Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Which Keats' Poem? Not "On Seeing the Elgin..." but...

The British Museum label identifies "Ode on a Grecian Urn"; in particular,
Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar, O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?

But he must have been inspired by multiple objects: not only the Grecian Urn, but paintings by Claude Lorrain and Raphael which were on display at the British Museum in 1819. And the poem "On Seeing the Elgin Marbles" doesn't at first glance make reference to the Elgin Marbles at all!

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