John Keats

(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821 / London, England)

John Keats
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John Keats was an English Romantic poet. He was one of the main figures of the second generation of romantic poets along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, despite his work only having been in publication for four years before his death.

Although his poems were not generally well received by critics during his life, his reputation grew after his death, so that by the end of the 19th century he had become one of the most beloved of all English poets. He had a significant influence on a diverse range of later poets and writers. Jorge Luis Borges stated that his first encounter with Keats was the most significant literary experience of his life.

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  • ''Praise or blame has but a momentary effect on the man whose love of beauty in the abstract makes him a severe critic on his own works.''
    John Keats (1795-1821), British poet. letter, Oct. 9, 1818. Letters of John Keats, no. 90, ed. Frederick Page (1954). Despite Shelley's assertion ...
  • I have been astonished that men could die martyrs for religion—I have shuddered at it. I shudder no more—I could be martyred for my religion—Love is my religion—I could die for tha...
    John Keats (1795-1821), British poet. letter, Oct. 13, 1819, to his fiancée Fanny Brawne. Letters of John Keats, no. 160, ed. Frederick Page (1954).
  • ''Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?''
    John Keats (1795-1821), British poet. letter, Feb. 14-May 3, 1819, to his brother and sister-in-law, George and Georgiana Keats. Letters of John Keats...
  • ''It appears to me that almost any man may like the spider spin from his own inwards his own airy citadel.''
    John Keats (1795-1821), British poet. letter, Feb. 19, 1818. Letters of John Keats, no. 48, ed. Frederick Page (1954).
  • ''You speak of Lord Byron and me—there is this great difference between us. He describes what he sees—I describe what I imagine. Mine is the hardest task.''
    John Keats (1795-1821), British poet. letter, Sept. 17-27, 1819, to his brother and sister-in-law George and Georgiana Keats. The Letters of John Keat...
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Comments about John Keats

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  • HARERAM PANDIT (2/18/2018 3:51:00 AM)

    Very nice

  • Hareram Pandit (2/18/2018 3:50:00 AM)

    Very. Nice

  • Taib ali (12/17/2017 7:15:00 AM)

    Very good

  • Rounak pai (12/9/2017 10:41:00 PM)

    Very good

  • Kshirod Kumar Dehury Kshirod Kumar Dehury (11/21/2017 1:06:00 AM)

    So, nice this poem is is a hart touching poem from sharing.

  • Dr Dillip K Swain Dr Dillip K Swain (10/14/2017 3:45:00 AM)

    A thing of beauty is a joy for ever...has been the most remarkable and popular quote..John Keats is immortal..I love reading all his poems again and again.. in my leisure I read this poem from my heart..The class of John Keats is distinct and unique..!

  • Gayathri Seetharam Gayathri Seetharam (9/6/2017 4:20:00 PM)

    How beautiful of John Keats to say that love is his religion. I did not quite, at a cursory glance, understand his poem, A Draught of Sunshine, but it seems like it has a lot to offer. He values soul as well as intelligence and that is indeed a wonderful quality and I must analyze his and Lord Byron's poems to see if what he has said is actually true, that is he imagined while Byron merely saw. -Gayathri B. Seetharam

  • Dipankar Sadhukhan Dipankar Sadhukhan (7/28/2017 2:18:00 PM)

    Keats' treatment of themes of Beauty and Mutability in the poems, Ode To A Nightingale and Ode To Autumn:

    Among the English romantics Keats had be a connoisseur of arts and aesthetic experience. Wordsworth was the high priest of natural beauty, Coleridge of supernatural beauty, Shelley of intellectual beauty, Byron of feminine beauty and Keats of aesthetic beauty. Keatsian odes, Horatian in form with uniformity of stanzas are serious in tone, dignified in metrical structure and grand in style. He completed six odes and left one incomplete. He recaptures the ancient Greek world of imagination and art in relation to his romantic imagination and pursuit of sensuous beauty of nature. Classicism and romanticism are perfectly blended In theme and style. This is well exhibited in Ode to a Nightingale, Ode on a Grecian Urn and Ode to Autumn.

