John Keats

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

His Last Sonnet - Poem by John Keats

Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art! -
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night,
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like Nature's patient sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors -
No -yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillowed upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever -or else swoon to death.

Comments about His Last Sonnet by John Keats

  • Mohit Katyal (7/14/2017 12:23:00 AM)

    described in a good way (Report) Reply

    1 person liked.
    6 person did not like.
  • Mohit Katyal (7/14/2017 12:22:00 AM)

    superb.. well done..... (Report) Reply

  • Mohit Katyal (7/14/2017 12:22:00 AM)

    a great one.... keep it up (Report) Reply

  • (2/3/2017 4:25:00 AM)

    Such beautiful words
    I fell in love with this poem at my granny's funeral pillowed upon my fair love's ripening breast gets me everytime: '(It used to be our favourite past time (Report) Reply

  • Gajanan Mishra (8/8/2016 11:02:00 PM)

    love's ripening breast, good one. (Report) Reply

  • (8/8/2016 11:15:00 AM)

    Simply superb, captivating poem and a great pleasure to read. Thanks for sharing it here. (Report) Reply

  • Rajnish Manga (8/8/2016 6:23:00 AM)

    It is not for nothing that Keats has excelled so much in the history of English Literature. A look at the portrayal of nature and the sensuousness displayed in his descriptions. Matchless.
    Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
    Pillowed upon my fair love's ripening breast,
    To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
    (Report) Reply

  • Aqua Flower (6/18/2016 11:39:00 PM)

    A sensuous and romantic poet! One of the best! (Report) Reply

  • (1/11/2016 4:53:00 PM)

    beautiful expression of verses (Report) Reply

  • (1/3/2016 7:37:00 PM)

    ..........reads beautifully, a lovely sonnet ★ (Report) Reply

  • (10/3/2015 8:27:00 AM)

    Not wishing upon a star but wishing to be one. Beautiful. (Report) Reply

  • (10/6/2014 12:43:00 PM)

    Immensely sensual..... Young man wishing to adore the most beautiful things of life with the constant ability as a star in heaven, sleepless, only to realize that such ability would be best used to adore his lover, something he wishes to do forever.... Am I wrong in recognizing this as a rather powerful love poem? Though somewhat lacking of the usual mastery of assonance I have become accustomed to in Keat's writing. Dare I assume Keats was a young man when he wrote this? (Report) Reply

  • (10/6/2014 11:05:00 AM)

    To envy the characteristics of being a star...fading into talking about the poets musings and his love..what a nice and old fashioned sonnet. (Report) Reply

  • Naida Nepascua Supnet (10/6/2014 5:37:00 AM)

    WHo would not fall in love for Keats' verses
    just marvelous ones
    (Report) Reply

  • (10/6/2014 3:01:00 AM)

    Anyone who knows me (or follows my comments on sites like this one) is likely to know that my favorite poets of all time are the British Romantics, and that Keats has been a favorite longer than any other. I became an English major and an English teacher and a lover of poetry after discovering Keats' Ode on a Grecian Urn and reading Earl Wasserman's The Finer Tone (I hate not being able to italicize) . 'Bright Star' may very well be the most nearly perfect sonnet in the English language - yes, Petrarchan or Italian, which probably is even more difficult than the Shakespearean or English form. After almost sixty years of reading and teaching this poem, I am still as moved by it as when I first encountered it as a sophomore in college, maybe even more so. And, yes, it has autobiographical overtones. And, yes, the voice heard in the poem is the voice of the poet, Keats himself. Of course, the speaker of every poem is a persona, a mask if you will. But that's true of anything anyone ever says. What we say, if we are not being deceptive or are not self-deceived, reflects who we are at that given moment - maybe not yesterday, maybe not tomorrow, but nevertheless autobiographical. And, no, Keats I am relatively certain would NOT have wanted this poem entitled his Last Poem. How he hoped against hope that it would not be.

