c t u a t i n g empireoof generation." That generation "subsists through contrariety and mutation" i s necessary because i t involves matter. That which she reveals, however, i s true being, and the movement (the mutations) of generation i s always calculated towards true being, i s i n a "state of becoming to be true" (413-18). Nature's law to whose course Oceanus attributes the changes which occur i n the universe i s exactly that which oversees generation i n the Timaeus; i t s o r i g i n i s the f i r s t cause which directs the world i n i t s conversion towards the good. While Timaeus, because he wants to a r t i c u l a t e meta-physical truths, investigates the mystical laws which govern the cosmos, his dialogue treats primarily 6F the physical world. Nature does not remain merely an abstract entity, but works her way into physical r e a l i t y where she indicates by her organic properties the l i f e and goodness of divine p r i n c i p l e s hidden from us by our l i m i t e d perception. Again i t i s Taylor i n his Introduction who for our benefit condenses an extensive passage of the dialogue, t h i s time concerning the r o le of the earth and her natural q u a l i t i e s . The body of the world i s "consummately v i t a l ; or indeed, according to habitude and a l l i a n c e , l i f e i t s e l f " (420), and she i s f u l l of "divine illuminations" (447). In order to demonstrate her l i f e - g i v i n g properties which by analogy show the i n t e l l e c t u a l l y l i f e - g i v i n g q u a l i t i e s of s p i r i t u a l truths, Taylor asks, "For 56 how i s i t possible that plants should l i v e while abiding i n the earth, and when separated from i t die, unless i t s v i s i b l e bulk was f u l l of l i f e ? " (447). It i s t h i s species of argument, t y p i c a l of the philosophy of the Timaeus, that Oceanus introduces into his exposition. The physical world with i t s beauty, i t s l i f e - s u s t a i n i n g and procreative powers, i t s l e v e l s of existence, can by analogy demonstrate to the Titans t h e i r p o s i t i o n i n the mystical organization of genera-t i o n . Ordained by the heavens are the process and beauty of the natural world which lead to knowledge of divine truths. Oceanus characterizes the progress as upward movement from the d u l l earth to forest trees, to doves, to eagles golden-feathered, touched with the most reverenced element of f i r e ; the examples he uses are meant to p a r a l l e l the progress from chaos through to the Olympians, always an upward movement towards the divine. The appeal to nature i n the god's attempt to persuade his l i s t e n e r s to accept gracefully t h e i r destiny f i t s into Keats' mythological, philosophical b e l i e f i n the a b i l i t y of nature i n her beauty to answer to man's s p i r i t u a l needs "What the imagination seizes as Beauty must be tru t h . " (The transforming, i n t e l l e c t u a l power of nature was v i v i d l y brought home to Keats while on his Scottish tour of the previous summer. Images of physical nature might be transitory, butythey nevertheless impress t h e i r spectators with knowledge of the divine: 57 What astonishes me more than any thing i s the tone, the coloring, the s l a t e , the stone, the moss, the rock-weed; or, i f I may so say, the i n t e l l e c t , the countenance of such places. The space, the magnitude . of mountains and waterfalls are well imagined "before one sees them; but t h i s countenance or i n t e l l e c t u a l tone must surpass every imagination and defy any remembrance. I s h a l l learn poetry here and s h a l l henceforth write more than ever, for the abstract endeavour of being able to add a mite to that mass of beauty which i s harvested from these grand materials, by the f i n e s t s p i r i t s , and put into e t h e r i a l existence for the r e l i s h of one's fellows. I cannot think with H a z l i t t that these scenes make man appear l i t t l e . I never forgot my stature so completely. (I, 301) The mass of beauty, or truth, which i s harvested from the material world i s that knowledge of i n t e l l e c t u a l Beauty which makes us forget the l i t t l e n e s s of t h i s our l i f e , of t h i s our small stature, and affords us insight into the. realm of essence. For a poet, the mental images of that knowledge become the i n s p i r a t i o n and foundation of his art.) In the speech of Oceanus, Keats comes as close as he ever w i l l i n ' h i s poetry to asserting an ethic: Now comes the pain of truth, to whom ' t i s pain; 0 f o l l y ! for to bear a l l naked truths, And to envisage circumstance, a l l calm, That i s the top of sovereignty. (II, 2 0 2 - 2 0 5 ) Acknowledge f a l l i b i l i t y and act i n accordance with i t , Oceanus urges his fellow Titans. The counsel i s i n keeping with the ethics of the Timaeus where man contemplating the heavens i s to regulate 58 his erring l i f e according to them. He i s to partake of the repose of nature and of the order of nature, to bring the variable p r i n c i p l e of himself into harmony with the p r i n c i p l e of the same. The ethics of the Timaeus may be summed up i n the single idea of 'law.' To f e e l habitually that he i s part of the order of the universe i s one of the highest e t h i c a l motives of which man i s capable. And i f that order includes the s u f f e r i n g of pain and heart-ache as i t must, the e v i l encountered i s to be borne nobly, s t o i c a l l y . We f i n d Oceanus' admonition, and i n fact much of his speech, d i f f i c u l t to attribute to the Keats who writes that "man should not dispute or assert but whisper r e s u l t s to his neighbour" (I, 224), and who rarely concerns himself 21 with e t h i c a l conduct. And yet i t i s c e r t a i n that the poem i s meant to hinge upon the truth of Oceanus' words. His advice i s sound: there i s nothing the Titans can do but accept t h e i r fate; the Olympian age w i l l bring more Beauty and Good into the world. Yet the attempt to c a l l upon the laws of Nature to order the behaviour of the Titans, while i t i s i n keeping with the Platonic cosmogony within which he i s working, i s probably more to be ascribed to the close to f r a n t i c need by t h i s time for Keats to f i n d that elusive "standard law of either earth or heaven" which, i f i t cannot j u s t i f y the presence of e v i l , can perhaps at least d i r e c t our way i n the face of i t . It i s not i n Keats to be "didactic. While he clings for the moment to the idea that the law of nature can dire c t 59 the conduct of man, the poem proves t h i s supposition to he f a l s e . In his Introduction to the Poems, de Selincourt sums up Keats' understanding of nature: The supreme truth to the poet i s not to he found i n the lessons of nature, hut i n her mysterious beauty, and i n her never f a i l i n g power, whencesoever i t may spring, to respond to the every mood of the changing heart of man. Nature does not c a l l upon him to understand t h i s , but simply to recognize i t . 2 2 It i s her beauty that leads to gnosis. For Keats, nature i s what i s experienced; truth i s what i s f e l t i n the perception of her. Her mystical element resides not i n an i d e a l con-ception of her perfect laws, but i n her a b i l i t y to speak to man, as poetry does, his highest thoughts. Moreover, the significance nature has i s that which i s conferred upon'her by man who p a r t i c i p a t e s i n her. Platonism, which sees the soul responding to the beautiful forms i n nature, i s at the centre of t h i s conception of the r o l e of nature, but Keats d i f f e r s from most — perhaps a l l -- other philosophical nature poets, for while they emphasize the God-given forms, Keats stresses the perceiver. Invariably i t i s the i n d i v i -dual with whom Keats i s preoccupied: Scenery is:Tfine -- but human nature i s f i n e r --The Sward i s r i c h e r for the tread of a r e a l , nervous, english foot -- the eagles nest i s f i n e r for the Mountaineer has look'd into' i t . --(I, 242) Humanity i s more important than nature; t h i s w i l l always be 6o Keats' bias, and the profound humanism of Hyperion i s i n keeping with that bias. An emotion, a v i s i o n , a tragedy can teach a man to mourn i n spite of summer skies, they can s p o i l the singing of the nightingale, just as Keats' o r i g i n a l per-ception of e v i l had done. Of course, Keats i s constantly aware of the healing effects of nature that can put a man to r i g h t s again -- i t i s the overpowering b e l i e f i n her ess e n t i a l goodness that has led to his d i f f i c u l t i e s i n dealing with the problem of e v i l . The capacity of nature to soothe man's woes inevitably comes from her laws, the harmony she exhibits, and Keats c e r t a i n l y knows t h i s , but his poetry, his whole s p i r i t i s drawn to the i n d i v i d u a l who looks on nature, not i n an e f f o r t to discover e t h i c a l norms, but for comfort and aid. Oceanus i s sophist not only i n the Greek connotation of the word; as much as Keats would have i t otherwise, the god's reasoning that e v i l i s not r e a l l y e v i l i s f a l l a c i o u s . The Platonic -equation of Beauty with Truth upon which Oceanus bases his argument i n fact causes the poem to f a l l apart. Keats loses himself as i t were from the very beginning where the concrete experience of pain creates a beauty which possesses more truth than does Beauty i n the abstract. Describing Thea, Keats writes: that face: How beaut i f u l , i f sorrow had not made Sorrow more bea u t i f u l than Beauty's s e l f . (I. 34-6) 61 (Once Keats has succeeded i n answering the problem of e v i l i n the vale of soul-making, these l i n e s w i l l not contradict the e s s e n t i a l , abstract idea of the goodness and beauty of the world, but i n the cosmic v i s i o n of Hyperion, they under-mine the theory of generation which i t advances.) Another f o i l to Oceanus' argument i s Clymene, a goddess whom c r i t i c s are often quick to dismiss, as are the Titans, as a weak and superfluous character. It i s true that her speech, sandwiched between those of Oceanus and Enceladus, seems unimpressive when compared with the grandeur of the one and the f i e r y energy of the other. But i n i t s quiet, grace-f u l artlessness, i t has much to say: I am here the simplest voice, And a l l my knowledge i s that joy i s gone, And t h i s thing woe crept i n amorig^our hearts. (II, 2 5 2 - 5 4 ) Of what expedience are the words of Oceanus, calculated to astound i n t h e i r wisdom, i n the face of such f o r l o r n , aching ignorance and pain? And yet i s Clymene to be dismissed because she can only f e e l and cannot philosophize? Keats, i n placing her speech where he does, i n the council of the gods, obviously attaches a great deal of importance to what she says and f e e l s . In fa c t , he shows her feelings to be closer to r e a l i t y than Saturn's f u t i l e hope and Enceladus' useless anger: l e t me t e l l Of what I heard, and how i t made me weep, And know that we had parted from a l l hope. (II, 259-61) 6 2 Oceanus explains generation i n cosmic and. natural terms, and the explanation i s successful as an argument i n a sense; but the test of generation i s how i t a f f e c t s those who l i v e i n i t , and the truth of the poem i s that regardless of the good which Nature's law brings into being, there i s a tremen-dous amount of woe crept i n among hearts. It i s unfortunate that the very essence of Hyperion must s p e l l i t s demise. Those a l l e g o r i e s of the preceding May which the poem incarnates constitute i t s major problem. The Mansion i s embodied i n the Titans as they pass from peaceful rule through the dark night of the soul into agonized defeat, and somewhat less successfully i n Apollo who, given "knowl-edge enormous," escapes the state of p a i n f u l ignorance and whose t h i r d chamber we know w i l l be a triumphant one as the father of a l l verse. The March of I n t e l l e c t i s the essence of Oceanus' explanation of the f a l l of the Titans, and i t i s supported by the knowledge which i s given to Apollo; i t i s evident that the Olympians w i l l know more than the Titans. How to reconcile the important truths of these two concepts --that change accounts for so much anguish and that change i s the vehicle for progressive good -- i s the burden of Hyperion. Keats attempts a r e c o n c i l i a t i o n by dramatizing personal pain and set t i n g i t i n a symbolical cosmic structure which w i l l reveal i t s necessary part i n the progressive improve-ment of the world through time. But to portray so poignantly, so dramatically and convincingly the Titans' unhappiness i n t h e i r adversity 63 i s to destroy the triumph of the march of time. E v i l i s the word Enceladus uses to describe what has been done to them, and the responses of the Lear-like Saturn, of Hyperion stretched along a dismal rack of clouds, of Clymene, of Enceladus himself, are so varied i n t h e i r expressions of g r i e f , and the characters are so l i t t l e consoled by the argument for endurance that eventually Keats' argument runs out. The tangible pain overbalances the abstract reasons for i t . Perhaps for the philosophic mind consolation were possible, but Keats' sympathy i s too finely-tuned to those unable to p r o f i t from the wisdom of the sea-god. By Book III Keats i s compelled to demonstrate the veracity of Oceanus' philosophy, but Apollo i s no match for the hapless Titans. The knowledge he gains and the s u f f e r i n g he experiences at d e i f i c a t i o n are implausible, ungenuine, not f e l t on the pulses; the pain that the Titans have undergone cannot be redeemed by t h i s character ofvwhom i t i s d i f f i c u l t to believe that the thinking p r i n c i p l e i s yet awakened. Also, the poetry of Book III i s the weak, loose, romance-writing of Endymion, not the t i g h t l y - c o n t r o l l e d symbolic composition which treated of the Titans. Keats i s forced to abandon the poem. The epic for i t s f i r s t two hooks i s ,a successful bid at imaging a world-order whose interconnecting realms of existence r e f l e c t many truths about the human condition. But as an entire mythology Hyperion f a i l s , because i t s poet cannot sustain i n harmony the various l e v e l s of action and 64 the psychological states of his characters, because he can-not bend his perception of the truth of human tragedy to the abstract idea of generation. The stoic attitude which would have to be adopted by the Titans was impossible to thrust upon them afte r such a beautiful rendering of t h e i r pain. Thea's sorrow i s more beautiful than the laws of Nature, by v i r t u e of Keats' conception and sympathy, and by v i r t u e of the quality of the ppetry. As much as the Timaeus aids Keats i n conceiving his cosmic order, i t cannot yet explain to him why such misery as the Titans experience exists. The poet i s s t i l l i n need of a structure of thought that w i l l coalesce i n one complete, informing v i s i o n a l l of his ideas, perceptions and b e l i e f s . Althoughtthe mythology does not succeed i n i t s cos-mogonic v i s i o n , i t s quality as an aesthetic mode which brings to l i f e the more p a r t i c u l a r i z e d perceptions of the poet i s for the f i r s t two books of Hyperion superb. Myth as a p o e t i c a l form whose beauty gives insight into transcen-dent truth i s the hallmark of the epic. We can glean per-haps a- l i t t l e of Keats' f e e l i n g for the mythology of Greece and his f a i t h i n i t s capacity to treat symbolically of man's r e l i g i o u s needs i n the following excerpt from Leigh Hunt's " S p i r i t of Ancient Mytholo;gy": Imagine the feelings with which an ancient believer must have gone by the oracular o^ aks of Dodonaj or the calm groves of the Eumenides; or the fountain where Proserpine vanished under the ground with Pluto; or 65 the Greek Temple of the mysteries of Eleusis; or the l a u r e l l e d mountain Par-nassus, on the side of which was the temple of Delphi, where Apollo was supposed to he present i n person. . Ima-- gine Plutarch, a devout and yet a l i b e r a l believer, when he went to study theology and philosophy at Delphi: with what feelings must he not have passed along the woody paths of the h i l l , approaching nearer every instant to the d i v i n i t y , and not sure that a glance of l i g h t through the trees was not the l u s t r e of the god himself going by! This i s mere poetry to us, and very fi n e i t i s ; but to him i t was poetry, and r e l i g i o n , and beauty, and gravity, and hushing awe, and a path as from one world to another. ... In a l l t h i s there i s a deeper sense of another world than i n the habit of contenting oneself with a few vague terms and embodying nothing but Mammon. There i s a deeper sense of another world, pre c i s e l y because there i s a deeper sense of the present: of i t s v a r i e t i