    Like all other members of the romantic generation, Keats firmly believed in the law of transitoriness or the law of Mutability that governs this mundane earth. The Ode to a Nightingale testifies Keats' negative capability as he is not empowered to reach the paradise world of the New Nightingale bereft of wings. When the melody of the so-called immortal bird enchants his soul, he falls into a trance or drowsy numbness. The effect is thought to be similar to that of the intoxicating impact of opium, hemlock and vintage. But the grave and ultimate truth of Mutability compels Keats to be morose. The weariness, the fever and the fret of this mundane world is beyond control. A youth must grow pale and spectre thin only to proceed towards death. The old age brings about grey hairs as marks senility. All the dwellers of this earth must be obedient to this universal law. People become morbid when the sit together and discuss the cause of misery and tragedy. Their eyes are leaden with despairs. Even the beautiful woman can not maintain and preserve her lustrous eyes. Feminine beauty should also obey the law of Mutability. It will also become dwindled, peak and pine. So the poet is absolutely confirmed that the earthly beauty is eminently transitory. Again to escape the world of sordid reality and thorny problems of life, Keats wants to seek a shelter in the paradisal world of Nightingale. But here is a problem. Keats can not tastes the forbidden knowledge of joy and delight, being denied the opportunity of flight. A bird can fly but a poet can not. Herein lies the essence of negative capability.

    But the romantic poet wishes to go there on the viewless wings of poesy and charioted by Bacchus and his pards. He has no hesitation to court death this night as he is supremely satisfied by the melody of the Nightingale. He had been half in love with easeful Death. Tuberculosis has eaten into his vitality and therefore he should have no complain about such a painless death.

    The bird, the poet thinks, was not born for death, being an immortal bird. One particular bird may die but the species of the bird will continue to sing the selfsame song. The same song has passed through the hearts of emperor, clown, sad nostalgic Ruth (a tragic woman in the Bible) and magician who produced almost similar effect. The disyllabic word, forlorn sounds like the ringing of a bell and it compels him to return to the world of everyday reality. The bird being gone, it's melody becomes inaudible. Keats is in a state of oscillation and can not pursue whether he had been awake or asleep, enjoying a reverie.

    Ode to Autumn celebrates the festive season of natural abundance and fruitfulness. Autumn 'conspires' with the maturing sun to yield a rich harvest in the form of apples and honey. Every fruit and vegetable is ripe to the core. The beehives are overflowing with abundant honey.

    Keats depicts different personas of Autumn in the second stanza. She is looked upon as a rustic woman, a harvester, reaper, gleaner and lastly the cider maker. The reference to 'hook' and 'cyder press' carries a sad note as it signifies the impact of machine on nature due to industrial revolution.

    In the concluding stanza Keats consoles the Autumnal season by ascribing five sources of music. The wilful choir of the small gnats, loud bleating of the full grown lambs, singing of the hedge crickets, whistling melody of the Robin red breast and the twittering of the swallow are five sources of autumnal beauty.

    While in Ode to a Nightingale Keats is in an aesthetic mood, he is serene and tranquil in Ode to Autumn. But Keats is very much conscious of natural beauty everywhere. Thus he knows it for certain that earthly beauty or feminine beauty is momentary or transitory obeying the law of Mutability. In every respect Ode on a Grecian Urn represents Keats' concept of Aesthetic Beauty and Truth at its best.

