The Fall of Hyperion | Study Guide

John Keats

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "The Fall of Hyperion Study Guide." Course Hero. 21 Sep. 2020. Web. 27 Sep. 2021. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2020, September 21). The Fall of Hyperion Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved September 27, 2021, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2020)



Course Hero. "The Fall of Hyperion Study Guide." September 21, 2020. Accessed September 27, 2021.


Course Hero, "The Fall of Hyperion Study Guide," September 21, 2020, accessed September 27, 2021,

The Fall of Hyperion | Quotes


Fanatics have their dreams ... the savage too ... Guesses at Heaven; pity these have not / The shadows of melodious utterance.

The speaker

The speaker contemplates the difference between the mere dreamer and the poet, stating that anyone can dream but it is the poet who can turn dreams into imaginative verse. This pondering speaks to the allegorical nature of the poem in the speaker's quest to determine the nature of the true poet.


Whether the dream now purpos'd to rehearse / Be poet's or fanatic's will be known / When this warm scribe my hand is in the grave.

The speaker

The speaker muses on whether the dreams of the commoner or those of the poet will come to pass in their thoughts of heaven and states that this will only be known in death. This demonstrates the speaker further attempting to make a distinction between the mere dreamer and the poet.


Thereby / Stood a cool vessel of transparent juice ... the which I took, / And ... Drank.

The speaker

The elixir that the speaker drinks transports them into a dreamlike state in which they experience the poem's events.


An altar slept ... approach'd on either side by steps, / And ... To count with toil the innumerable degrees. / Towards the altar sober paced I went.

The speaker

The altar represents the pinnacle of knowledge that the speaker must ascend to to gain a comprehension of the nature of the true poet.


If thou canst not ascend / These steps, die on that marble where thou art.


Moneta warns the speaker of the danger posed in mounting the steps to the altar. The speaker will perish if they cannot face the task of ascending the steps. Because the speaker is mortal, unlike the gods, they will not go on living if they cannot complete the task.


I ... felt the tyranny / Of that fierce threat and the hard task proposed. / Prodigious seem'd the toil.

The speaker

The journey to the altar is characterized as toilsome, reflecting the suffering that must be endured to gain the knowledge represented by the altar. The theme of progression is also evident in the speaker's upward ascension.


Slow, heavy, deadly was my pace: the cold / Grew stifling, suffocating, at the heart.

The speaker

The speaker's journey causes them anguish and illustrates the theme of suffering in the poem. The speaker comes within inches of death to attain the knowledge they will find at the altar. This plays into the allegory at the heart of the poem whereby the poet must suffer to gain an understanding of humanity and write verse that addresses it.


Thou hast felt / What 'tis to die and live again before / Thy fated hour.


Moneta explains to the speaker that their suffering has allowed them to access the knowledge they seek. Their anguish reflects the theme of suffering and the allegorical nature of the poem in that the speaker's suffering enables them to understand what a true poet comprises.


Sure not all / Those melodies sung into the world's ear / Are useless: sure a poet is a sage; / A humanist, physician to all men.

The speaker

The speaker experiences a crisis when Moneta causes the speaker to question the value of the poet. The speaker suggests that surely the poet is worthy of soothing humankind and providing wisdom.


The poet and the dreamer are distinct, / Diverse, sheer opposite, antipodes. / The one pours out a balm upon the world, / The other vexes it.


Moneta makes a distinction between the poet and the mere dreamer and states that they are opposite of one another. The dreamer is able only to imagine and recount the suffering of humanity that vexes the world but the true poet is able to understand this suffering and address it.


I set myself / Upon an eagle's watch, that I might see, / And seeing ne'er forget.

The speaker

Moneta gives the speaker the ability to see as a god does and they watch the events of the fallen Titans play out. The speaker cannot fathom forgetting the events.


Degraded, cold, upon the sodden ground / His old right hand lay nerveless, listless, dead, / Unsceptered.

The speaker

Saturn is the king of the Titans and he is described as distraught and powerless at having lost the throne to the Olympian gods. This reflects the theme of suffering in the poem as well as progression in that a change in rulers has just occured.


Moan, brethren, moan; for lo, the rebel sphere / Spin round, the stars their ancient courses keep ... There is no death in all the Universe.


Saturn mourns his fallen state and wails at the thought that he will now be a mortal and live on in agony as time continues to pass.


The Titans fierce, self hid or prison bound, / Groan for the old allegiance once more, / Listening in their doom for Saturn's voice.


The fallen Titans grieve their defeat by the Olympian gods. This showcases the theme of suffering in the poem as the speaker watches the agony of the fallen Titans.


Anon rush'd by the bright Hyperion; / His flaming robes stream'd out beyond his heels, / And gave a roar ... On he flared.

The speaker

Hyperion is the Titan sun god and he stands as the final hope of the Titans. However, he is doomed to be displaced by the Olympian sun god Apollo.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about The Fall of Hyperion? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!