e s , i t s benignities, i t s mystery.23 Keats would have agreed that deep s p i r i t u a l truths are to be discovered i n the natural world by the mystical, imagina-t i v e faculty such as the Greeks employed i t . And myth, through poetry, i s the means by which man gives utterance to his r e l i g i o u s grasp of r e a l i t y . The establishment of a f u l l mythology was what Keats was attempting; had his ambi-t i o n been r e a l i z e d , Hyperion would have represented f o r oh. England a deeper sense of herself and of the divine. Keats' r e t e l l i n g of the story of creation i s myth-making i n that i t adds to our knowledge concerning the o r i g i n of the world, the possible meanings behind i t , i t s implica-tions. However, where Keats' myth-making reaches i t s auton-omy i n Hyperion i s i n i t s primitive beauty, i t s achievement 66 o f t h a t " n a k e d and g r e c i a n manner" he e a r l i e r l o o k e d f o r w a r d t o , t h a t g r a n d e u r o f c o n c e p t i o n w h i c h i m p r e s s e d h i s c o n t e m -p o r a r i e s , e v e n t h e s c a t h i n g B y r o n , so much. The p o r t r a y a l o f t h e T i t a n s , who "become c o l o s s a l m y t h o l o g i c a l f i g u r e s r e p r e s e n t i n g K e a t s ' u n i q u e p o e t i c a l v i s i o n o f t h e h u m a n - c o n -d i t i o n , depends u p o n t h e c o s m i c s y s t e m a r o u n d them, w i t h o u t d o u b t ; b u t i t i s e v e n more dependent u p o n t h e n o b i l i t y and i n t e n s i t y o f t h e b l a n k v e r s e , on t h e b e a u t y o f t h e p o e t r y w h i c h by means o f s y m b o l , image and a n a l o g y i s a b l e t o d e l i v e r up s p i r i t u a l t r u t h as i t d e s c r i b e s e v e n t s and e m o t i o n a l s t a t e s . J M y t h a t i t s g r e a t e s t becomes a f o r m o f g n o s i s ; i t s a u t h o r i t y r e s t s on t h e t r u t h i t , c a n r e v e a l t h r o u g h i t s b e a u t y . K e a t s ' d e d i c a t i o n t o t h e " e t e r n a l B e i n g , t h e P r i n c i p l e o f B e a u t y i n a l l t h i n g s " and h i s f a i t h t h a t i t r e s i d e s i n t h e w o r l d as we e x p e r i e n c e i t n e v e r d i m i n i s h i n . s p i t e o f h i s c o n f u s i o n , h i s i n a b i l i t y t o r e c o n c i l e t h e p r e s e n c e o f p a i n t o i t i n h i s m y t h o l o g y . A t t h e moment, s o r r o w has more t r u t h t o i t t h a n has b e a u t y , a n d i t i s i m p o s s i b l e t o u n d e r s t a n d why. K e a t s i s t r y i n g i n H y p e r i o n t o c o n n e c t t h e a b s t r a c t i o n s o f t h e m y t h i c a l c r e a t i o n and t h e p r i n c i p l e s o f g e n e r a t i o n t o k n o w l e d g e - - p h y s i c a l a n d t h e o l o g i c a l . He knows t h a t a l l f o r m s o f knowledge a r e c a l c u l a t e d t o w a r d s a g r e a t w h o l e , b u t he has not;yyet l e a r n e d t o see t h e w h o l e . The i m p a s s e i n t h o u g h t l e a d s t o t h e r e g r e s s i v e p o e t r y o f Book I I I and l a t e r t o a n i n a b i l i t y t o g e t o n w i t h , t h e poem. H y p e r i o n i s i n e f f e c t a s e a r c h f o r t h e v a l e o f s o u l - m a k i n g , a n answer t o 67 the prohlem of e v i l . Its poet f a i l s to f i n d what he i s looking f o r , but i n the e f f o r t to mythologize, to see some standard law, he nevertheless manages to write some b r i l l i a n t poetry which secures the success of the incomplete poem, and which cannot but be thought of as the s t a r t i n g point of the great poetry of I 8 I 9 . Whether i t i s an i n s t i n c t i v e awareness that i n Plato he w i l l f i n d i f he searches hard enough the "high reason" he needs, or whether he ismmerely t r y i n g to refresh his memory of the Timaeus i n order to r e v i t a l i z e the mythology he has begun i n Hyperion, Keats some time i n early 1819 I think must have reread the dialogue, but i n the 1804 edition, which contains extensive notes by Thomas Taylor. It i s the notes as much as the dialogue i t s e l f that bring Keats to the end of his researches.' 68 CHAPTER THREE THE VALE OF SOUL-MAKING AND KEATS' OWN MYTHOLOGY It i s necessary to turn back to the l e t t e r s i n the spring of 1819 i n order to follow Keats' thinking, for his poems exhibit l i t t l e philosophizing, and i t i s now inhhis philosophical speculations that the Timaeus can be seen to be so i n f l u e n t i a l . The evolution of Keats' mythic v i s i o n begins with Hyperion and achieves i t s maturity i n the odes of 1819; underlying the assuredness of the odes i s the system of thought Keats works out i n March and A p r i l , based to a large extent upon the authority of that segment of Platonism which i s the Timaeus. P a r t i c u l a r l y i n the long journal l e t t e r of February 14 to May 3 "to his brother and s i s t e r - i n - l a w i n America, we see Keats moulding what he has found i n the dialogue, drawing a l l e g o r i c a l interpretations from i t s cos-mogony, and generally considering himself i n terms of i t s philosophy. Perhaps without i t s aid,the poet would have reached conclusions si m i l a r to those found i n the A p r i l 21 vale of soul-making l e t t e r ; i t i s , however, d i f f i c u l t to imagine either the unfinished epic or soul-making without the Platonic structures behind them. Rarely does Keats cease to question his value and role as a poet; rarely i s he able to put aside doubts as to hi s usefulness i n benefiting mankind. As a poet and not a 69 reformer or a teacher, he has to trust to his inner v i s i o n and i t s p o e t i c a l expression to ef f e c t good. A r r i v i n g at the truth of the vale of soul-making, a truth he f e e l s on his pulses, a truth we f e e l i n the pulses of the l e t t e r ' s prose, he i s at l a s t free to give r e i n to his genius, to write with the theological certainty that has evaded him so long. Just as the physical and mental su f f e r i n g of his fr i e n d Reynolds a year e a r l i e r prompted Keats' speculations about human l i f e , so the impending distress of another f r i e n d mouses him from an e g o t i s t i c a l meditation on his own troubles to an impersonal, philosophical contemplation of the uni-ve r s a l problems of existence. On March 19 , immediately upon receiving a note from Haslam portending the death of his father, Keats begins to speculate about circumstances which bring with them change and loss, p a i n f u l butnnecessary to confront and bear. The subject i s not a new one for the poet, ce r t a i n l y ; but the way i n which he begins to handle i t represents a new stage i n his thinking. The topics i n t r o -duced at t h i s time receive f u l l e r treatment on A p r i l 2 1 ; that i s to say, Keats spends a month c r i t i c a l l y analyzing, not only his own perceptions of the world, but as I hope w i l l become clear, the Platonic philosophy of the Timaeus which he had begun to depend upon i n Hyperion, but which had some-how f a i l e d to penetrate" the mystery of the problem of e v i l . Keats' system of salvation, the harvest of a l l his exertions t h i s month, i s no more purely Platonic than i s C h r i s t i a n i t y , 70 yet neither system would exist as i t does without the world-view l a i d out hy Plato. The philosophical certitude of Keats' eventual system comes from his c a r e f u l re-examination of the ideas of the Timaeus and his consideration of p h i l o -sophy i n a much more profound and serious way than ever before. He mentions that he has been thinking about Socrates and the writings through which the philosopher i s known: he has been discussing Plato with his publisher Taylor. (Might Taylor have lent him the 1804 e d i t i o n of the Dialogue as he had lent him so many other books during th e i r associa-tion?) Keats sees i n Socrates a man completely "d i s i n t e r e s t and the ..term he uses -- "disinterested" -- bears close a f f i n i t y to his own i d e a l of negative c a p a b i l i t y . Here i s a man, a thinker, a philosopher whom Keats admires, and i t i s perhaps i n seeing Socrates i n t h i s l i g h t , i n terms akin to his own highest notions, that Keats succumbs to the power of philosophy. For the f i r s t time he c a l l s his mind a "speculative"-one...He acknowledges that philosophy has become something " r e a l " for him, and moreover, that the need for i t i s not only his, but i s everyone's" You w i l l not think that on my own accou/n/t I repeat Milton's l i n e s "How charming i s divine Philosophy Not harsh and crabbed as d u l l fools suppose But musical as i s Apollo's l u t e " — No -- no for myself — f e e l i n g g r a t e f u l as I do to have got into a state ofcomind to r e l i s h them properly -- Nothing ever becomes r e a l t i l l i t i s experienced — Even a Proverb i s no proverb 71 to you t i l l your L i f e has i l l u s t r a t e d i t . ( I I , 81) The philosophic mind i s not something to he eschewed; indeed, i t can he as holy and as creative as the poet's imagination. Although i t i s more or less a year since Keats decided that philosophy i s needful to a thinking man, philosophizing as an exercise i s nevertheless hew to him; the only record we have of i t as a serious and r e l a t i v e l y extensive occupation i s i n t h i s journal l e t t e r . I think Keats himself i s aware of the fact that he i s thinking i n an e n t i r e l y new fashion, and that he has i n mind Timaeus' maxim "that to transact and know his own concerns and himself, i s alone the province of a prudent man" (5^7) when he claims his due f o r the p h i l o -sophical course he i s now on: "Give me t h i s credit -- Do you not think I st r i v e -- to know myself? Give me t h i s c r e d i t — " (II, 81). With the s o l i d i t y of the disinterested thought of Socrates (and the imaginative, theological Timaeus) supporting him,- Keats i s s t r i v i n g to know himself: to examine impartially the world and his r e l a t i o n as a mortal animal to i t . The dogmatism of Oceanus vanishes, and we have Keats in q u i r i n g into the nature of things. "This i s the world," he says. And the world that he goes on to describe i s the one Taylor characterizes as "not naturally adapted to abide for a moment" ( 4 7 6 ) . Keats, more p o e t i c a l l y , describes change: Circumstances are l i k e clouds continually 72 gathering and bursting — While we are laughing the seed of some trouble i s put into <he> the wide arable land of events -- while we are laughing i t sprouts i s grows and suddenly bears a poison f r u i t which we must pluck -- (II, 79) Considering the presence of e v i l i n such terms averts the question of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y or accountability which e f f e c t i v e l y destroyed Hyperion: the passive di r e c t s the attention away from the agent, towards the "we" who must pluck the poison f r u i t . And yet, i n spite of the "we," Keats avoids the p i t f a l l of f e e l i n g too deeply the pain caused by mutability. He has distanced himself from the emotional t r i b u l a t i o n of the Titans: his philosophy i s to be balanced and dispassionate i n i t s account of man and the world. In the same neutral vein Keats comments upon the mortal nature. His v i s i o n of man and animal as one, as subject to i d e n t i c a l laws and needs, as p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n the same l i f e processes i s i n tune with Plato's discourse on the mortal animal. Timaeus has the creator order the junior gods: That mortal natures, therefore, may subsist, and that the universe may be t r u l y a l l , convert yourselves, according to your nature, to the f a b r i c a t i o n of animals, imitating the power which I employed i n your generation ..., causing them"to increase by supplying them with aliment, and receiving them back again when dissolved by corruption. ( 5 0 4 - 5 0 5 ) Keats sees the same i n s t i n c t s , f or amusement, for "increase," for action, operating both i n the animal and i n the "noble 7 3 a n i m a l Man": The g r e a t e r p a r t o f Man make t h e i r way w i t h the same i n s t i n c t i v e n e s s , the same unwandering eye from t h e i r purpose, the same a n i m a l eagerness' as the Hawk - -The Hawk wants a Mate, so does the Man - -l o o k at them Doth they set about and procure on/e/ i n the same manner - -they get t h e i r food i n the same manner - - . . . . I go among the F e i l d s / s i c / and c a t c h a g l impse of a s t o a t or a f ie ldmouse peeping out of the w i t h e r e d grass - - the c r e a t u r e has a purpose and i t s eyes are b r i g h t w i t h i t - - I go amongst the b u i l d i n g s of a c i t y and I see a Man h u r r y i n g a l o n g - - to what? The C r e a t u r e has a purpose and h i s eyes are b r i g h t w i t h i t . ( I I , 7 9 - 8 0 ) While Keats c a l l s upon Wordsworth t o g i v e weight to t h i s p e r c e p t i o n : "But t h e n as Wordsworth says , 'we have a l l one human h e a r t , ' " Wordsworth would h a r d l y have conceived of such a p a r a l l e l of f ie ldmouse and man; on the other hand, T a y l o r t e l l s u s : Orpheus, t h e r e f o r e , e s t a b l i s h i n g one demiurgus o f a l l d i v i d e d f a b r i c a t i o n , who i s analogous to the one f a t h e r t h a t generates t o t a l f a b r i c a t i o n , produces from him the whole mundane i n t e l l e c t u a l m u l t i t u d e , the number of s o u l s , and c o r -p o r e a l c o m p o s i t i o n s . T h i s demiurgus, ( v i z . Bacchus) t h e r e f o r e , generates a l l these u n i t e d l y ; but the Gods who are p l a c e d about him d i v i d e and separate h i s f a b r i c a t i o n s . Orpheus s a y s , t h a t a l l the o ther f a b r i c a t i o n s of the d i v i n i t y were separated i n t o p a r t s by the d i s t r i b u t i v e Gods, but t h a t h i s heart alone was p r e -served i n d i v i s i b l e By the providence o f M i n e r v a . I n - w r i t i n g to George and Georgiana i t would have been much 74 simpler to r e c a l l " t o them the words of Wordsworth rather than to begin to explain the Orphic doctrine of the " i n d i v i -s i b l e heart." Whether Keats had Taylor's discussion speci-f i c a l l y i n mind would be impossible to prove, and yet we know from the A p r i l 21 l e t t e r that Keats i s seriously con-sidering the Platonic make-up of humanity i n terms of i n t e l l e c t , heart and soul as i t corresponds to the world, and his grouping of corporeal compositions-, animal with human, would seem to derive from the Orphic, Platonic t r a d i t i o n . Up to t h i s point, none of the speculations of the March l e t t e r i s nec-e s s a r i l y influenced by the Timaeus; they r e c a l l i t s image of the world, but cannot be said to depend upon i t . What i s singular i s Keats' introduction of the "superior genera" of Plato's cosmogony. Angels, daemons and heroes play a substantial part i n the Timaeus. In t h e i r many forms, they mediate between the gods and humanity. While Keats seems not to recognize the existence of angels -- perhaps the idea of them had too Ch r i s t i a n a r i n g to i t -- he discusses heroism as an impor-tant entity i n the world and conjectures whether daemons exist or not. Of the heroic he writes: ... we have a l l one human heart -- there i s an e l l e c t r i c f i r e i n human nature-. tending to p u r i f y -- so that among these human creature/s/ there i s continually some b i r t h of new heroism. (II, 80) His words come close to Taylor's paraphrase of Produs.:-: 75 the heroic subsists according to i n t e l l e c t and a convertive energy; and hence i t i s the inspective guardian of p u r i f i c a t i o n , and a magnificently operating l i f e . (500) The heroic i s an ' e l e c t r i c f i r e , ' 'a convertive energy' which ' p u r i f i e s ' and leads to a good l i f e . And l a t e r i n the l e t t e r Keats asks i f there might not be "superior beings" who watch over the reasonings of such as he, who might be amused by any erroneous opinions he might have. His statement that "though a quarrel i n the streets i s a thing to be hated, the energies displayed are f i n e ; the commonest Man shows a grace i n his quarrel" (II, 80) not only supports his contrast of the negatively capable poet l i v i n g i n gusto and the virtuous philosopher, but f a l l s back upon the peculiar brand of philosophy presented i n the Timaeus. In the psychological portion of the dialogue, Timaeus stresses the goodness and naturalness of the senses and passions which are given man at his commencement; he makes the claim that "violent passions were necessary to a l l , ... fear and anger were necessary" ( 5 0 8 - 5 0 9 ) . In his habit of describing and enlightening rather than moralizing and d i c t a t i n g , Timaeus i s far from representing Keats' " v i r -tuous" philosopher. Depending upon the "disinterestedness" he finds i n the Socratic dialogue, Keats i s f i x i n g what he f e e l s to be a s o l i d , philosophical groundwork on which he can b u i l d his poems; i t w i l l give him the confidence, at least for the next few months, to carry on, to render imaginatively 76 into poetry the truths he has worked out for himself with the a i d of the Timaeus. While the poet admits to a new r e l i s h for divine Philosophy, he never f o r a moment l e t s go either the contrast between poetry and philosophy, or his preference for the "not so f i n e " poetry. What does change i n t h i s month of philosophizing i s his conception of the range or comprehen-siveness of philosophy, i t s a b i l i t y to address the whole human s p i r i t , not only the mind. Along with the d i v i s i o n between poetry and philosophy Keats had always seen a separa-t i o n between "Philosophy human and divine" as though divine knowledge d i f f e r e d somehow from the knowledge needed i n human matters. The di s p a r i t y i s apparent i n not a few of his l e t t e r s of 1 8 1 8 , including the May 3rd discussion of Milton and Wordsworth, and also i n Hyperion where the "human" knowledge of Clymene ("And a l l my knowledge i s that joy i s gone") i s i n sharp contrast to the cogitations of Oceanus who sees transcendently into universal causes. Keats was so intent upon stressing the "human" element i n his poetry --the affections of the heart -- that he was i n a sense blinded to the value f o r the poet of the divine i n philosophy. Again, i t i s ea s i l y understood that i t i s the Timaeus, where the human i s never s a c r i f i c e d to the divine, which contributes to the poet's changing thought. Man, we are t o l d by Taylor, comprehends everything divine i n a p a r t i a l manner, and the universe i s a cosmic animal seen to function i n human terms. 