  • Dipankar Sadhukhan Dipankar Sadhukhan (7/28/2017 1:50:00 PM)

    Keats’ escape to the world of Nightingale:

    Keats’ “Ode To A Nightingale” presents a two-fold journey: an onward journey from the world of reality to the world of imagination and a return journey from the world of imagination to the world of reality. The poet, tired of the harsh realities of the real life, escapes to the world of the nightingale with a desire to get solace, peace and happiness there. He imagines that the world of the nightingale is free from such human crises. He stays in this world of the nightingale for some time. But soon his illusions break down when the bird flies away and its song gradually fades away. After the bird has flown away, the poet comes to his senses—back to the world of reality. The poet’s return may be soaked in frustration but it perhaps equally enlightens the poet with a realization that true happiness lies not in running away from the pains and sorrows of life, rather in accepting life with all its crises and difficulties.

    The poet wrote the poem when he was suffering from tuberculosis and when his younger brother had already died. The death of his brother and his personal sufferings from the disease depressed him a lot. Life seemed to him burdened with sorrows and pains of different types. In such a mood of melancholy and depression, the poet hears a nightingale’s song when sitting in one of his friend’s garden. The bird’s happy song soothes his mind, and for a time being makes him forget his pains. He feels “a drowsy numbness pains his sense, as though of hemlock he had drunk, or emptied some dull opiate to the drains one minute past and Lethe-wards had sunk”. The poet feels captivated by the happy song of the bird which like a “light-winged Dryad of the trees/ In some melodious plot/ Of beechen green, and shadow numberless, / Singest of summer in full-throated ease”.

    In contrast to the happiness of the bird which “among the leaves hast never known the weariness, the fever and fret”, the poet finds human life is full of sufferings. He feels so disillusioned and frustrated by the harsh realities of life that a feeling of pessimism runs through him about life, as he says:

    Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
    Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
    Where youth grows pale and spectre-thin, and dies;
    Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
    And laden-eyed despairs;
    Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
    Or new Love pine it them beyond to-morrow.

    Almost the whole poem is built on this thought of contrast between the Joy, beauty and apparent permanence of the bird’s song and the sorrow and transience of beauty and joy in human life. The momentary joy and the seeming permanence of the nightingale’s song mislead the poet and tempt him to fly into the bird’s world. Being an escapist, the poet throws away the burdens of life and flies into the world of imagination “not by charioted by Bacchus and his pads/ But on the viewless wings of poesy”. The poet is so engrossed in and fascinated with the song of the bird that soon he is with the bird, he finds everything there better than them on earth: ”–tender is the night, / And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne/ Cluster’d around by her starry Fays.

    The song of the nightingale so intoxicates the poet that he becomes a bit imbalanced in thought and perception: while he sees “the Queen-Moon is on her throne/ Cluster’d around by her starry Fays”, he says “but here there is no light”. However, the darkness of the night and the sweet song of the bird open the poet’s faculties of sensuousness. In absence of light he cannot see what flowers are at his feet, but in embalmed darkness he guesses:

    –each sweet
    Wherewith the seasonable month endows
    The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild
    White hawthorn, and the pastoral, eglantine;
    Fast fading violates cover’d up in leaves;
    And mid-May’s elest child,
    The coming must-rose, full of dewy wine
    The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.

    The poet thought of dying on many occasions in the past, but now the sweet song of the nightingale intensifies his longing for death, though in a different way. In the past his thought of death was prompted by a desire to get rid of the painful realities of life but “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! The poet laments that human life is transient while the nightingale is immortal and beyond all human conflicts and destruction. While a man “grows pale and spectre-thin, and dies”, the immortal bird goes on singing which was heard in the ancient days by emperor and clown.

    Throughout the whole poem, except in the last stanza, the poet establishes the superiority of the world of imagination over the world of reality, but in the last stanza the exuberance and rapture of the poet over the nightingale’s song come to an end and he becomes self-conscious with the realization that “the fancy cannot cheat so well/ As she is fam’d to do, ...”.

  • Sayeed Malik (7/26/2017 3:49:00 PM)

    No one like steatfast in natural realisation.

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Best Poem of John Keats

A Thing Of Beauty (Endymion)

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its lovliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkn'd ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon, ...

Read the full of A Thing Of Beauty (Endymion)
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