Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Today I Mourn John Keats

He died in the evening on February 23, 1821 at his friend Severn's home in Rome. He had been slowly dying and was bitterly disappointed each day to find himself still alive, in a world to which he had long said his goodbyes.
John Keats, in 1814, was a proper surgeon’s apprentice when he was driven out of his mind by provocative young women in muslin so sheer they offered glimpses of breasts that had him rhapsodising.

He wrote more and more and more verses, though he felt these were too much like other men's verses and when he realised this, he was almost suicidal. He even declared that unless he could turn himself into a real poet, life would not be worth living.

To a Friend who sent me some Roses
by John Keats

AS late I rambled in the happy fields,
What time the sky-lark shakes the tremulous dew
From his lush clover covert; - when anew
Adventurous knights take up their dinted shields:
I saw the sweetest flower wild nature yields,
A fresh-blown musk-rose; ’twas the first that threw
Its sweets upon the summer: graceful it grew
As is the wand that queen Titania wields.
And, as I feasted on its fragrancy,
I thought the garden-rose it far excell’d:
But when, O Wells! thy roses came to me
My sense with their deliciousness was spell’d:
Soft voices had they, that with tender plea
Whisper’d of peace, and truth, and friendliness unquell’d.

Keats painted here by his friend Joseph Severn

Keats was the first of the romantic poets to go, next was Shelley and two years later was Byron. This left poor Wordsworth who years later wrote:

Fast has brother followed brother,
From sunshine to the sunless land!

Warm regards,


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I agree with Christopher! But what a time when the sight of an ankle was tantalizing. Now it's all --- well.

  3. I never could resist a tortured soul.

  4. A male poet is worth their weight in words. Really, what is more beautiful than finding some old poem by one of these men? Breathtaking.

  5. Very interesting post. It is a shame they all died so close together. Wonder what else they would have composed had they lived another 5 or 10 years each.

  6. Keats wrote some of the most beautiful poetry the world has seen. Could he have written it, if he wasn't so tortured, I wonder?

  7. So he was tormented by the thought that his work was too much like other men's work? That brings up the question: Can anything written nowadays be an original idea?

  8. If women wore muslin today, inspired lines would flow more freely between the punctuation.

  9. It was a very different time from ours!

  10. How sad.....Now the rest of my night will be sad.

  11. I have to agree with K.M. Weiland, would Keats have been able to write such beautiful poetry if he hadn't been so tortured?

    I love the romantic poets, Shelley, Keats, Byron, Tennyson . . .

  12. This is why i love you Simone!!!!
    listen to this:

    "Darkling I listen; and for many a time
    I have been half in love with easeful Death,
    Called him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
    To take into the air my quiet breath;
    Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
    To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
    While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
    In such an ecstasy!
    Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain--
    To thy high requiem become a sod"

    This poetry "Ode to a Nightingale" by John Keats has changed me.

    xxoo to you Simone.

  13. I hate that I've caused sadness with my little tribute to keats when all I wanted was to share my love for the dear thing.

    Oh and Lakhsmita this is one my absolute favorites by keats. The man was brilliant and I will always love him and is work. I love that you and I share this.

    My love to each of you.
    Warm regards,

  14. "your poems were still there waiting for me to read it "
    your poem really tortured me........