77 When Keats f i n a l l y acquires t h i s understanding of the world, complex and d i f f i c u l t to grasp as i t i s for one who has always divided the two, that divine knowledge and the knowl-edge which comes from da i l y existence are e s s e n t i a l l y one, he i s able to erect a philosophical system "which does not affront our reason and humanity" ( I I , 1 0 3 ) . stand i n v e r s i f y i n g -- I cannot do i t yet with any pleasure" (II, 84), he proceeds to copy our two recent poems: "La Belle Dame sans Merci" and "Song of Four F a i r i e s . " The s t a n d s t i l l i t would seem i s i n writing what he judges to be s i g n i f i c a n t poetry, that i s , Hyperion. The "Song of Four F a i r i e s " i s hardly s i g n i f i c a n t poetry, yet i t does indicate the p o s s i b i l i t y of another debt to the Timaeus which, as has been noted, i s much concerned with the four elements. The poem i s light-hearted, a song, and not i n the least p h i l o -sophical i n character; but the mating which takes place i n i t i s based upon the Platonic p a i r i n g of the elements. In the poem, the s p i r i t s A i r and Water f l y away together while Fi r e and Earth seek "In the earth's wide e n t r a i l s old Couches warm." Taylor tables the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the elements thus: On A p r i l 15 , a f t e r Keats writes "I am s t i l l at a F i r e : subtle, acute, movable A i r : subtle, blunt, movable Water: dense, blunt, movable Earth: dense, blunt, immovable. (^37) 78 And he says of the r e l a t i o n s h i p between Earth and F i r e : ... you may perceive how admirably the two extremes f i r e and earth are con-nected; (437) . . . the l a s t procession of f i r e / I s / subterranean; f o r according to Empedocles, there are many r i v e r s of f i r e under the earth. (438) Keats i s fond of writing s l i g h t , clever verse to pass the time: the "Song of Four F a i r i e s " i s not inspired poetry, but a f a n c i f u l demonstration of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and connections of the elements. Their properties, i t i s true, are not to be found exclusively i n the Platonic dialogue, but the fact that the poem i s written at t h i s time leads to the not implausible surmise that i t i s influenced by the Timaeus. "La Belle Dame," i n contrast to the song, i s poetry at i t s greatest, and i s Keats' f i r s t e n t i r e l y successful venture into myth-making. That the poet does not recognize i t s b r i l l i a n c e , that he l a t e r thinks the "Ode to Psyche" his f i r s t poem to r e f l e c t the pains of composition, indicates the lack of confidence he has without his "system of salvation." But the fineness of the ballad i n i t s austere and quiet beauty shows the poet to be not very distant from answering the problem of e v i l : "La Belle Dame" suspends the questioning and searching and i n t h e i r stead offers a disengaged, imper-sonal presentation of what man suffers because of change and l o s s . In i t s implied acceptance of the -world as i t i s there 79 i s a foreglimpse of the theme of the odes. The poem captures the desolation that r e s u l t s when love and hope must be f o r f e i t e d , and at the same time demon-strates the u n i v e r s a l i t y (kings, princes and warriors have undergone what the knight experiences) and naturalness of the despair which necessarily occurs within the impermanent 2 fi world. To argue that the knight has been to h e l l or heaven i n his encounter with the lady i s I think to miss the point 2 7 . . • of the poem; Keats i s perhaps thinking of the Orphic journey to the underworld when he has his knight meet a kind of s p i r i t u a l death i n the physical love of the e l f i n grot, but that the subsequent su f f e r i n g endured w i l l guarantee the salvation of his soul i s not even hinted at. There i s no moral, no consolation i n the poem. What Keats presents i s a mythical picture of t h i s world: the happiness possible i n i t , however transitory and imperfect i t might be (and the v world of the poem i s imperfect, as imperfect as Plato's cave-:---the knight cannot be absolutely c e r t a i n that he has under-stood the lady; the lady, though a faery's c h i l d , weeps f u l l sore); and the misery which also i s part of i t , constituting the h e l l of existence, where "no birds sing." This i s a world of f l u x , and the knight i s caught, as i n e x t r i c a b l y as the seasons, between i t s good and i l l : the granary i s f u l l but the sedge i s withered; the knight i s f u l f i l l e d i n love, but he i s alone and woe-begone. As myth, the poem authenticates and, through i t s melancholy beauty, gives a 8 0 value to the experience of the suff e r i n g i n d i v i d u a l ; however, i t suggests neither reason nor recompense for that experience. After soul-making, when Keats' mythic v i s i o n i s complete, his poems w i l l he ahle to j u s t i f y , i n a profound theological sense, the mystery of suffering. In the A p r i l 21 vale of soul-making l e t t e r , the topics Keats discusses are further explorations of those introduced i n March: the character of circumstances, the importance of Socrates, the condition of mortal natures human and animal, and the p o s s i b i l i t y of the existence of mediators. But the way i n which Keats deals with them reaches a height of conviction, of joy and inte n s i t y , as the nature of the world and the reason for i t s e v i l s become clear to him. It has taken the poet a l l t h i s time, over a year, to integrate the Platonism of the Timaeus into his own perceptions concerning l i f e . That he i s going back to Greek roots i n the f a b r i c a t i o n of his philosophical system he himself t e l l s us when commenting on the nature of media-tors and t h e i r o r i g i n . What sparks the breakthrough i n thought, however, i s the reading of Voltair e and of Robert-son's History of America. The h i s t o r i c a l perspective which the two authors present stimulates Keats to a re-examination of the presence of e v i l : I have been reading l a t e l y two very d i f f e r e n t books Robertson's America and Voltaire's Siecle De Louis x i v It i s 81 l i k e walking arm and arm between Pizarro and the g r e a t - l i t t l e Monarch. In How lementabl/e/ a case do we see the great body of the people i n both instances: i n the f i r s t , where Man might seem to i n h e r i t quiet of Mind from unsophisticated senses; from uncontamination of c i v i l i z a t i o n ; and especially from t h e i r being as i t were estranged from the mutual helps of Society and i t s mutual i n j u r i e s -- and thereby more immediately under the Protection of Provi-; - dence -- even there they had mortal pains to bear as bad; or even worse than B a l i f f s , Debts and Poverties of c i v i l i s e d L i f e --(II , 100) A " c i v i l i z e d " France or a "nobly savage" America^bring with them pains and hardships, perhaps d i f f e r e n t i n kind, but equally b i t t e r . With the recognition that e v i l exists and flourishes under a l l conditions, that i t rather than the might of beauty seems to "reign i n r i g h t thereof" with a power that does not diminish from age to age or c i v i l i z a t i o n to c i v i l i z a t i o n , Keats e s s e n t i a l l y turns his back on endea-vouring to c l a r i f y i t s place i n the make-up of the world. He begins to examine instead the presence of e v i l , as he had begun to do with the Titans, as a problem for the i n d i -vidual rather than for the world, and what he discovers i s that the standard law he has been searching f o r i s notodf cosmic, s o c i a l or physical dimensions, but i s the law of personal salvation. Once one understands the i n d i v i d u a l and his needs, the role of the world's e v i l s becomes evident. The f i r s t hint that t h i s l e t t e r w i l l be one of conclusions f o r the poet i s the statement that "the whole appears to resolve into t h i s " — here we have a conception I 82 of the "whole question" of the problem of e v i l , and here we have i t s resolution, not a s t a r t l i n g or o r i g i n a l one, but a quietly accepting one, that "man i s mortal and there i s ever a heaven with i t s Stars abov/e/ his head" (II, 1 0 1 ) : we inhabit the mutable world which w i l l always d i f f e r from the steadfast and eternally b e a u t i f u l heavens. Keats goes on to consider the implications of t h i s truth. He asks "the most i n t e r e s t i n g question that can come before us": How f a r by the persevering endeavours of a seldom appearing Socrates Mankind may be made happy — /he/ can imagine such happiness carried to an extreme --(II, 1 0 1 ) But he i s sagacious enough to evaluate the state of mortal man i n t h i s imagined extremity of happiness and to gauge the l i m i t a t i o n s of philosophy: -- but what must i t end in? -- Death --and who could i n such a case bear with death — the whole troubles of l i f e which are now f r i t t e r e d away i n a series of years, would the/n/ be accumulated for the l a s t days of a being who instead of h a i l i n g i t s approach, would leave t h i s world as Eve l e f t Paradise -- (II, 1 0 1 ) Here we have Keats g l o r i f y i n g the powers of philosophy to make the nature of the world understood and thus to render man happy i n the possession of knowledge, and simultas. neously denying the ultimate desirableness of such an ef f e c t . Issuing out of t h i s rather cursory i n v e s t i g a t i o n of the capacity of philosophy to soothe the cares of man 8 3 are: the heginning of the argument that e v i l i s necessary to mortal man -- were1 one never to suffer i n t h i s l i f e , death would be unbearable; the renewed confirmation of the supremacy of the heart -- for a l l his respect for the reasoning mind, i t i s the feelings that remain paramount,; — the reaction of man to his circumstances i s of more conse-quence than the circumstances themselves; and, f i n a l l y , the complete r e j e c t i o n of the generation argument which lay at the foundation of Hyperion: But i n truth I do not believe i n t h i s sort of p e r f e c t a b i l i t y -- the nature of the world w i l l not admit of i t -- the inhabitants of the world w i l l correspond to i t s e l f -- ... The point at which Man may arrive i s as far as the p a r a l e l state i n inanimate nature and no further. (II, 1 0 1 ) Whether "this sort of p e r f e c t a b i l i t y " includes the March of I n t e l l e c t i s impossible to decide. Keats i s t a l k i n g about the knowledge which the i n t e l l e c t i s capable of achieving i n a seldom-appearing Socrates, but since the main thrust of his argument at t h i s stage i s centred upon man's 'bodily accommodations,' we cannot know whether he i s r e f e r r i n g to the allegory. Keats seems at t h i s juncture to be revolving around and around i n his mind the Platonic doctrines he has met, weighing t h e i r p o s s i b i l i t i e s , t h e i r s i g n i f i c a n c e . The experiences he has read of France and America have e f f e c t i v e l y done away with the concept of generation towards perfection where man's sufferings are somehow t i e d to the world's good: I 84 Keats r e l i n q u i s h e s the a b s t r a c t i d e a , and addresses h i m s e l f to the w o r l d he sees around him. To i l l u s t r a t e the a b s o l u t e i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p o f man w i t h n a t u r e , the poet i n t r o d u c e s the analogy of the rose i n i t s ^ h a b i t a t i o n : For i n s t a n c e suppose a rose to have s e n s a t i o n , i t blooms on a b e a u t i f u l morning i t enjoys i t s e l f - - but t h e r e comes a c o l d w i n d , a hot sun - - i t cannot escape i t , i t cannot d e s t r o y . i t s annoyances - - they are as n a t i v e to the w o r l d as i t s e l f : no more can man be happy i n s p i t e , the w o r l d / l y / elements w i l l prey upon h i s n a t u r e . ( I I , 101) I Is; Keats here r e c a l l i n g the "sense of p l a n t s " which T a y l o r d e s c r i b e s i n h i s notes on the Timaeus? - -The l a s t sense i s t h a t w i t h which a most obscure knowledge i s p r e s e n t , which ! i s f u l l of p a s s i o n , and i s proximate to p h y s i c a l sympathy, as not knowing the forms of s e n s i b l e s ; a s , f o r i n s t a n c e , t h a t what operates i s hot or c o l d , but t h a t what f a l l s upon i t i s alone p l e a s a n t or p a i n f u l ; f o r such i s the sense o f p l a n t s . ! (482) The q u e s t i o n i s not groundless - - t h i s v a l e o f soul -making l e t t e r has much i n common w i t h the c h a r a c t e r o f the d i a l o g u e and w i t h i n d i v i d u a l ideas i t i n t r o d u c e s : Keats i s e x p l o r i n g the " c o n n e c t i o n of t h i n g s " which Timaeus a g a i n and a g a i n i n s i s t s upon, and i t i s s i g n i f i c a n t to n o t e , he i s examining the p h y s i c a l w o r l d t h e o l o g i c a l l y . The c o n s i d e r a t i o n of man i n h i s n a t u r a l environment and, the consequent i l l s he i s prey t o b r i n g s Keats f i n a l l y to the u n d e r s t a n d i n g and j u s t i -85 f i c a t i o n of the presence of e v i l . It i s a change i n perspective which y i e l d s success for Keats: rather than endeavouring any longer to f i n d a law, natural or divine, to account for the existence of e v i l , Keats focusses upon the ind i v i d u a l ' s seemingly inex-t r i c a b l e l i n k with misfortune. Mankind appears somehow dependent upon the presence of pain, not only to make death tolerable, but to make l i f e meaningful i n a profound, r e l i -gious sense. Keats s h i f t s his outlook from seeing that pain i s of necessity i n the world to recognizing that i t i s necessary to, the world. The vale of soul-making, while i t s reference points are c l e a r l y Platonic, moves far beyond the Timaeus i n j u s t i f y i n g the existence of e v i l . By concentrating, not on the organization of the world, but on the composition of the human being, by r e l y i n g on the Heart as a knowing entity and emphasizing that knowledge i s more than reasoned conclusions, Keats i s able to capture what he believes to be the essence of human existence. Timaeus balanced his conceptions of universe :.and man, making the former the macrocosm of the l a t t e r , but i n his systematizing, the role of e v i l was inexplicable. Hyperion was an attempt to deal with the universal pattern; now Keats examines the microcosm to explain the "use of the world." His expression "the use of the world" i s singular and i s the key to the vale of soul-making: Keats regards the world as though i t were constructed for man, and not vice-versa as Plato would have i t . But how-86 ever much Keats circumnavigates c e r t a i n Platonic conceptions, his system i s erected upon the Greek theology as expounded hy the Timaeus; i t owes i t s existence to the cosmography of the dialogue, and to i t s p a r t i c u l a r way of focussing and interpreting phenomena -- materially v e r i f i a b l e and con-j e c t u r a l . In order to dismiss the misguided