Endymion: A Poetic Romance

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Author: John Keats  | Date: 1817

PREFACE

"The stretched metre of an antique song"

INSCRIBED TO THE MEMORY OF THOMAS CHATTERTON

KNOWING within myself the manner in which this Poem has been produced, it is not without a feeling of regret that I make it public.

What manner I mean, will be quite clear to the reader, who must soon perceive great inexperience, immaturity, and every error denoting a feverish attempt, rather than a deed accomplished. The two first books, and indeed the two last, I feel sensible are not of such completion as to warrant their passing the press; nor should they if I thought a year’s castigation would do them any good;- it will not: the foundations are too sandy. It is just that this youngster should die away: a sad thought for me, if I had not some hope that while it is dwindling I may be plotting, and fitting myself for verses fit to live.

This may be speaking too presumptuously, and may deserve a punishment: but no feeling man will be forward to inflict it: he will leave me alone, with the conviction that there is not fiercer hell than the failure in a great object. This is not written with the least atom of purpose to forestall criticisms of course, but from the desire I have to conciliate men who are competent to look, and who do look witha zealous eye, to the honour of English literature.

The imagination of a boy is healthy, and the mature imagination of a man is healthy; but there is a space of life between, in which the soul is in a ferment, the character undecided, the way of life uncertain, the ambition thick-sighted: thence proceeds mawkishness, and all the thousand bitters which those men I speak of must necessarily taste in going over the following pages.

I hope I have not in too late a day touched the beautiful mythology of Greece and dulled its brightness: for I wish to try once more, before I bid it farewell.

TEIGNMOUTH,

April 10, 1818

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Chicago: John Keats, "Preface," Endymion: A Poetic Romance Original Sources, accessed January 25, 2021, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=IRWDFE35I2C8FXV.

MLA: Keats, John. "Preface." Endymion: A Poetic Romance, Original Sources. 25 Jan. 2021. www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=IRWDFE35I2C8FXV.

Harvard: Keats, J, 'Preface' in Endymion: A Poetic Romance. Original Sources, retrieved 25 January 2021, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=IRWDFE35I2C8FXV.