Tuesday, 23 February 2010

John Keats

Today is the anniversary of the death of
John Keats, I was attracted to the article in The Times when reading something else, and just thought it nice to commemorate having enjoyed the film Bright Star so much last month. This image is a copy of the actual death notice placed in The Times 189 years ago. The phrase "of a decline" was apparently common at the time, and constituted an actual medical diagnosis of his death. If you visit the John Keats website you can see that a great many of his poems were published posthumously, he having died believing himself a failure. I am not very familiar with his work, apart from the "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness" well known quotes. Here is one I found on the website, that seems highly appropriate to the occasion. It is entitled "When I have fears that I may cease to be":

When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
Before high piled books, in charact’ry,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripen’d grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour!
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love! - then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.


  1. Great post Martine - thanks. I had forgotten about John Keats but you have got me thinking of him again.....

  2. I absolutely adore John Keats. He's my favorite poet!

    I will have to go pull out my copy of his collected works and read some today. My favorite is his "Elgin Marbles" poem. :)


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