notion of Ch r i s t i a n redemption as an argument for the existence of e v i l , Keats transforms the C h r i s t i a n "vale of tears" into the more creative "vale of soul-making," He then proceeds to sketch his theory of salvation -- the making of the soul immortal --i n terms which adhere clo s e l y to Timaeus' description of the Anima Mundi and i t s counterpart, the human soul. The entire theology of the Platonic dialogue i s based on the conception ofi soul and i t s embodiment i n p a r t i a l souls, and for i t s delineation Timaeus depends upon the Pythagoric mode of inquiry which maintains that things are given a t r i p l e d i v i -sion, that i s , any two le v e l s of being, any two substances, to i n t e r a c t , must be sustained by a t h i r d , for as Timaeus says, "It i s impossible for two things alone to cohere together without the intervention of a t h i r d " (479)• The universe, world-soul, the human soul, Nature, the inhabitants of the universe, a l l have threefold characters. So, for instance, the demiurgus "placing i n t e l l e c t i n soul and soul inibody, he fabricated the universe" (Timaeus, 4 7 8 ) , and the soul of man except i n i t s p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n matter i s 87 the exact counterpart of the world-soul which consists of eternal essence, energy i n time, and body (or essence, sameness and difference). In both cases, the soul represents the medium between the i n t e l l e c t u a l and the material realms. Keats i s strongly influenced by the Platonic idea of soul as i t i s represented i n the dialogue: he employs the con-cept of t r i - p a r t i t e d i v i s i o n , especially as i t i s relevant to the composition of soul, and he echoes Timaeus' extensive use of "mediums" i n his scheme of soul-creation. Keats' threefold d i v i s i o n consists of Intelligence, World and Heart, which, working together, create the soul. His system of salvation or " s p i r i t - c r e a t i o n " i s effected by three grand materials acting the one upon the other for a series of years -- These three Materials are the Intelligence -- the human heart (as distinguished from i n t e l l i g e n c e or Mind) and the World or Elemental space suited for the proper action of Mind and Heart on each other for the purpose of forming the Soul or Intelligence destined to possess the sense of Identity. Cll» 102) The d e f i n i t i o n s given to each of the components derive from the d e f i n i t i o n s accorded them by Timaeus and Taylor. Keats says of Intelligences that they are not souls <the> t i l l they acquire i d e n t i t i e s , t i l l each one i s personally i t s e l f . I / n / t e l -ligences are atoms of perception — they know and they see and they are pure, i n short they are God -- (II, 102) Or, as Taylor says, "Every pure i n t e l l e c t i s , according to 88 the Platonic philosophy, a God according to union" (418). The World of Circumstances i s of course the world of change, of generation which never is., but i s always i n a state of becoming. And the Heart, Keats' interpreter of experience, his "seat of the human Passions" i s Timaeus' home of the mortal genus of the soul where the nobler passions mediate between the brain and bodily appetites (544). Keats i n defining the Soul as d i f f e r e n t from I n t e l l e c t , as an entity that has to be matured, sees as Taylor t e l l s us Plato does, that the reason of the soul i s "becoming to be true," thus i n d i c a t i n g "the difference between the knowledge of soul and i n t e l l e c t " (489). And Keats' idea of the "three grand materials" might have been inspired by Timaeus' inquiry into i n t e l l e c t and true opinion: ... these ought to be denominated two d i s t i n c t things, because they are gen-erated separate from each other, and are d i s s i m i l a r . ... And the one i s indeed always attended with true reason, but the other i s i r r a t i o n a l . The one i s not to be moved by persuasion; the other, on the contrary, i s subject to t h i s mutation. ... We must confess that the form which subsists according to same, i s unbegotten and without decay; neither receiving anything into i t s e l f externally, nor i t s e l f proceeding into any other nature. That i t i s i n v i s i b l e , and imperceptible by sense; and that t h i s i s the proper object of i n t e l l e c t u a l speculation. But the form which i s synon-ymous and si m i l a r to t h i s , must be con-sidered as sensible, generated, always i n agitation, and generated i n a c e r t a i n place, from which i t again recedes, hastening to dissolution; and which i s apprehended by opinion i n conjunction 89 w i t h sense. But the t h i r d nature i s t h a t of p l a c e . ( 5 2 4 - 2 5 ) The t h r e e n a t u r e s e x i s t i n g i n the " r e c e p t a c l e " of t h i n g s i n the u n i v e r s e are i n t e l l e c t , o p i n i o n governed by sense, and p l a c e . Or, as Keats would say, I n t e l l e c t , Heart and W o r l d . To e x p l a i n the s p e c i f i c r e l a t i o n s among the m a t e r i a l s of s o u l - m a k i n g , Keats i n t r o d u c e s the i d e a of mediums. He r e v e r s e s T a y l o r ' s q u e s t i o n } " F o r how, w i t h o u t a medium, c o u l d they / s o u l s / proceed i n t o t h i s body-..from i m m a t e r i a l s p i r i t s ? " (511) to read 'How w i t h o u t the medium of t h i s w o r l d c o u l d s o u l s proceed from t h i s body to possess a s p i r i t of t h e i r own?' "How t h e n are s o u l s to be made?" Keats a s k s , How, but by the medium of a w o r l d l i k e I t h i s ? . . . Do you not see how necessary a World of P a i n s and t r o u b l e s i s to s c h o o l an I n t e l l i g e n c e and make i t a s o u l ? A P l a c e where the heart must f e e l and s u f f e r i n a thousand d i v e r s e ways! ( I I , 102) And l a t e r on, i n r e i t e r a t i n g h i s d o c t r i n e , i t i s the Heart as mediator i n the w o r l d of c i rcumstances which becomes the medium between the I n t e l l i g e n c e w i t h o u t i d e n t i t y and the S o u l w i t h i t s a l t e r i n g n a t u r e . There can be l i t t l e doubt, I t h i n k , t h a t Keats i s i n t h i s l e t t e r of A p r i l 21 very con-s c i o u s l y a l l o w i n g h i m s e l f to be i n f l u e n c e d by the k i n d o f p h i l o s o p h i c a l i n q u i r y and the t h e o l o g i c a l d o c t r i n e s con-c e r n i n g the s o u l t h a t he f i n d s i n the Timaeus. T a y l o r ' s comments t h a t P l a t o c a l l s the g n o s t i c motions o f the 90 soul touchings i n d i c a t i n g by t h i s the immediate apprehension of the objects of knowledge, (489) and the happiness of any being i s the proper perfection of that being (484) seem to have sparked i n Keats not only the ideas that the soul becomes the receptacle of knowledge and that as i t i s perfected i t develops a happiness, a " b l i s s p e c u l i a r , " but as well they seem to have affected even the poet's vocabulary. It i s not d i f f i c u l t to imagine, es p e c i a l l y given Keats' attrac-t i o n to gerunds, how e a s i l y Taylor's i t a l i c i z e d 'touchings' evolved into the 'touchstones' and 'provings' Keats uses to describe the a c q u i s i t i o n of knowledge that gives the soul i t s ''perfectionings' : I began by seeing how man was formed by circumstances -- and what are circumstances? --but touchstones of his heart --? and what are touch stones? -- but proovings of his heart? — and what are proovings of his heart but f o r t i f i e r s or a l t e r e r s of his nature? and what i s his altered nature but his soul? -- and what was his soul before i t came into the world and had These provings and a l t e r a t i o n s and perfectionings? -- An intelligence<s> -- without Identity -- and how i s t h i s Identity to be made? Through the medium of the Heart? And how i s the heart to become t h i s Medium but i n a world of Circumstances? (II, 103-104) In the Platonic philosophy the human soul acts as the medium between the I n t e l l i g i b l e and the material, and the further she approaches the former, the more knowledge she 91 i s said to possess and happier i s the i n d i v i d u a l whose tenement she inhabits. I r o n i c a l l y , however, i t i s only through p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n material existence and undergoing the c i r c u l a t i o n s of time that the f l i g h t of the soul towards essence takes place. Keats launches on to the truth of t h i s irony, and i n so doing c l a r i f i e s f o r himself the "use" of the world, giving i t much more importance i n the scheme of creation than Timaeus was w i l l i n g to concede i t . Yet even i n t h i s seeming dis p a r i t y between Keats' system and the dialogue, the commentary of Taylor can be seen to be perhaps influencing Keats' v i s i o n : Should i t be again asked, Why, therefore, are p a r t i a l souls descending into genera-t i o n f i l l e d with such material perturbation, and such numerous e v i l s ? we reply, that t h i s takes place through the i n c l i n a t i o n a r i s i n g from t h e i r free w i l l . ... And the soul, indeed, by verging to a material l i f e , kindles a l i g h t i n her dark tenement the body, but she herself becomes situated i n obscurity; and by giving l i f e to the body, she destroys he r s e l f and her own i n t e l l e c t , i n as great a degree as these are capable of receiving destruction. For thus the mortal nature p a r t i c i p a t e s of i n t e l l e c t , but the i n t e l l e c t u a l part of death, and the whole becomes a prodigy ... composed of the mortal and immortal, of the i n t e l l e c t u a l , and that which i s deprived of i n t e l l e c t . For t h i s physical law, which binds the soul to the body, i s the death of the immortal l i f e , but i s the cause of v i v i f i c a t i o n to the mortal body. (513) The soul on entering the mortal body i s situated i n obscurity and must begin a series of progressions towards knowledge an and happiness. For the poet, the progress i s effected by 92 l i v i n g i n the world i n one's mortality and learning from the perturbations and numerous e v i l s one encounters. Salvation, the making of the soul into a character which i s for ever one's own, which for Keats constitutes immortality, i s the v i v i d and v i t a l experience of our material nature i n i t s confrontation with mutability and death. The underscoring of the Heart's role i n human l i f e i s i nevitable: for Keats i t i s the interpreter of sense experience, i t i s a place of holiness -- i n i t s emotions and affections l i e the seeds of personal i d e n t i t y , which, communicated over a series of years to the mind, create the soul. Our I n t e l l e c t s are God, our Hearts our own: The Heart ... i s the Minds Bible, i t s i s the Minds experience, i t i s the teat from which the Mind or i n t e l l i g e n c e sucks i t s i d e n t i t y -- As various as the Lives of Men are -- so various become t h e i r souls, and thus does God make i n d i v i d u a l beings, Souls. (II, 103) But as much as the vale of soul-making can be said to r e f l e c t 1 : Keats' nineteenth-century humanism and natural r e l i g i o n i n the prominence which i t gives to the heart, i t s roots are embedded i n Plato's Timaeus, and more p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the discussion of the soul which comprises such a large part of the dialogue. That Keats i s seriously considering the Platonic, that i s , Greek, theology i n i t s many manifestations i s evidenced i n his speculations, f i r s t broached i n March and now r e i t e r a t e d , concerning daemons: 93 It i s pretty generally suspected that the c h r / i / s t i a n scheme has "been coppied from the ancient persian and greek Philosophers. Why may they not have made t h i s simple thing even more simple for common appre-hension hy introducing Mediators and Personages i n the same manner as i n the hethan mythology abstractions are person-i f i e d -- Seriously I think i t probable that t h i s System of Soul-making -- may have been the Parent of a l l the more palpable and' personal Schemes of Redemption. (II, 103) The introduction of mediators serves no r e a l purpose i n Keats' system, yet i t does demonstrate that the poet i s struggling with the Platonic conception of p a r t i a l souls, superior to our own, as they move through the universe and the c i r c u l a -tions of time. His insistence that the soul i s not a thing-i h - i t s e l f but has to be made i s of courseea wide divergence from Plato's concept of soul. But with Plato, Keats believes that the soul exists as part of the I n t e l l e c t but unlike the I n t e l l e c t i s i n a state of "becoming to be true"; with Plato he sees that the soul must be schooled, must perfect i t s e l f through knowledge; with Plato he labels the reward given to him who succeeds i n the perfecting of his soul, happiness. It i s the kind of knowledge necessary to mature the soul and bring i t into being that marks the es s e n t i a l difference between the theologies of poet and philosopher. Keats, l i m i t i n g his speculations to the human condition, i s able to grasp a truth that eludes Timaeus i n his greater scheme: the truth that e v i l i s present i n the world f o r the good of man-kind as i n d i v i d u a l beings, as possessors of souls. For Timaeus, i t i s the contemplation of good and of beauty that 94 leads to gnosis; for Keats, who l i v e s and writes hy t h i s Platonic p r i n c i p l e i t i s true, there i s equally the recog-n i t i o n that what i s the very opposite of beauty furnishes one with a kind of knowledge that the looking only upon the sun the moon the stars cannot provide, a knowledge which leads to Identity, a wholeness of being which i s personally one's own. Keats' f i r s t attempt to employ the philosophy-myth-ology of the Timaeus f a i l e d : i t was impossible to work out a philosophy within the poem Hyperion, even with the enormous aid of the Platonic cosmogony. The v i s i o n required f o r the epic simply did not e x i s t . When the poet comes the following spring to see the dialogue i n terms more approximate to his concern f o r the i n d i v i d u a l , however, he i s able to use i t (often taking i t s doctrines widely out of context, using the suggestions i t makes to him without attending very cl o s e l y to t h e i r Platonic application) to comprehend f i n a l l y the reason for the existence of e v i l , to answer the problem which has for so long tormented him. Keats d i s t i l l s from the Platonic v i s i o n of the composition of the human soul and i t s struggle within the material world a t h e o l o g i c a l system of salvation which he believes to be reasonable and at the same time creative, and which responds more than adequately to the' circumscribed, straightened notions of C h r i s t i a n i t y . The vale of soul-making i s much what the Mansion of Many Apartments and the grand March of I n t e l l e c t were: the a l l e g o r i z i n g of human l i f e i n human terms - abstract thought 95 made tangible: I w i l l c a l l the world a School i n s t i t u t e d f o r the purpose of teaching l i t t l e children to read — I w i l l c a l l the human heart the horn Book used i n that School -- and I w i l l c a l l the Child able to read, the Soul made from that school and i t s hornbook. Do you not see how necessary a World of Pains and troubles i s to school/an Intelligence and make i t a soul? A Place where the heart must f e e l and suffer i n a thousand diverse ways! (II, 102) The aching joy of the l a s t two sentences of t h i s passage betrays the r e l i e f Keats f e e l s i n at l a s t r e c o n c i l i n g the existence of e v i l to his abstract P r i n c i p l e of Beauty i n a l l things, i n at l a s t witnessing the good that i s inherent i n such a plan that can produce autonomous, i n d i v i d u a l , immortal beings. What he sees so c l e a r l y and so confidently i s t r u l y a v i c t o r y for him: he has fought for months to come to an understanding of the ro l e of pain and suffering, and the answer he finds to the metaphysical question i s grounded i n the r e a l i t y of the everyday world; i t i s not a closed system, one that w i l l l i m i t his perceptions, but one which allows open-endedly for experience and increase i n knowledge. It i s s i g n i f i c a n t that Keats concludes his discussion of soul-making with the words: "There now I think what with Poetry and Theology ...," given that he has not once i n the l e t t e r referred to poetry. It i s not so curious, however, when one r e a l i z e s that i t i s t h i s system which he has worked out that i s the basis of the odes that follow. The system of salvation, necessary to him as a thinking, questioning man, i s no less v i t a l f or his poetry, for were he to lose 9 6 f a i t h i n the essential goodness of the world,hhe would lose