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Thread: Your help needed II: lines from Lamia of Keats

  1. #1
    Chinese Poetry zowie86's Avatar
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    Question Your help needed II: lines from Lamia of Keats

    "Real are the dreams of Gods, and smoothly pass
    Their pleasures in a long immortal dream."

    -- Lamia(John Keats)


    Can anyone kindly explain the two lines for me?



    quoted from:
    Then, once again, the charmed God began
    An oath, and through the serpent's ears it ran
    Warm, tremulous, devout, psalterian.
    Ravish'd she lifted her Circean head,
    Blush'd a live damask, and swift-lisping said,
    " I was a woman, let me have once more
    A woman's shape, and charming as before.
    I love a youth of Corinth the bliss!
    Give me my woman's form, and place me

    where he is.
    Stoop, Hermes, let me breathe upon thy brow,
    And thou shalt see thy sweet nymph even now."
    The God on half-shut feathers sank serene,
    She breath'd upon his eyes, and swift was seen
    Of both the guarded nymph near-smiling on

    the screen.
    It was no dream ; or say a dream it was,
    Real are the dreams of Gods, and smoothly pass
    Their pleasures in a long immortal dream.

    One warm, flush'd moment, hovering, it might

    seem
    Dash'd by the wood-nymph's beauty, so he

    burn'd;
    Then, lighting on the printless verdure, turn'd
    .

    A teacher from China interested in the English translation of classical Chinese poetry.

  2. #2
    It is a very nice line. I suppose you could say that:

    Gods whims/dreams are real, because they live their lives in immortal pleasure.

    You know, they spend their lives living like a dream because they are the Gods they can do whatever they want! Is that the sort of thing you were after? Are you translating the poem into Chinese then or are you just reading/studying?

  3. #3
    Chinese Poetry zowie86's Avatar
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    Neely, thank you for your reply.
    I just came across the quoted lines somewhere, and found the excerpt on the Internet.

    Sorry that I was not clear at first.

    The meaning is clear to me. What I'd like to know is why Lamia said the above lines.
    Does Keats suggest that the dream of Lamia is transcient, not like those of Gods', and that she would, some day, be changed back into a serpent?

    thanks
    Last edited by zowie86; 08-06-2009 at 09:05 PM.
    .

    A teacher from China interested in the English translation of classical Chinese poetry.

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