    How blessed we all are - how blessed the world is - that he wrote, that he let it reflect some of what he must have been feeling at that time, and that it was preserved for us to read for all time to come.
    (Report) Reply

  • Sagnik Chakraborty (10/6/2014 2:10:00 AM)

    The beautiful imagery leaves a lasting impression on the mind of the poetry lover. Keats at his sensuous best! (Report) Reply

  • (3/13/2014 9:42:00 PM)

    ......a sweet write...loved it.. (Report) Reply

  • Babatunde Aremu (10/6/2013 2:34:00 PM)

    Great poem. I like it (Report) Reply

  • (10/6/2009 6:53:00 PM)

    Sometimes I wonder about the misconceptions some of you have about poetry and poets, but your garbled interpretations cause my wonder to dissipate in the fog of incomprehension I detect in your postings!

    Alert to Albert Ahearn- 'His Last Sonnet' by John Keats is NOT a Shakespearean sonnet. Fourteen lines make a sonnet, OK! But when divided into an octave (eight lines rhyming ABABCDCD) - art / night / apart / eremite / task / shores / mask / moors // and a sestet (six lines rhyming EFEFGG) - able / breast / swell / unrest / breath / death, it is a PETRARCHAN sonnet! Remember that your high school teacher impressed upon your adolescent mind that Shakespeare wrote sonnets composed of three quatrains (four lines each) and a couplet (two lines) that summed up or resolved the problem raised in the three preceding quatrains!

    The poet differs from the persona, the 'I' character in the sonnet that the poet creates to express the thoughts and feelings that many unwary readers take to be the poet expressing himself as the lover or whomever he pretends to be. Recall if you can that teacher who told you that the term 'persons' literally means 'mask! '

    And forget Fanny Brawn or whomever else your restless mind and imagination construes as Keats's love interest in real life. Cite your sources, boy! Your vulgar line about the half-naked wench stretched out on the couch leaves most of us in the dark!
    (Report) Reply

    Frank Avon (10/6/2014 3:17:00 AM)

    I appreciate your comment, and the time it must have taken you to share it with PH readers.

    I'm not sure whose 'fog of incomprehension' you are referring to. I've read eleven current comments, and though most are not as perceptive as yours, they don't sound all that garbled to me. Admittedly, I have not found Albert Ahearn's. Perhaps it has been withdrawn. Perhaps that is what you hoped for.

    But how do you know the voice of the poem is not the voice of the poet, Keats himself? And how do you know for sure the poem does not refer to Fanny Brawn as 'my fair love'? If a poem is autobiographical - if the poet speaks with his own voice, or attempts to, does that mean it is not true poetry. Or that it is not good poetry? Or, simply, that it is not poetry written according to your dictates? What about the confessional poets of the 1960s? Or Walt Whitman's extraordinarily personal and idiosyncratic passages? Or your own poems? Is no single one of them autobiographical? Do you not speak with your own voice in any one of them?

    By the way, I've read several of your poems, and will certainly read more, and many of them I like very, very much. Many of them - with a good editor or proofreader - are certainly publishable in respected periodicals, by respected presses. Perhaps you are already a published poet. I hope so. As soon as I finish on this site, I'll go to to see if any of your volumes are available there.

    But, among us amateurs on PH, perhaps you could be a bit kinder, a bit more encouraging. If you find this offensive, forgive me. Just let me know, and I will comment on your work no further.

    Again, thank you for your attention.

  • (10/6/2009 3:29:00 PM)

    For me Keats is the most romantic hero in poetic terms. If this was infact his last sonnet before his death at such a young age, then it is written in the heightened spirit of his inspirations muse! Love and Death...our greatest preoccupation in life, the closer we get, the more inspired we are. When I read him in the 90's, that is when I realised what poetry was all about. Not actively constructed, but euphorically inspired, by death, by love, by life.

    An amazingly sad and beautiful read.

    Thanks John

    Smiling at you

    (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: snow, star, nature, death, night, love, sonnet, water

Poem Submitted: Friday, January 3, 2003

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