assurance as a poet. The theological certainty of the vale of soul-making does not l a s t the poet's l i f e t i m e , hut f o r a few months at least i t provides him with a v i s i o n of the world, a v i s i o n complete enough to erect a mythology, to create a body of myths which supports and explores the impli-cations of the truth he now possesses. The security Keats f e e l s , the peaceable and healthy s p i r i t as he terms i t , i s projected soon afterwards into the "Ode to Psyche," a poem the poet writes i n honour of the sdul-made. The direct influence of the Timaeus e f f e c t i v e l y comes to an end at t h i s time: i t has served i t s purpose i n helping Keats to est a b l i s h a framework of his own thought with which he i s s a t i s f i e d . He takes his leave of Platonism i n the autobiographical "Psyche." Of i t he says: The following Poem -- the l a s t I have written i s the f i r s t and only one with which I have taken even moderate pains --I have for the most part dash'd of my l i n e s i n a hurry -- This I have done l e i s u r e l y -- I think i t reads the more r i c h l y for i t and w i l l I hope encourage me to write other thing/s/ i n even a more peacable and healthy s p i r i t . You must r e c o l l e c t that Psyche was not embodied as a goddess before the time of Apulieus the Plat o n i s t who l i v e d a f t e i r the '. Agustan age, and consequently the Goddess was never worshipped or s a c r i f i c e d to with any of the ancient fervour -- and perhaps never thought of i n the old r e l i g i o n -- I am more orthodox that to l e t a hethen 1 Goddess be so neglected -- (II, 1 0 5 - 1 0 6 ) "Psyche" i s Keats' p o e t i c a l statement that he now possesses a mythopoeia, a comprehension of the world that i s peculiar, 97 appropriate and native to himself. In the poem he defines where he stands i n r e l a t i o n to the old mythology and how he intends to take up the challenge of creating new poetry, new myth, that w i l l a r t i c u l a t e the present world's cares, i t s burdens and i t s mysteries. Keats does not choose at random the goddess to whom he w i l l dedicate himself. Psyche i s the incarnation of the human soul which, having suffered through a series of t r i a l s , a ttains i t s i d e n t i t y and immortality. Keats, recognizing Psyche's value as the soul i n triumph, asks to be her p r i e s t , to sing her secrets to the world, In setting up the two contrasting ages i n the ode: the Olympian with i t s antique r i t e s , i t s immediacy of f e e l i n g , i t s holiness, i t s fond believing Innocence; and his own, f a r r e t i r e d from the other's happy p i e t i e s , intensely aware of the presence of pain, of the need for knowledge, Keats i s determining the d i r e c t i o n his poetry must take. As much as the beauty of the Greek r e l i g i o n appeals to him, he i s only too aware of i t s inade-quacies, only too aware that the theology which he must l i v e and write by is-the far more complex one of soul-making. Thus, the fane which he builds to the goddess w i l l contain not only gentle zephyrs, streams, birds and bees, but too, dark, wild-ridged mountains f u l l of ter r o r and danger to be reminders of the hardship and suffering that the soul must meet to achieve i t s i d e n t i t y . ! The temple i s not one, however, of mere passive reminders of Psyche's mortal days. Its sanctuary where 98 she i s to r e s i d e i s K e a t s ' mind, the "breeding-ground f o r a l l t h a t Fancy can c r e a t e . The f i n a l f o u r l i n e s of the poem foreshadow the theme of the odes to f o l l o w , i n which Keats w i l l s t r e s s the r i c h n e s s of experience and the need to accept the p h y s i c a l w o r l d , i m p e r f e c t as i t i s , s i n c e i t i s our p a t h t o - t h e d i v i n e . Keats promises Psyche a l l s o f t d e l i g h t That shadowy thought can w i n , A b r i g h t t o r c h , and a casement ope a t n i g h t , To l e t the warm Love i n ! The poet admits h i s l i m i t a t i o n s , and appears to be c a p i t u -l a t i n g to t r a d i t i o n a l P l a t o n i s m i n c o n f e s s i n g t h a t h i s thought i s "shadowy," t h a t he i n h a b i t s an i m p e r f e c t w o r l d . But t h e r e n e v e r t h e l e s s e x i s t s i n him t h a t i d e a l , d i v i n e knowledge t h a t i s h i s as P s y c h e ' s p r i e s t , and t h i s he would wed to the w o r l d of e x p e r i e n c e . For Keats now, d i v i n e knowl-edge and human are one, and what these f i n a l l i n e s i n s i s t upon i s t h a t there must be a f u s i o n of the i d e a l (the t r u t h and beauty of Psyche, the s o u l made) w i t h the p h y s i c a l or human w o r l d (here t y p i f i e d by s e x u a l l o v e ) . I n m a i n t a i n i n g t h a t the a l r e a d y - c r e a t e d s o u l of Psyche i s to cont inue to meet w i t h e r o t i c l o v e , Keats a f f i r m s t h a t the i d e a l i s i n the mutable w o r l d , and can be exper ienced t h e r e : i f t h i s be P l a t o n i s m , i t i s so only by the broadest i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the mythology of the Timaeus which endorses the v a l u e of the c r e a t e d w o r l d , which speaks of love as the I! " g e n e r a l i n v a d e r of a l l t h i n g s " (Timaeus, 544). Keats has 99 by t h i s time developed the Platonic system of creation with i t s i n t e l l i g i b l e and mutable realms and i t s concept of soul into such an unorthodox credo that i t becomes impossible to speak of Platonism i n his poems. "Psyche" i s I think Keats' p o e t i c a l statement of his p o s i t i o n with regard to philosophy and poetry, and his acknowledgement of his unorthodoxy: i n the poem he recognizes the i n a b i l i t y of the Greek r e l i g i o n arid of Platonism, beautiful as they are, to address the needs of the modern world; i n the f i n a l stanza, while he pays tribu t e to t h e i r contribution to his thought, the poet resolves toi replace the ancient theology and mythology with his own. The odes which follow "Psyche" are a series of myths 29 which support Keats'' central theological v i s i o n . 7 Middleton Murry says of them, that they are "poems that haunt men's minds and acquire a dominion over t h e i r souls, of which they 30 can render no account to themselves."^ The statement I think evokes t h e i r mythic quality, t h e i r character as r e l i -gious symbolism, t h e i r authority which rests i n the beauty of t h e i r thought and l y r i c i s m as i t works upon us, almost unaccountably as Murry suggests. Keats could not but have been cognizant of t h e i r value as myth: i n each poem h e i i s at pains to displace former myths or reshape them into a modern context. The procedure i s begun with "Psyche," although Keats i s not attempting i n the poem to mythologize, and continues through the "Ode to a Nightingale" to "To Autumn." It i s almost axiomatic that a new stanza form come 100 into being at t h i s time -- the innovation expresses the richness and newness of Keats' mythopoeic v i s i o n . The problem of e v i l i s not forgotten, but i t i s assimilated into the theological system of soul-making: the odes are representations of how the i n d i v i d u a l adjusts to and p r o f i t s from the world around him; how pain, loss, the l i m i t a t i o n s of the human condition are to be dealt with; how i t i s necessary not only to accept the e v i l s of existence, but to seize and exploit them for the knowledge they lead to. As myths, they do not define a moral attitude or ethic of conduct, although i n the truth they present they imply a standard of conduct; rather they validate the experience of l i v i n g the world to i t s f u l l e s t . In the symbolism of the odes there i s a progressive movement towards a fusion of con-t r a r i e s whereby an equipoise between good and e v i l i s achieved, whereby the value of one i s no greater, no less than that of the other. In his myth-making Keats i s anxious to detach himself from the mythology of the past. His modern mythology w i l l make use of the normal Platonic d i v i s i o n between the physical world with i t s apportionment of e v i l and the world of essence, of beauty and truth, but only to i l l u s t r a t e that the i d e a l dwells within the physical and i s dependent upon i t and i t s accompanying e v i l s f o r i t s value. I s h a l l not attempt a detailed interpretaion of the odes, but I think i t necessary to look b r i e f l y at how they function as modern myths which support Keats' theology. The "Ode to a Nightingale" i s perhaps the least mythic of the 101 odes __ the poet i s too much i n i t . Yet the poem i s never-theless representative i n a universal way; i t s immediacy absorbs the reader u n t i l he forgets that i t i s e s s e n t i a l l y a testament of another's personal emotions. Keats symbolizes the i d e a l world i n the feeauty of the nightingale's song: the world of essence i s made manifest i n the natural,' mutable world. However, the gap between the "happiness" of the nightingale and the misery of the human world where men s i t and hear each other groan; Where palsy shakes a few, sad, l a s t gray hairs, Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies; Where but to think i s to be f u l l of sorrow And leaden-eyed despairs, Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes, Or new Love pine at them beyond tomorrow i s an enormous one. The speaker -- whom we can f a i r l y reason-ably i d e n t i f y as Keats -- i n hearing the song, i n desiring to merge with i t s beauty, believes that he must i n some manner quit the mortal world; to bring about t h i s end he considers three possible methods. By proposing and r e j e c t i n g each measure, Keats dis-tances himself from the ancient r i t e s which were believed to lead to the divine: he refuses f i r s t Bacchus and his pards, he- w i l l not drink of the Hippocrene; poetry he understands cannot reach Phoebe, the Queen-Moon; and death at midnight i n the height of ecstasy i s f u t i l e . For. the ',beauty with which he would attach himself i s not of another world, but resides i n the natural world. To know i t , he too must abide 102 i n that world. The speaker concludes, and i t i s the only thing he can conclude, that our knowledge of heauty i s depend-ent upon our condition of suffering on earth. The more we know of pain, the more r e a l for us i s immortal beauty and the greater i t s capacity to speak to us: to soothe our sad hearts as i t once did for Ruth, to charm the imagination, to t o l l us back to our sole selves, where the soul learns the value of mortal existence. The ode f i n i s h e s with a -question, the poet being unable to resolve whether his experience has been a v i s i o n or an i l l u s i o n . Keats could not have ended on a better note: declining to interpret, he throws the weight of the poem's meaning onto the encounter i t s e l f and what i s learned there, and thus demonstrates the value of wrestling with the mutable, the absurdity of longing for assumption into the eternal. The same c o n f l i c t between the eternal realm of beauty and the world of change and decay i s introduced into "Ode on a Grecian Urn," but i t s re s o l u t i o n i s of a much more complex nature. While the urn serves to reinforce the same truth as does the'nightingale's song, that i s , that t h i s world i n spite of i t s e v i l s i s good and exists to be experienced, i t s lesson hinges upon i t s essence as a r t . The urn i s a permanent symbol, not of eternal beauty, but of transient beauty eternalized, and thus the poet with his knowledge of the mutable i s able to enter to some extent into the beauty i t possesses, to i d e n t i f y with i t as he was unable to i d e n t i f y with the nightingale's song. At f i r s t he 103 views i t as superior to human l i f e : i t expresses i t s tale more sweetly than poetry, i t s unheard melodies are sweeter than music, i t s Spring can never fade, i t s love i s For ever warm and s t i l l to he enjoy'd, For ever panting, and for ever young; A l l breathing human passion f a r above, That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd, A burning forehead, and a parching tongue. But gradually he becomes convinced that i t i s lacking: i t s town i s desolate without a soul to t e l l why, i t s love that i s f or ever s t i l l to be enjoyed w i l l never know b l i s s , i t i s a Cold Pastoral. In the loveliness of a single moment that i t captures, the urn reveals the beauty i n l i f e that i s available to man. But the beauty can be appreciated only when one knows that i t i s a f l e e t i n g one, can be l i v e d only when one undergoes breathing human passion and the aftermath of love. The urn's message i s : 'Beauty i s truth, truth beauty -- that i s a l l Ye know on earth, and a l l ye need to know.' The urn exists as a f r i e n d to man i n two ways, i n what i t can show and i n what i t cannot: i t s f r i e z e i s a reminder of the beauty that exists i n the world, i n experience, and obviously i n art -- i t s beauty i s truth; and i n i t s cold silence i t teaches that for the beauty which i s truth to be experienced, one must be a sentient being, that one's mortal! i s an entrance into the world of the urn as well as into the world of pain and death. This second truth i s of another 104 kind of beauty, the beauty that comes i n accepting and l i v i n g i n the world of action, the P r i n c i p l e of Beauty that recognizes sorrow. Thus i s art able, i n what i t can portray and i n what i t cannot, to teach us a l l we need to know on earth. As i n "Psyche" Keats exposes i n "Ode on a Grecian Urn" the l i m i t a t i o n s of the Greek perception of l i f e i n i t s pastoral settings and- s a c r i f i c i a l r i t e s . Its happy innocence, while a t t r a c t i v e , does not address the e s s e n t i a l problems of man; i t neither envisions wasted generations nor offers solace or aid to the i n d i v i d u a l whose heart i s high-sorrowful and cloyed. By implying the contrast between the l i f e of the urn and his own age, while i n s i s t i n g upon the value of the urn as art object ( i t i s for ever a f r i e n d to man), Keats i s i n d i c a t i n g to his readers t h e i r need to recognize what art can teach and to grasp what knowledge they can i n t h e i r involvement with mortality. "Ode to a Nightingale" and "Ode on a Grecian Urn" are explorations of the human psyche i n i t s associations with nature and art; the necessity of a world of pains and troubles i s embodied i n the mythical representations of what nature and art teach us. I f one were to categorize Keats' myths according to S a l l u s t ' s s u b d i v i s i o n s , ^ 1 "Ode to a Nightingale" and "Ode on a'Grecian Urn" would q u a l i f y as physical — they j u s t i f y the "use of the world." There i s a concreteness to the antitheses which the poet introduces: the eternal i s sym-bolized i n the song of the nightingale and i n the urn, both 105 p h y s i c a l , both apprehended hy s p e c i f i c senses; the mutable world with i t s attendant e v i l s i s characterized i n both poems by references to physical pain and su f f e r i n g and death. The contraries, both of which exist i n the world, are brought into a harmony because of t h e i r combined a b i l i t y to a l t e r and f o r t i f y the soul. The s p i r i t u a l element of the myths i s to be found i n t h e i r description and endorsement of the cor-poreal world as i t i s . In the two myths that follow, Keats moves away from the physical towards the more abstract and theological species of myth. Properly speaking, the t h i r d stanza only of "Ode on Melancholy" q u a l i f i e s as myth. Preceding i t i s the prepara-t i o n for the apotheosis of the poet's own goddess, Melancholy: Keats begins by unseating the Greek deity Persephone, her connection with death rendering her unsuitable for the "wake-f u l anguish of the soul," the supreme r e l i g i o u s experience. The second stanza prescribes c e r t a i n r i t e s to be observed i n a n t i c i p a t i o n of the new goddess' entry. And then i n stanza III Keats introduces the myth: She dwells with Beauty -- Beauty that must die; And Joy, whose hand i s ever at his l i p s Bidding adieu; and aching Pleasure nigh, Turning to Poison while the bee-mouth sips: Ay, i n the very temple of delight V e i l ' d Melancholy has her sovran shrine, Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue Can burst Joy's grape against his palate f i n e ; His soul s h a l l taste the sadness of her might, And be among her cloudy trophies hung. io6 The mythic figure the poet creates rules over the vale of soul-making; i t i s she who embodies the knowledge which the soul must taste. The r e l i g i o u s import of the myth i s clear. I t s sub;-ject i s the a c t i v i t y of the soul i n the temple of delight, at the shrine of the goddess Veiled Melancholy. The contraries which dwell within the imagined temple no longer have the separate i d e n t i t i e s which they possessed i n the more physical myths "Nightingale" and "Grecian Urn," but beauty and death, pleasure and pain, joy and sorrow, good and e v i l are merged to the point that one element does not exist but that i t par t i c i p a t e s equally i n i t s a n t i t h e s i s : Beauty means death, Pleasure's nectar turns to Poison, delicious Joy i s the savour of sadness. The abstractions Keats uses (note the upper case for Beauty, Joy, Pleasure, Poison and of course Melancholy) emphasize the omnipresence of Melancholy i n her s p i r i t u a l l y symbolic r o l e , but the images with which he presents them are human: Melancholy and Beauty "dwell" together, Joy's hand i s at h i s l i p s bidding adieu, Pleasure sips a draught, Joy i s the t a s t i n g of a grape's i n t o x i c a t i n g flavour. The myth i s the i l l u s t r a t i o n of the truth that to a t t a i n knowledge of the gods, the human world of the senses must be v i t a l l y , fervently r e a l i z e d . It w i l l come only to him whose strenuous tongue Can: burst joy's grape against his palate f i n e . 