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Thou still unravished bride of quietness,
Thou foster child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loath?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal - yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearied,
For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

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?
What little town by river of sea shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be, and not a soul to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.

O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede
of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity:Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,' - that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know
.

- John Keats

In the same format as the original poem by John Keats, here is one I wrote about an urn depicting Hercules' twelfth task of defeating the multi-headed monster Cerberus (I realize the iambic pentameter isn't perfect):

(Node your homework!)


Conveyor to the present of the past,
Mute time capsule of human truths untold,
Your story more glorious than can be
Expressed in the unworthy verses here:
Of what ferocious battle do you tell?
What frozen fight between two mythic foes?
What warrior’s strength undaunted in these depths ?
What dark ferocity was overcome?
What evil never ending lies? What fear
Drives this death-fleeing hare as it leaps on?

O warrior, applause not yet received,
Yet victory deserved you have just won,
Forever will you be at glory’s height,
Beast still subdued by your own mighty hands,
Your final task all but completed now,
Although none thought completion possible.
O monster, shame be felt for evermore;
Three biting heads and hissing snakes could not
Defeat the fur-clothed hero from above,
As armored troops cannot defeat the gods.

O Time, while ending even wisest men,
You fade not beauty’s work from ancient days;
Suspended hero’s triumph will remain
With monster’s shame on urn forever shown
In painted hues of yellow, brown and red
Drawn on by hands of those who are no more.
Your message, O great urn, will ever tell
This truth to those who gaze upon your form:
From only challenge does achievement come,
From only facing demons are goals won.

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