Sunday, November 06, 2005

every point of thought the centre of an intellectual world

Nick told us about his poem of the week in a blog entry last Monday: This Week's Poem. His choice, John Keats' Ode on a Grecian Urn, reminded me of my pleasure in reading Keats' letters a while back.

I wrote a comment on one particularly interesting letter and a poem it contained. You can read the comment when you read his post. Or just go to the comment itself.

What's on my mind now, and has been on and off since I wrote the comment, is an enigmatic paragraph Keats wrote at the close of the poem:
Aye this may be carried - but what am I talking of - it is an old maxim of mine and of course must be well known that every point of thought is the centre of an intellectual world - the two uppermost thoughts in a Man's mind are the two poles of his World he revolves on them and every thing is southward or northward to him through their means. We take but three steps from feathers to iron. Now my dear fellow I must once for all tell you I have not one Idea of the truth of any of my speculations - I shall never be a Reasoner because I care not to be in the right, when retired from bickering and in a proper philosophical temper.
What did he mean by this? Can devine his intent by a careful reading of the words themselves, or is an exporation of their context essential to understanding them? I've tried both and am still mulling over the words and also reviewing what's known about his life and thought at the time he wrote them.

I'm writing now only to say that I'm enjoying this little mania.

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