Notes on the dating of the homeric poems
The phrase also symbolizes the world of literature or, if you prefer, imagination.What is Keats saying about the value of this world., i.e., why describe it as realms of gold, rather than of lead or brass, for instance?Homer, hailed as the poet of ‘The Iliad’ and ‘The Odyssey’, the two great epics which laid the foundation of Greek literature, has unfortunately come down to us just as a name.In fact, many modern scholars are not convinced that there was actually a man named Homer."Then" moves the poem to a new idea, to the consequences or the results of reading Chapman's translation.At the same time, "then" connects the sestet to the octet and so provides a smooth transition from one section of the poem to the other.What are your assocations with the words "pure" and "serene"-- positive, negative, neutral?Note that these words apply to both the poetry of Homer and the translation by Chapman.
Finally, "realms of gold" anticipates the references in the sestet to the Spanish Conquistadores in the New World, for whom the lust for gold was a primary motive.
In this line and the next line, reading Chapman's translation has revealed a new dimension or world to Keats, which he expresses by extending the world to include the heavens.
To get a sense of Keats' excitement and joy at the discovery of Homer via Chapman, imagine the moment of looking up into the sky and seeing a planet--which has been unknown till that moment.
Written in October 1816, this is the first entirely successful (surviving) poem he wrote.
John Middleton Murry called it "one of the finest sonnets in the English language." As a Petrarchan or Italian sonnet, "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer" falls into two parts--an octet (eight lines) and a sestet (six lines).