John Keats: A Literary Biography, Page 60|
by Albert Elmer Hancock (1908).
In the second book the Titan remnant is discovered in a cave. It is a den where crags thrust their jagged foreheads into crags, the waterfalls are thunderous and no insulting light can glimmer on their tears. Some of their comrades are in flight; others have been chained in torture by the victors—
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Dungeon'd in opaque element, to keep
Their clenched teeth still clench'd, and all their limbs
Lock'd up like veins of metal, crampt and screw'd.
Those assembled in the cave lie like a group of Druid stones upon some desolate moor, each one shrouded in his woe and oblivious of his neighbor. Creus is one.
His ponderous iron mace
Lay by him, and a shatter'd rib of rock
Told of his rage.
Enceladus is another.
He meditated, plotted, and even now
Was hurling mountains in that second war,
Not long delay'd, that scar'd the younger Gods
To hide themselves in form of beast and bird.
To this assemblage, disconsolate, without leadership, Saturn comes with his guide.
Above a sombre cliff
Their heads appear'd, and up their stature grew
Till on the level height their steps found ease:
Then Thea spread abroad her trembling arms
Upon the precinets of this nest of pain,
And sidelong fix'd her eye on Saturn's face.
The god, struggling with despair and self-command, passes into the midst of the fallen tribe. They break from their lethargy and do him reverence. Saturn confesses ignorance of the cause of his dethronement. He calls upon Oceanus for an explanation. Oceanus is the philosopher of the council. He relates the birth of light from chaos; of life from light; the genesis of the Titans from Heaven and Earth. Their downfall, he predicts, is irretrievable. He finds the reason in the evolutionary process of natural law.
"We fall by course of Nature's law, not force
Of thunder or of Jove. Great Saturn, thou,
. . . . . . . .
Thou art not the beginning nor the end.
As Heaven and Earth are fairer, fairer far
Than Chaos and blank Darkness, though once chiefs;
And as we show beyond that Heaven and Earth
In form and shape compact and beautiful,
In will, in action free, companionships,
And thousand other signs of purer life;
So on our heels a fresh perfection treads,
A power more strong in beauty, born of us
And fated to excel us, as we pass
In glory that old Darkness—
For 't is the eternal law
That first in beauty should be first in might:
Yea, by that law, another race may drive
Our conquerors to mourn as we do now.
Receive the truth and let it be your balm."
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