If By Dull Rhymes Our English Must Be Chain’d…

If by dull rhymes our English must be chain’d,
And, like Andromeda, the Sonnet sweet
Fetter’d, in spite of pained loveliness;
Let us find out, if we must be constrain’d,
Sandals more interwoven and complete
To fit the naked foot of poesy;
Let us inspect the lyre, and weigh the stress
Of every chord, and see what may be gain’d
By ear industrious, and attention meet:
Misers of sound and syllable, no less
Than Midas of his coinage, let us be
Jealous of dead leaves in the bay wreath crown;
So, if we may not let the Muse be free,
She will be bound with garlands of her own.

John Keats

I’d like to hear your reflections, dear readers, on this poem.


2 thoughts on “If By Dull Rhymes Our English Must Be Chain’d…

  1. I am not certain that I fully grasp the poems meaning, even after having read it several times. However my initial thoughts are as follows. If we are to be bound by rhyme, let us utilise rhyme beautifully. Rhymes should be living things, not like dead leaves. I would, however have to ponder on this more fully. Kevin

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s exactly why I asked this question, Kevin: I’m having trouble deciphering Keats’ message. I think your thought is right: let’s challenge dull rhyming by finding elaborate, new, beautiful rhymes with which we’ll make garlands for the Muse.

    This poem can provoke a dispute between poets who are pro and contra free verse. So, poertry is chained by rhymes, rhyme is restrictive, right? But then, all depends on your ability to use the rhyme: whether it’ll be dull and lay like a dead leaf, or it will be so beautiful and special it will turn your message into gold with its Midas touch.

    Liked by 1 person

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