107 That i s , only hy seizing experience and l i v i n g i t i n a l l i t s joy and sorrow w i l l our souls know wholeness, w i l l they achieve i d e n t i t y and h l i s s . That the soul's happiness i s hard-won i s recognized by Keats i n the f i n a l two l i n e s of the poem. In the spectral image of created souls hung as Melancholy's cloudy trophies, there i s a quiet pathos, as the poet takes account of the fact that, while l i f e mu'st be l i v e d intensely, i t s burdens are often heavy and seemingly i n t o l e r -able to bear, and that the soul's eternal b l i s s i s the knowl-edge of the might of pain and misery and heartbreak. Keats' displacement of the "ruby grape of Proserpine" which symbolizes death by Joy's grape which brings with i t the knowledge of sadness i s a mythic affirmation of the good-ness and value of l i f e i n i t s entirety. In his use of r e l i -gious, a l l e g o r i c a l symbolism, and of abstractions which unite the world of Beauty and the world of change, Keats creates i n "Melancholy" a completely modern psychic myth which represents the soul's way to salvation, not through r e s i g -nation to the world's e v i l s , but through t a s t i n g of t h e i r bittersweetness to the f i n a l drop. .. "Melancholy" i s the most overtly r e l i g i o u s of Keats' odes, and i t comes closest to defining the system of soul-making. Keats' myths have now moved from the very physical "Nightingale" to the more com-plex "Grecian Urn," to the r e l i g i o u s , psychic "Melancholy." The l a s t of the myths i s theological, of the highest order. "To Autumn" deals with essences. Even on i t s most prac-t i c a l l e v e l as poetry, Keats i s concerned with purity, with the 1 0 8 e s s e n t i a l English language that i s r e q u i s i t e for his modern English myth. To Reynolds he writes just before copying out the poem for him: How bea u t i f u l the season i s now -- How fine the a i r . A temperate sharpness about it-. Really, without joking, chaste weather -- Dian skies — I never l i k ' d stubble f i e l d s so much as now -- Aye better than the c h i l l y green of spring. Somehow a stubble p l a i n looks warm -- i n the same way that some pictures look warm -- ... I always somehow associate Chatterton with autumn. He i s the purest writer i n the English Language. He has no French idiom, or p a r t i c l e s l i k e Chaucer — ' t i s genuine English Idiom i n English Words. ... English ought to be kept.:up. (II, 1 6 7 ) The serenity of a r e l i g i o u s conviction which i s warm but unmarred by excess, the gently intruding pathos of the f u l -f i l l e d but dying year, the delicate poise of a i r , sky, f i e l d , and the purity of English idiom are here i n the l e t t e r as they are i n the ode. But the ode does not explain or judge, i t simply describes. And i n the description i s Keats' most powerful assertion of the goodness and beauty of t h i s world i n which change and death play so great a part. "To Autumn" absorbs i n one informing v i s i o n a l l the contraries, a l l the beauties and sorrows, the longings and regrets, the s a t i s f a c t i o n s and the pains that are f e l t by the heart i n i t s abiding i n the world. Its imagery i s one of pause and of opposites^ 2: Autumn's continuing l a s t warm days which the poem catches i n s t a s i s , replete to overabun-dance with f r u i t and flowers, imply the coming of the end, 109 of coldness and "barrenness and death. But the season i s complete, f u l f i l l e d , and thus she "with patient looks" watches the l a s t moments wrung out hours hy hours. There i s no hurry, no questioning, no physical pain i n the s o f t -dying day; the natural cycle of l i f e i s creative, and when i t i s r i c h l y blessed, almost burdened (loaded with f r u i t , bent with apples) i n i t s maturity, there i s a willingness to change perspective, to move from the transient, ripening and yet dying earth to the eternity of the sky, to leave the mournful wailing of the insects along the r i v e r , to j o i n the tremulous, almost f e a r f u l excitement of the swallows as they gather i n the skies. And yet, because l i f e i s so blessed with warm days and twined flowers, there i s a regret for what w i l l be l o s t . The poet must console the season: Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they? Think not of them, thou hast thy music too. --Innocence, greeness, youth give way to maturity, to knowledge, to a new, i f saddened music. The essence of the world, i t s pains and troubles and joys and pleasures which f e l t by the heart school and create a soul, the essence of the meaning of l i f e and the meaning of death are a l l comprehended i n Keats' apostrophe to the season. The poem i s e n t i r e l y symbolical.in i t s expression of these essences. For they are conveyed so l e l y by means of sense-imagery, t a c t i l e , visual,and aural. (The poem aff e c t s us aurally, not only i n the sound-imagery of the t h i r d stanza, 1 1 0 b u t i n t h e l e n g t h e n i n g o f t h e o d e - s t a n z a f o r m w h i c h , by-h o l d i n g back t h e c o m p l e t i o n o f t h e r r h y m e , adds t o t h e s e n s e o f p r o l o n g e d f u l f i l l m e n t i n h e r e n t i n t h e s e a s o n . ) K e a t s m a n i f e s t s so c l e a r l y i n t h i s n a t u r e - m y t h w h i c h i s c o m p l e t e l y c o n c r e t e , what i s r e a l i n t h e e x p e r i e n c e o f t h e w o r l d , a n d he d e m o n s t r a t e s t h a t t h e b e a u t y o f t h e r e a l i t y i s n o t m e r e l y s o m e t h i n g t o be a c c e p t e d , b u t t o be p a r t a k e n o f i n a l l i t s s e n s u a l p r o p e r t i e s . T h e o l o g i c a l myths a r e g e n e r a l l y f o r p h i l o s o p h e r s , a s s e r t s S a l l u s t , and i n t h i s myth w h i c h j u s t i f i e s i n s u c h a p r o f o u n d t h e o l o g i c a l s e n s e t h e m y s t e r y o f change and d e a t h , we have t h e s t a t e m e n t o f K e a t s ' c o m p l e t e p h i l o -sophy t h a t t h e p h y s i c a l w o r l d i s t h e b a s i s , t h e o r i g i n o f s p i r i t u a l k n o w l e d g e . E v e n w i t h o u t t h e A p r i l 2 1 r e c o r d o f s o u l - m a k i n g , we w o u l d know f r o m t h i s myth o f Autumn K e a t s ' t h e o l o g i c a l c e r t a i n t y o f t h e goodness o f t h e w o r l d , a n d how i t s goodness i n c o n t i n g e n t u p o n i t s e v i l s . K e a t s t r a n s f o r m s t h e Greek m y t h i c a l f i g u r e Autumn i n t o a f i g u r e o f t h e E n g l i s h c o u n t r y s i d e andmmakes h e r r e p r e -s e n t a t i v e o f e v e r y i n d i v i d u a l who must w i t n e s s t h e s o r r o w f u l movement f r o m l i f e t o d e a t h . She has n o t t h e powers o f t h e g o d d e s s M e l a n c h o l y ; r a t h e r , she i s a p r i e s t e s s l e a r n e d i n t h e d o c t r i n e t h a t M e l a n c h o l y d w e l l s w i t h d y i n g B e a u t y . The p u r i t y o f t h e myth embodying t h e p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n o f Autumn i s s u e s f r o m t h e poem's c o m p l e t e r e l i a n c e u p o n what n a t u r e t e a c h e s . T h e r e i s no a s s e r t i o n o r i n s i s t e n c e as i n " M e l a n -c h o l y " t h a t j o y i s t o be v i g o r o u s l y s e i z e d , no s p o k e n c o n -I l l s o l a t i o n as i n "Nightingale" and "Grecian Urn" f o r the pains accompanying existence. There i s only the v i s i o n of a c e r t a i n phase caught at a precise moment i n the process of nature. The s p i r i t u a l implications of the myth are l e f t for the reader to discover -- what i s to he found are the asser-tions and consolations of the other myths with a l l the added conviction and assurance that the supreme beauty of the poem accords. With the consummate expression of his theology i n "To Autumn" comes the end of Keats' mythologizing. He has now rendered into physical, psychic and theological myth his v i s i o n of the world and man's place i n i t ; he has succeeded i n r e v i t a l i z i n g myth i n the English language for the benefit of his countrymen. The measure of his accomplishment may be estimated i n the continuing a b i l i t y of the l y r i c s to explain and j u s t i f y the world, to seem a wording of man's highest thoughts. As Murry says, they hold sway over our souls. Our v i s i o n of r e a l i t y i s educated and r e f i n e d by these myths which, i n the magnificence of t h e i r poetry, represent for us the goodness of the world i n a l l i t s manifestations. The achievement of the odes i s the end of the long and arduous journey which the problem of e v i l sets Keats on i n March 1818. It leads him into the realm of philosophical enquiry, a dimension he would have been content to leave unvisited, but which his ambition to help the world by means of poetry and his personal need to reconcile the problem of pain to the P r i n c i p l e of Beauty dictate he must enter. He 112 enters as a poet and not a philosopher — while many sources contribute to Keats' metaphysics, i t i s the mythology of Plato's dialogue the Timaeus which Keats depends upon to help him wrestle with the problem of e v i l . Relying on i t s mythological, p o e t i c a l conception of creation to explain the world, Keats begins Hyperion; when the poem f a i l s , the poet returns to the dialogue, but rather than attempting to assimilate i t s mythology into poetry, he concentrates on the concept of soul as delineated by Timaeus and develops i t into his own theology. The vale of soul-making, evolved from the Platonic philosophy of the Timaeus, i s Keats' system of salvation which defines the esse n t i a l goodness of a world of pain and troubles. His mythological v i s i o n which has as i t s base t h i s system of s p i r i t - c r e a t i o n i s far"removed from the influence which gave r i s e to i t . The Platonism which i n s i s t s on the d i v i s i o n between corporeal and s p i r i t u a l realms i s rejected: Keats locates i n the physical world the mundane and the divine, and the path between them which i s experience. He recognizes his change of perspective i n a l e t t e r to Reynolds i n July: I have of late been moulting: not for fresh feathers & wings: they are gone, and i n t h e i r stead I hope I have a pair. of patient sublunary legs. I have altered, not from a Chrysalis into a bu t t e r f l y , but the Contrary. (II, 128) Gone i s the desire to create ethereal things: his sublunary legs root him and his poetry i n the physical world. 113 Keats' independent myth-making hegins with "La Belle Dame sans Merci" which, while i t has not the theolo-g i c a l assurance of the odes, nevertheless validates i n i t s heauty the world of suffering. But i t i s the odes "To a Nightingale," "Grecian Urn," "Melancholy," and "To Autumn" which hecome for Keats the myths which support his v i s i o n of soul-creation. Other poems written at t h i s time such as Lamia and The F a l l of Hyperion are explorations of d i f f e r e n t ideas, not attempts at myth-making. Keats reserves the ode, form to present disinterested mythical accounts of the truth that the i n d i v i d u a l "becomes knowledgeable of divine t r u t h i n the experience of the world as i t i s . Keats' journey which begins i n March 1818 i n the Mist of Maiden-Thought where he sees not the balance of good and e v i l ends i n A p r i l 1819• What he has learned can be seen i n the clear v i s i o n of "To Autumn" where the answer to the problem of e v i l i s given i t s purest expression, where the poet balances good and e v i l to such a refined point that the d i s t i n c t i o n between them i s almost imperceptible. 114 Notes The Cratylus, Phaedo, Parmenides and Timaeus of Plato, trans. Thomas Taylor (London: n.p., 1793)• A l l future references, to the Timaeus appear i n the text and are taken from The Works of Plato, v i z . His F i f t y 9 f i v e Dialogues,  and Twelve E p i s t l e s , trans. Thomas Taylor, 5 vols. (London: n.p., 1804). This e d i t i o n contains extensive notes hy Taylor; except for minor variants, mostly i n punctuation, the Intro-duction and Text of the dialogue are the same i n hoth editions. For instance, i n his l e t t e r of 24 March 1818, Keats appears to he r e c a l l i n g the Introduction to the Parmenides where Taylor writes: I t was the custom of Pythagoras ... to conceal divine mysteries under the v e i l of symhols and figures, ... to joke seriously, and sport i n earnest. Hence, i n the following most impor-tant dialogue, under the appearance of a c e r t a i n d i a l e c t i c sport, and as i t were l o g i c a l discussion, Plato has delivered a complete system of the profound and b e a u t i f u l theology of the Greeks. ( 2 4 7 , 1793 ed.) Keats, aft e r seriously discussing the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of r e s t i n g secure i n any of our thoughts without experiencing the need to explore further and learn more, j e s t i n g l y i n t r o -duces his "theory of Nettles." He then"goes on, the Devil put his whim into my head i n the likeness of one of Pythagora's questionings, Did Milton do more good or har/m/ to the world? (I, 2 5 4 - 5 5 ) The question i s one which was to tax him f o r some time --i t i s not a joke but an earnest query. It i s doubtful that Keats would have met with the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of Pythagoras' d i a l e c t i c from any source but Taylor. 3The Letters of John Keats 1 8 1 4 - 1 8 2 1 , ed. Hyder Edward R o l l i n s , 2 vols. (Cambridge: Univ. Press, 1 9 $ 8 ) , J v v r ^ i i ^ , - „ A 1 1 future references to the l e t t e r s of Keats appear i n the text. 115 ""For background to Keats and his contemporaries' the o l o g i c a l stances, see especially C L . Finney, "Keats's Philosophy of Negative Capability i n i t s Philosophical Back-ground," Vanderbilt Studies i n the Humanities, I ( 1 9 5 1 ) , 1 7 4 . 9 6 ; Robert M.. Ryan, Keats: The Religious Sense (Princeton: Univ. Press, 1976)5 Stuart M. Sperry, J r . , "Keats' Skepticism and V o l t a i r e , " KSJ, 1 2 ( 1 9 6 3 ) , 7 5 - 9 3 --^ The "moral sense philosophers," most notably the E a r l of Shaftesbury, Dr. Hutcheson and Bishop Butler, were C h r i s t i a n theologians who believed that the moral sense originates i n i n t u i t i o n , and that i t i s the i n t u i t i o n and not the i n t e l l e c t which recognizes the be a u t i f u l and the good. The i n t e l l e c t u a l and emotional contempt which Keats entertained f o r the C h r i s t i a n r e l i g i o n i s understandable given the state of the English Church i n his time: i n an e f f o r t not to lose any thing i n the tide of burgeoning rationalism, the Church had underplayed, forgotten or denied the mystical basis of i t s tenets and become a corrupt, spine-l e s s , power-hungry i n s t i t u t i o n which created i t s own opponents such as the Deists, the Methodists and the Evangelists. ^The Poems of John Keats, ed. Miriam A l l o t t (London: Longman, 1970). A l l future references to Keats' poems appear i n the text. Q C r i t i c s since Keats' time have been firm i n t h e i r insistence that Keats did not know Plato. The reasons for t h i s insistence are manifold, the two most prevalent being that as a poet of the ^sensuous," Keats could not and would not have tainted his exquisite perceptions with philosophy, and that as a man lacking a proper c l a s s i c a l education, he could not have read or understood the philosopher. Within the l a s t twenty years or so, p r i n c i p a l l y since the p u b l i c a t i o n of Bernard Blackstone's The Consecrated Urn (London-- Longman, Green, 1959) , i n which odd book the author argues for Keats' knowledge of the translated Plato, c r i t i c s have f e l t i t necessary to introduce the subject again and to i n s i s t anew that Keats could not possibly have known Plato. These arguments often seem to be at the expense of the c r i t i c s ' better judgements, and to speak against evidence which under-mines them. For instance, i n Walter E. Evert's Aesthetic  and Myth i n the Poetry of Keats (Princeton: Univ. Press, 1965) we f i n d , p. 77, the following: While I am by no means persuaded that Keats had anything l i k e the knowledge or interest i n those Hermetic systems derived from the Timaeus which are attributed to him by Bernard 116 B l a c k s t o n e . . . , he d o e s s e e m t o he h i n t i n g a t t h e m i n / E n d y m i o n , I I I , 30-40/. A n d i n S p e r r y ' s " K e a t s ' s S k e p t i c i s m , " p . 