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On First Looking Into Chapman's Homer - Wrong Guy, Keats!
In his sonnet "On First Looking Into Chapman's Homer", John Keats describes how he felt on first reading Elizabethan George Chapman's translation of the Greek poet. Near the end, he writes"...Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes/He stared at the Pacific..." While Hernando Cortez was a noted Spanish explorer, it was Vasco Balboa who first "stared at the Pacific..."!
Special Requirements:
Any edition of Keats' poems
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Contributed By:
tjoebigham on 03-13-2001
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James writes:
Every edition of Keats's poetry points this out. In fact, in an edition I have, the editor points out, "The fact that it was Balboa, and not Cortez, who discovered the Pacific Ocean, matters to nitpickers, not to lovers of poetry."
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Hobs writes:
I think Keats was probably just thinking in terms of Cortez's own personal first discovery of the sight, not the historical reference to the first explorer to reach it
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dmitrik writes:
Hmmm...poetic license, anyone? I don't think "like stout Balboa..." has the same ring as "like stout Cortez..."
5 of 5 people found this comment helpful. Did you? Yes

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