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A narrative poem by Keats, written 1819, published 1820.

The story was taken from Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, there quoted from Philostratus. Lamia, a sorceress, is transformed by Hermes from a serpent into a beautiful woman. She loves the young Corinthian Lycius, and he, spell‐bound by her beauty, falls in love with her. They retire to a secret palace in Corinth. Here Lycius orders a bridal feast and summons his friends. Among them comes his old guide and mentor, the sage Apollonius, who pierces Lamia's disguise and calls her by her name. Her beauty withers, with a frightful scream she vanishes, and Lycius dies in a frenzy of grief.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

John Keats (1795—1821) poet

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