8 9 , t h e a u t h o r a r g u e s , o n c e a g a i n a g a i n s t B l a c k s t o n e , h u t a c k n o w l e d g e s t h a t . . " t h e r e i s - m o r e t h a n , a " h i n t o f t h i s k i n d - o f P l a t o n i s m / t h a t w h i c h i s f o u n d i n t h e T i m a e u s / i n K e a t s ' s t h e o r y o f how G o d m a k e s ' i n d i v i d u a l b e i n g s , S o u l s , I d e n t i c a l S o u l s o f t h e s p a r k s o f h i s own e s s e n c e , ' e a c h t o p o s s e s s a n i d e n t i t y o f i t s o w n . " ^ N o t e d b y A l l o t t i n T h e P o e m s : W o o d h o u s e ' s n o t e i n h i s c o p y o f E n d y m i o n r u n s : ' T h e p o e m , i f c o m p l e t e d , w o u l d h a v e t r e a t e d o f t h e d e t a c h m e n t o f H y p e r i o n , t h e f o r m e r G o d o f t h e . S u n , b y A p o l l o , — a n d i n c i d e n t a l l y o f t h o s e o f O c e a n u s b y N e p t u n e , o f S a t u r n b y J u p i t e r e t c . , a n d o f t h e w a r o f t h e G i a n t s f o r S a t u r n ' s r e e s t a b l i s h m e n t - - w i t h o t h e r e v e n t s , o f w h i c h we h a v e b u t v e r y d a r k h i n t s i n t h e m y t h o l o g i c a l p o e t s o f G r e e c e a n d R o m e . I n f a c t t h e i n c i d e n t s w o u l d h a v e b e e n p u r e c r e a t i o n s o f t h e P o e t ' s b r a i n . ' (44l) 1 0 E n g l a n d a t t h e t i m e was t e e m i n g w i t h m y t h o l o g i c a l i n v e s t i g a t i o n s , m y t h o l o g i c a l t h e o r i e s , m y t h o l o g i c a l l o r e . T h e o l o g i c a l a n d e u h e m e u r i s t i c c o n t r o v e r s i e s o f t e n f o u n d t h e i r o r i g i n s n o t o n l y i n t h e G r e e k m y t h s , b u t i n t h e m y t h o -l o g i e s o f s c o r e s o f c u l t u r e s a n d s e c t s . S p e c u l a t i v e m y t h o -l o g y a n d i l l u m i n i s t i c o r t h e o s o p h i c a l m y t h o g r a p h y , w h o s e a p p r o a c h e s t o t h e s u b j e c t o f m y t h w e r e b a s i c a l l y r a t i o n a l i s t i c o r s c i e n t i f i c , h a d l i t t l e i m m e d i a t e b e a r i n g o n t h e m a i n s t r e a m o f E n g l i s h m y t h o l o g i c a l p o e t r y . Y e t t h e y i n f u s e d a s p i r i t i n t o t h e w h o l e w o r l d o f m y t h w i t h t h e r e s u l t t h a t c l a s s i c a l m y t h u n d e r w e n t a d y n a m i c r e v i t a l i z a t i o n a s i t was made i n i t s v a r i o u s m a n i f e s t a t i o n s t o s u p p o r t m o d e r n h i s t o r i c a l , s c i e n t i f i c a n d r e l i g i o u s t h o u g h t . T h e a s s u m p t i o n u n d e r l y i n g t h e m y t h i c a l s p e c u l a t i o n s o f t h i s t i m e was t h a t m y t h h a d a v a l u e a n d p o w e r t h a t c o u l d a d d r e s s t h e m s e l v e s t o t h e m o d e r n m i n d , a n d I t was t h i s a s s u m p t i o n t h a t came t o a f f e c t t h e u s e o f m y t h o l o g y i n p o e t r y . M y t h was s e e n a s m o r e t h a n m e r e e i g h t e e n t h - c e n t u r y o r n a m e n t ; i t was o r c o u l d be t h e e x p r e s s i o n o f p r o f o u n d s o c i a l , p h i l o s o p h i c a l , r e l i g i o u s t r u t h s . T h e m o s t s p e c t a c u l a r e x a m p l e o f m y t h o l o g i c a l p o e t r y t o i s s u e o u t o f t h e new c o n c e r n w i t h m y t h i s B l a k e ' s , b u t W o r d s w o r t h , K e a t s , a n d S h e l l e y t o o w e r e a f f e c t e d . B e h i n d a l l t h e new i n t e r e s t i n m y t h - - w h e t h e r o r i g i n a t i n g i n a n e c c e n t r i c m y t h o g r a p h e r o r a g r e a t p o e t - - was i t s c a p a c i t y t o d e l i v e r u p m e t a p h y s i c a l , r e l i g i o u s t r u t h s . W h e t h e r a m y t h o g r a p h e r i s r e s e a r c h i n g D r u i d s t o n e s ( C h a r l e s V a l l a n c e y ) , s t u d y i n g t h e e v o l u t i o n o f p l a n t s ( E r a s m u s D a r w i n ) o r e v e n d e n y i n g t h e 117 v e r a c i t y o f Greek mythology ( C h a r l e s F r a n c o i s D u p u i s ) , h i s i n c e n t i v e i s i n essence a r e l i g i o u s one. B l a k e comes t o use myth almost p u r e l y as a r e l i g i o u s or p r o p h e t i c agency; and w h i l e other Romantic poets cont inue to use myth as an a e s t h e t i c mode i n the t r a d i t i o n of c l a s s i c a l and Renaissance p o e t s , they use i t to e x p l o r e and d e l i n e a t e t h e i r t h e o l o g i c a l concerns . I t i s d e l i g h t f u l to w i t n e s s Thomas T a y l o r ' s p r o t e s t a g a i n s t the mythographic. movement. I n h i s I n t r o d u c t i o n to the Timaeus, a f t e r o u t l i n i n g the "system of the w o r l d , " he w r i t e s : There i s n o t h i n g i n the a n c i e n t theology t h a t w i l l not appear admirably subl ime and b e a u t i f u l l y connected, accurate i n a l l i t s p a r t s , s c i e n t i f i c and d i v i n e . Such then b e i n g the t r u e account of the G r e c i a n t h e o l o g y , what o p i n i o n must we form of the wretched systems of modern m y t h o l o g i s t s ; and which most deserves our a d m i r a t i o n , the impudence or ignorance o f the authors of such systems? The systems indeed of these men are so monstrously a b s u r d , t h a t we may c o n s i d e r them as i n s t a n c e s of the g r e a t e s t d i s t o r t i o n of the r a t i o n a l f a c u l t y which can p o s s i b l y b e f a l l human n a t u r e , w h i l e connected w i t h such a body as the p r e s e n t . For one of these c o n s i d e r s the Gods as merely 'symbols of a g r i c u l t u r e , another as men who once l i v e d on the e a r t h , and a t h i r d as the p a t r i a r c h s and prophets o f the Jews. S u r e l y should these systems be t r a n s m i t t e d to p o s t e r i t y , the h i s t o r i a n by whom they are r e l a t e d must e i t h e r be c o n s i d e r e d by f u t u r e g e n e r a t i o n s as an i m p o s t e r , or h i s n a r r a t i o n must be viewed i n the l i g h t of an extravagant romance. (430) O f b o u r s e ? w h i l e Keats c o u l d be s t i m u l a t e d , provoked or amused by s p e c u l a t i v e mythology, i t was to the s u b s t a n t i a l P l a t o he t u r n e d f o r a i d i n h i s t h e o l o g i c a l q u e s t i o n i n g s . For background to s p e c u l a t i v e mythology and mytho--graphy, see: Edward B. Hungerford, Shores o f Darkness ( C l e v e l a n d : W o r l d , 1 9 6 3 ) ; A l b e r t J . Kuhn, " E n g l i s h Deism and the Development of Romantic M y t h o l o g i c a l S y n c r e t i s m , " PMLA, 7 1 ( 1 9 5 6 ) , 1 0 9 4 - 1 1 6 ; A l e x Z w e r d l i n g , "The Mythographers and the Romantic R e v i v a l of Greek M y t h , " PMLA, 7 9 ( 1 9 6 4 ) , 4 4 7 - 5 6 . Hungerford i n Shores of Darkness i n v e s t i g a t e s many o f K e a t s ' mythographic sources and argues p e r s u a s i v e l y t h a t Keats had t h i s p l o t i n mind. There seems to be some c o n f u s i o n 118 i n his e n l i s t i n g the figure of Moneta to support his theory (pp. 148-49), since Moneta (who assumes the r o l e of Mnemosyne) appears only i n The F a l l of Hyperion, but otherwise the reasoning i s sound and convincing. The idea gathers force, too, when considered i n l i g h t of the influence of the Timaeus and the emphasis the dialogue places on the r o l e of generation, the continual movement of the world towards perfection. 12 This i s most p a r t i c u l a r l y to be remarked m his discourse on vice. On the one hand, he wishes to attribute i t not to the v o l i t i o n of the i n d i v i d u a l : "For no one i s v o l u n t a r i l y bad: but he who i s depraved becomes so through a c e r t a i n i l l habit of the body, and an u n s k i l f u l education" ( 5 6 3 ) ; on the other hand, he cannot but admit an " i n c l i n a t i o n to e v i l " to ex i s t i n some men for which they w i l l suffer punishment i n l a t e r l i v e s by passing into the nature of a woman or the l i f e of a brute ( 5 1 0 ) . The presence of e v i l presents another problem for t h i s philosopher, as w i l l be noted l a t e r i n the text. 13 ^Sensible that the speculation i s impossible to prove one way or the other, I nevertheless f i n d myself wondering whether the March of I n t e l l e c t did not come from the Platonic conception of progress delivered i n the Timaeus; i t c e r t a i n l y i s not linked to Godwinian p e r f e c t i b i l i t y which Keats abhorred. Keats says i n the 3 May 1818 l e t t e r , "It proves there i s r e a l l y a grand march of i n t e l l e c t , " as though he i s f i n a l l y admitting to an idea t e n t a t i v e l y raised beforehand but not yet acquiesced i n by him. He confesses that he may have read somewhere the ideas he has been discussing, but he "never had even a dim perception of them" at the time of reading. As well, the example he introduces, that "no man can set down Venery as a b e s t i a l or joyless t h i n g - u n t i l he i s sick of i t and therefore a l l philosophizing on i t would be mere wording. U n t i l we are sick, we understand not" to support his statement that "axioms i n philosophy are not axioms u n t i l they are proved upon our pulses" could perhaps have been suggested by Timaeus 1 philosophizing that " i n r e a l i t y venereal intemperance for the most part becomes a disease of the soul, through a habit of /body with which i t i s connected/." (Keats would be very l i k e l y , a f t e r his medical t r a i n i n g , to remember the discussion of diseases.) The conjecture that Keats had the Timaeus i n mind on May 3rd i s pure conjecture; i f i t has any basis, i t would make the already- noticeable l i n k between — the reading of the dialogue — the formulations of the Mansion and March of I n t e l l e c t -- the writing of Hyperion -- that much stronger. Keats makes his Titans an improvement upon t h e i r 119 parents Heaven and Earth to stress the greater good which comes i n the process of generation. 1 ^ I t was Blackstone i n The Consecrated Urn who f i r s t pointed out t h i s hierarchy, pp. 2 3 1 - 3 2 . "^"The composing a r t i f i c e r constituted generation and the universe ... r e c e i v i n g every thing v i s i b l e , and which was not i n a state of r e s t , but moving with confusion and disorder, he reduced i t from t h i s wild inordination into order" (Timaeus, 4 7 7 - 7 8 ) . l.VAt the same time he who orderly disposed a l l these p a r t i c u l a r s remained i n his ©wn accustomed abiding habit" (Timaeus, 5 1 2 ) . "He fabricated the generation of days and nights and months and years, which had no subsistence p r i o r to the universe, but which together with i t rose into existence" (Timaeus, 4 9 3 ) • Walter Jackson Bate and Douglas Bush, two of the most i n f l u e n t i a l c r i t i c s of Keats, lead the way i n e s t a b l i s h i n t h i s error. Bate, i n John Keats (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1963), says, "the 'sky-engendered' but 'earth-born' Titans are losing t h e i r godhead pa r t l y by t h e i r own surrender to fear, wrath and f r u s t r a t i o n , " p. 397* Bush, i n Mythology and the Romantic T r a d i t i o n i n English Poetry (Cam-bridge , Mass: Harvard Univ. Press, 1937), writes, "The Titans however benign and beneficent, had i n a c r i s i s behaved not l i k e d e i t i e s but l i k e f r a i l mortals; they had l o s t sovereignty over themselves," p. 124. -| Q The hierarchy of the many forms of the elements i s most succinctly given i n the Introduction where Taylor trans?-, lates Proclus: I f , therefore, you take away from hence that which i s immaterial and immutable, you w i l l produce that which i s mutable and material. ... I f , therefore, you take away t h i s order, you w i l l behold the great con-fusion and inconstancy of the elements; and t h i s w i l l be the l a s t progression, and the very dregs and sediment of a l l the p r i o r gradations of the elements. Of the elements, therefore, some are immovable, imparticipable, i n t e l l e c t u a l and demiurgic; but the others are i n t e l l e c t u a l and immovable according to essence, but 120 p a r t i c i p a t e d by mundane n a t u r e s . O t h e r s a g a i n a r e s e l f - m o t i v e , a n d e s s e n t i a l l y l i v e s ; b u t o t h e r s a r e s e l f - m o t i v e and v i t a l , b u t a r e n o t l i v e s . Some a g a i n a r e a l t e r - m o t i v e , o r moved by a n o t h e r , b u t a r e moved i n a n o r d e r l y manner; a n d , l a s t l y , o t h e r s have a d i s o r d e r e d , t u m u l t u o u s , and c o n f u s e d e x i s t e n c e . ( 4 2 4 ) 19 7 T h e Timaeus o f c o u r s e p r e s e n t s a n e x t r e m e l y l o n g and d e t a i l e d a n a l y s i s o f t h e a c t i v i t y o f t h e e l e m e n t s as t h e y i n t e r m i n g l e , p a s s i n and o u t o f e a c h o t h e r , c r e a t e v a r i o u s s u b s t a n c e s , e t c . ( 5 2 0 - 4 2 e s p e c i a l l y ) . S a t u r n ' s words b e a r some r e s e m b l a n c e t o t h e f o l l o w i n g two e x t r a c t s , p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t h e s e n s e o f t h e e l e m e n t s " i n t e r - q u a r r e l i n g " and " l o u d w a r r i n g ; " b o t h S a t u r n and Timaeus a r e c l o s e t o p e r s o n i f y i n g i n t h e same way t h e e l e m e n t s by a t t r i b u t i n g v o l i t i o n t o t h e m : When t h e l e s s e r a r e comprehended i n t h e g r e a t e r many, a n d t h e few b e i n g l a c e r a t e d a r e e x t i n g u i s h e d , — i f t h e y a r e w i l l i n g t o p a s s i n t o t h e i d e a o f t h e c o n q u e r i n g n a t u r e , t h e y c e a s e t o be e x t i n g u i s h e d , a n d a i r becomes g e n e r a t e d f r o m f i r e , a n d w a t e r f r o m a i r . B u t i f , when t h i s t r a n s i t i o n i s a c c o m p l i s h e d , t h e c o m p o s i t e o p p o s e s any o f t h e o t h e r s p e c i e s , t h e a g i t a t e d p a r t s w i l l n o t c e a s e t o be d i s s o l v e d , t i l l , o n a c c o u n t o f t h e i r d i s s o l u b l e s u b s i s t e n c e b e i n g e v e r y way i m p e l l e d , t h e y f l y t o t h e i r k i n d r e d n a t u r e ; o r b e i n g v a n q u i s h e d , and b e c o m i n g one f r o m many, s i m i l a r t o t h e i r v a n q u i s h e r , t h e y a b i d e w i t h t h e v i c t o r i n a m i c a b l e c o n j u n c t i o n ( T i m a e u s , 5 3 0 ) . B u t e a r t h , when i n d i s s o l u b l y a s s o c i a t e d w i t h w a t e r , t h r o u g h t h e m i n i s t r y o f a i r composes s t o n e s : t h e more b e a u t i f u l s o r t i n d e e d b e i n g s u c h as a r e r e s p l e n d e n t f r o m e q u a l a n d p l a n e p a r t s , b u t t h e d e f o r m e d b e i n g o f a c o n t r a r y c o m p o s i t i o n . B u t when t h e m o i s t u r e i s h u r r i e d away by t h e v i o l e n c e o f f i r e , and t h e body by t h i s means becomes more d r y , t h e n a s p e c i e s o f e a r t h w h i c h i s d e n o m i n a t e d f i c t i l e i s p r o d u c e d . S o m e t i m e s , l i k e w i s e , when t h e m o i s t u r e i s l e f t b e h i n d , and t h e e a r t h becomes f u s i l e t h r o u g h f i r e , t h e n t h r o u g h r e f r i g e r a t i o n a s t o n e w i t h a b l a c k c o l o u r i s g e n e r a t e d . B u t when t h i s s p e c i e s o f s t r a i n e d e a r t h i n a s i m i l a r manner t h r o u g h m i x t u r e i s d e p r i v e d o f much m o i s t u r e , b u t i s 121 composed from more attenuated parts of earth, i s s a l t and semiconcrete, and again emerges through water; then i t i s p a r t l y c a l l e d n i t r e , a cathartic kind of o i l ... (Timaeus, 5 3*0 20 B. Jowett, trans., The Dialogues of Plato, with  Analyses and Introductions, 4 t h ed. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1 9 5 3 ) . PP- 147-48. 21 In f a c t , as has been frequently noted, the presence of Wordsworth seems to overshadow that of Keats here. Keats e a r l i e r saw Wordsworth's genius as explorative of the dark passages beyond Maiden Thought, and Hyperion, as a quest i t s e l f , seems at least i n part to be following the older poet's lead. How happy would Keats have been had that lead taken him to a philosophical stance he could " f e e l on the pulses." Wordsworth perceives- i n the fixed forms of nature e t h i c a l guidelines. From the laws he sees working i n the universe he forms, much as Oceanus does, an idea of duty, of standards of conduct: a n a t u r a l i s t i c dogma. Keats admired Wordsworth's concern for humanity, the fact that he made the human heart the main region of his song. He i s attracted to the Wordsworth of "Tintern Abbey," the poet who understands the Second Chamber where the Burden of the Mystery hangs upon the beatings of" the heart, where the tr u t h of sorrow i s f e l t i n the blood. It i s Wordsworth's acute comprehension of the human heart perhaps that encourages Keats at least momentarily to adopt his e t h i c a l standards. They are short-lived. 22 E. de Selincourt, ed., The Poems of John Keats (London: Methuen, 1905; rpt. 1954), p. l x v i i . 2 3 . -'In Leigh Hunt as Poet and Essayist, ed. Charles Kent (London! Frederick Warne, I 8 9 I ) , p. 149. 24 The imitation of Milton's Paradise Lost would seem to have more significance than merely the s t y l i s t i c ones of rhythm, rhetoric and p l o t . Keats was too s o l i d a poet by t h i s time to be weakly depending upon another poet, even Milton, to such a degree: by c l o s e l y p a r a l l e l i n g the events, characters, speeches and book d i v i s i o n s of Hyperion to those of the e a r l i e r epic, Keats knew the comparison between the poems would be imperative, and would c l e a r l y point out and contrast the C h r i s t i a n structure of Milton's thought with the Greek, Platonic structure of his own. In "improving" upon Milton, Keats would not only be securing his own place i n the march of poets, but would be r i g h t i n g the wrongs of his predecessor. The Platonic theology as l a i d out i n the Timaeus 122 and embodied i n Greek myth, with i t s n a t u r a l i s t i c bias and i t s mysticism, could give a s p i r i t u a l relevance to the truths of d a i l y existence, a relevance which C h r i s t i a n i t y , Keats thought, singularly f a i l e d to furnish. The value of closely studying the craftsmanship of the seventeenth-century poet i s not to be underrated, however: Keats p r o f i t e d immensely from i t , as nothing can be more exquisite than those passages of Hyperion that capture the grandeur of Miltpnic cadence and idiom. OK ^As Douglas Bush comments m Mythology and the Roman- t i c T r a d i tion , "Keats' poetry does not p r e c i s e l y divide sensuous and s p i r i t u a l experience," p. 8 5 . While i t i s not within the scope of t h i s paper to consider the formal elements of Keats' poetry, i t i s never-theless necessary at least to mention how Keats' use of symbol, image and analogy underlie the myth that he i s presenting. His use of the elements to p a r a l l e l the action of the poem has been noted; i t i s an instance of a f a i r l y standard use of imagery to r e f l e c t the psychological, s p i r i t u a l state of the characters. The more complex success of image and symbol i s more d i f f i c u l t to characterize because i t s expression is^ the poetry, and l i k e the " i n t e l l e c t u a l counte-nance" of nature at i t s most bea u t i f u l , i t absorbs us u n t i l we are beings 'almost suspended' i n the contemplation of i t . I f the deep truth i s imageless, Keats shows us that i t can at least be cl o s e l y approximated through image. Keats i s at his best when he achieves a "hushing awe," what one might l a b e l a " f e l t r e a l i t y , " where material and s p i r i t u a l , emotional and i n t e l l e c t u a l are gathered into one image, and that image becomes symbolic of a l l the various le v e l s of meaning i t controls as well as of the truth of the p a r t i c u l a r physical representation. For instance, i n the opening verse paragraph of the poem, the solemn reaction of nature to the desolation of Saturn i s caught i n the images of darkness, silence and death as well as i n the cadence and melody of the verse, but i t i s then concentrated to a point so refined that i t leaves us almost breathless: the Naiad 'mid her reeds Press'd her cold finger closer to her l i p s . In the simple action portrayed i n the image of the Naiad, Keats not only shows us another l e v e l of the earth's p a r t i c i -pation i n the dejection of the king (that i s , not only inanimate nature but l i v i n g creatures too respond to i t ) , but he captures i n i t the quintessential delicacy, the purity and the reverence of sympathy that must be f e l t for and by the f a l l e n Titans. No i n t e r p r e t a t i o n could possibly say more than i s expressed i n the exquisite loveliness of the water-nymph's s l i g h t e s t of movements. The quietness, depth of emotion and power of implication of such an image are a l l part 123 of the sense of i d e n t i f i c a t i o n , of analogy, of s p i r i t u a l awareness that poetry can communicate. Keats i s a master at evoking possible meanings of a single word or image. Saturn's "realmless eyes," the " t a l l oaks branch-charm'd," Clymene sobbing among her tangled hair, Hyperion's palace flu s h i n g angerly, the "savour of poisonous brass and metal sick" which Hyperion tastes -- a l l share i n the a b i l i t y to suggest the physical f a c t , the psychological import, the s p i r i t u a l s i g n i f i c a n c e . Another example of the capacity of quiet beauty to suggest so much i s i n the verses which follow the speech of Coelus near the end of Book I: Ere h a l f t h i s region-whisper had come down, Hyperion arose, and on the stars L i f t e d his curved l i d s , and kept them wide U n t i l i t ceas'd; and s t i l l he kept them wide: And s t i l l they were the same bright, patient stars. The passage reaffirms Hyperion's helplessness; his i n a b i l i t y to make the day begin i s another instance of the powerless-ness he has i n the face of the stars. But the quality of the recorded moment i s i n the absolute beauty of s i l e n t pain: whether addressed or not, Hyperion keeps his eyes upon the stars (and the prolongation of the time i s enforced by the r e p e t i t i o n ) , and the stars remain the same: however bright and patient, however sympathetic, they are eternal and his looking at them as a god i s temporal; and i n the quiet recog-n i t i o n of the difference between them i s the suffering. One could go on at great length extracting passages from the poem which reveal Keats' keen awareness of and a b i l i t y to exploit the powereof symbolic language to show truth i n a l l i t s corresponding l e v e l s of thought and f e e l i n g . The symbolism of Hyperion points forward to his l a t e r mytho-l o g i z i n g where one image not only c a l l s up le v e l s of r e a l i t y which correspond to each other, but where two apparently c o n f l i c t i n g truths or r e a l i t i e s are coalesced through the harmony of expression to present a truth f a r greater than either of i t s component parts. 26 The v i s i o n of 'this i s l i f e and i s also corporeal' and the pleasure and pain of love i n "La Belle Dame sans Merci" i s supported by Taylor's commentary: After sense, Plato arranges desire. And th i s indeed i s l i f e , and i s also corporeal; but i t i s a l i f e which perpetually unweaves the body, and affords a solace to i t s wants. ... He also denominates love a mixture of pleasure and pain. For, so far as i t i s conversant with the lovely, i t i s present with pleasure, but, so f a r as i t i s not yet present with i t i n energy, i t i s mingled with pain. (509) 124 ^As, f o r instance, do E a r l R. Wasserman and Charles I. Patterson, J r . respecively i n The Finer Tone (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press., 1953) and The Daemonic i n the Poetry of  John Keats (Chicago: Univ. of I l l i n o i s Press, 1 9 7 0 ) . O Q Keats' system, as he would he the f i r s t to admit, i s not so very o r i g i n a l (although the a l l e g o r i z i n g of i t i s ) , nor so s t r i k i n g l y d i f f e r e n t from C h r i s t i a n i t y . The Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England, for example, recognize the existence of saints and angels which correspond quite r e a d i l y to heroic and mediating personages. As well, Catholicism, as much as i t stresses the importance of redemp-ti o n , also emphasizes the need to suffer i n order to gain aho l i f e of the s p i r i t and the kingdom of God..— i t i s t h i s aspect of the Divine Comedy of the Roman Catholic Dante perhaps that at t r a c t s Keats and induces him to cast his F a l l  of Hyperion as a Dantean dream allegory. 2 ^ I do not include the "Ode on Indolence" which was conceived before the vale of soul-making (Letters, I I , 7 9 ) . which i s almost purely autobiographical, and which, as Bate says, " i s far below the standard of the other odes." •^°Keats and Shakespeare (London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1 9 2 9 ) , p. 9 2 . 31 ^ As Kathleen Rame notes i n Thomas Taylor the Platon- i s t (Princeton: Univ. Press, 1969) '• /Taylor/ translated S a l l u s f s On the Gods  and the World, and included a passage from that work i n his Dissertation that may, for those "mythological poets," Keats, Shelley, Blake, and Coleridge, have been a Key placed i n t h e i r hands to the whole body of European mythological poetry; nor was i t only c l a s s i c a l l i t e r a t u r e upon which t h i s i l l u m i n a t i o n must have f a l l e n , but also upon Spenser and Milton, the two poets to whom the Romantics c h i e f l y turned. S a l l u s f s d i s t i n c t i o n of the four kinds of myth, the theological, the animas-t i c (which would now be c a l l e d the psycholo-g i c a l , applying to the soul or anima), the natural, and the "mixed" i s the key to the correct reading not only of Greek mythology but of a l l mythological poets since. (p. 43) .Whether, Keats was acquainted with the Di s s e r t a t i o n or not, i s myths c e r t a i n l y can be read i n terms of S a l l u s f s d i s t i n c t i o n s . For a t r a n s l a t i o n of S a l l u s f s "species of 125 myths" more r e a d i l y available than Taylor's, see John Mac-Queen, Allegory (London: Methuen, 1 9 7 0 ) , pp. 14-17. 32 J In a very fine a r t i c l e , "A Note on 'To Autumn,'" i n John Keats: A Reassessment, ed. Kenneth Muir (Liverpool: Univ"! Press, 1969) , PP • 9 6 - 1 0 2, Arnold Davenport deals meticulously and imaginatively with the imagery of the poem to show that i t s "central element i s a boundary, a space between two opposite conditions, a moment of poise." 126 Bibliography Primary Sources Keats, John. The Letters of John Keats 1814-1821. Ed. Hyder Edward R o l l i n s . 2 vols. Cambridge: Univ. Press, 1958. The Poems of John Keats. Ed. Miriam A l l o t t . London: Longman, 1 9 7 0 . — . The Poems of John Keats. Ed. E. de Selincourt. London: Methuen, 1905; r p t . 1954. The P o e t i c a l Works of John Keats. Ed. H.W. Garrod. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1 9 5 8 . Taylor, Thomas, trans. The Cratylus, Phaedo, Parmenides and Timaeus of Plato. With Notes on the Cratylus,  and an Explanatory Introduction to Each Dialogue. London: n.p., 1793-, Thomas Taylor the P l a t o n i s t . Ed. Kathleen Raine and George M i l l s Harper. Princeton: Univ. Press, 1969. , trans. The Works of Plato, v i z . His F i f t y - f i v e Dialogues, and Twelve E p i s t l e s , Translated  from the Greek; Nine of the Dialogues by the  late Floyer Sydenham, and the Remainder by  Thomas Taylor: with Occasional Annotations on  the Nine Dialogues Translated by Sydenham, and  Copious Notes, by the Latter Translator; i n  Which i s Given the Substance of Nearly A l l the  ^Existing Greek MS Commentaries on the Philosophy  of Plato, and a Considerable Portion of Such as  Are Already Published. 5 vols. London: n.p., 1 8 0 4 . 127 Secondary Sources Abrams, M.H. The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory  and the C r i t i c a l T r a d i t i o n . New York: Oxford Univ. Press, 1953 . A l l o t t , Kenneth. "Keats's 'Ode to Psyche.'" In John  Keats: A Reassessment. Ed. Kenneth Muir. Liverpool: Univ. Press, 1 9 6 9 , pp. 7 5 - 9 5 • Anderson, Norman Arthur. "Bard i n Fealty: Keats' Use of C l a s s i c a l Mythology." DA, 2 2 ( 1 9 6 2 ) , 365^-55 (Wisconsin). Bate, Walter Jackson. John Keats. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1 9 6 3 . The S t y l i s t i c Development of Keats. New York: Humanities Press, 1 9 5 8 . Beach, Joseph Warren. The Concept of Nature i n Nineteenth- Century English Poetry. New York: Russell & Russell, 1936. Blackstone, Bernard. The Consecrated Urn: An Interpretation  of Keats i n Terms of Growth and Form. London: Longmans, Green, 1959* Bush, Douglas. Mythology and the Romantic T r a d i t i o n i n  English Poetry. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1937-Davenport, Arnold. "A Note on 'To Autumn..'," In John Keats: A Reassessment. Ed. Kenneth Muir. Liverpool: Univ. Press, 1969, pp. 9 6 - 1 0 2 . Davies, Edward. C e l t i c Researches on the Origin, Traditions  and Language of the Ancient Britons. London: n.p., 1 8 0 4 . Evans, William R. "Mythology as Re l i g i o n i n Keats' Poetry." DAI, 3 2 ( 1 9 7 2 ) , 426A (Columbia). Evert, Walter H. Aesthetic and Myth i n the Poetry of Keats. Princeton: Univ. Press, 1 9 6 5 . Feder, L i l l i a n . Ancient Myth i n Modern Poetry. Princeton: 128 Univ. Press, 1971 . Feldman, Burton and Robert D. Richardson, ed. and comp. The Rise of Modern Mythology 1 6 8 0 - 1 8 6 0 . Blooming-ton, Ind.: Indiana Univ. Press, 1 9 7 2 . Finney, C.L. "Keats's Philosophy of Negative Capability i n i t s Philosophical Background." Vanderbilt Studies i n the Humanities, 1 ( 1 9 5 1 ) . 174-96. Fogle, Richard H. The Imagery of Keats and Shelley: A  Comparative Study. Chapel H i l l : Univ. of North Carolina Press, 1949. Ford, N.F. "Endymion -- a Neo-Platonic Allegory?" ELH, 14 ( 1 9 4 7 ) , 64-76. Gerard, Albert. "Romance and Real i t y : Continuity and Growth i n Keats's View of Art." KSJ, 1 1 ( 1 9 6 2 ) , 1 7 - 2 9 . Halgard, Marynola Novotny. "Keats the Mythmaker." DAI, 3 6 ( 1 9 7 6 ) , 8 0 7 4 A (Nebraska). Hungerford, Edward B. Shores of Darkness. Cleveland: World, 1963-Hunt, Leigh. " S p i r i t of Ancient Mythology." In Leigh Hunt  as Poet and Essayist, Being the Choicest Passages  from his Works. Ed. Charles Kent. London: Frederick Warne, I f 9 1 , pp. 148-49-, Jones, L.M. "'The Ode to Psyche': An A l l e g o r i c a l Intro-duction to Keats's Great Odes." KSMB, 9 ( 1 9 5 8 ) , 2 2 - 2 6 . Jowett, B-. , trans. The Dialogues of Plato, with Analyses  and Introductions. 4 vols. 4 t h ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1953-Kappel, Andrew J . "The Immortality of the Natural: Keats' 'Ode to a Nightingale.'" ELH, 4 5 ( 1 9 7 8 ) , 270-84. Kuhn, Albert J . "English Deism and the Development of Romantic Mythological Syncretism." PMLA, 7 1 ( 1 9 5 6 ) , 1 0 9 4 - 1 1 6 . MacQueen, John. Allegory. The C r i t i c a l Idiom. Ed. John D. Jump. London: Methuen, 1 9 7 0 . Murry, John Middleton. Keats and Shakespeare. London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1929. 129 O'Neill, Judith, ed. C r i t i c s on Keats. London: George A l l e n and Unwind 1967. Patterson, Charles I., J r . The Daemonic, i n the Poetry of John Keats. Chicago: Univ. of I l l i n o i s Press, 1970. Reid, B.L. "Keats and the Heart's Hornbook." MR 2 ( 1 9 6 1 ) , 4 7 2 - 9 5 . Ridley, M.R. Keats' Craftsmanship: A Study i n Poetic  Development. London: Methuen, 1964. R o l l i n s , Hyder Edward, ed. The Keats C i r c l e : Letters and  Papers and More Letters and Poems of the Keats  C i r c l e . 2 vols. 2nd ed. Cambridge, Mass.: Har-vard Univ. Press., 1965 . Ruthven, K.K. Myth. The C r i t i c a l Idiom. Ed. John D. Jump. London: Methuen, 1976. Ryan, Robert M. Keats: The Religious Sense. Princeton: Univ. Press, 1976. Sherwood, Margaret. Undercurrents of Influence i n English  Romantic Poetry. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1934. Southam, B.C. "The Ode 'To Autumn.*" KSJ, 9 ( 1 9 6 0 ) , 9 1 - 9 8 . Sperry, Stuart M., J r . "Keats 1s Skepticism and V o l t a i r e . " KSJ, 1 2 ( 1 9 6 3 ) , 7 5 - 9 3 -S t i l l i n g e r , Jack, ed. Twentieth-Century Interpretations of  Keats's Odes: A C o l l e c t i o n of C r i t i c a l Essays. Englewood C l i f f s , N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1968. Strauss, Walter A. Descent and Return: The Orphic Theme  i n Modern Liter a t u r e. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard Univ. Press, 1 9 7 1 . ' Wasserman, E a r l R. The Finer Tone: Keats's Major Poems. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins-Univ. Press, 1 9 5 3 . "Keats and Benjamin Bailey on the Imagination." MLH, 6 8 ( 1 9 5 3 ) , 3 6 1 - 6 5 . Zwerdling, Alex. "The Mythographers and the Romantic Revival of Greek Myth." PMLA, 7 9 ( 1 9 6 4 ) , 4 4 7 - 5 6 . 

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