24 Feb 2017

Remembering John Keats

'But what, without the social thought of thee,
Would be the wonders of the sky and sea?'

Yesterday (23 February) marked the 196th anniversary of the poet John Keats's death.

He lived only 25 years but with his poems he granted himself immortality. The saddest thing is that he never believed anyone will remember his words. And here I am in 2017 writing this post and there are many many people out there who think of him fondly because his poetry changed their lives in some way.

 Since he and his work is very close to my heart I won't let this day pass without leaving my favourite Keats poems here for you to read. 

Follow the links to read the whole poems.

 'I met a Lady in the Meads
Full beautiful, a faery's child;
Her hair was long, her foot was light
And her eyes were wild –'

'Darkling I listen; and for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call'd 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!'

'O fret not after knowledge. I have none,
And yet my song comes native with the warmth.
O fret not after knowledge! I have none.
And yet the evening listens.'

'– then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.' 

'Awake forever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever – or else swoon to death.'

 Would you like to know more about the man and his poetry?

Read his letters!

A couple of beautiful segments:

'I have two luxuries to brood over in my walks, your Loveliness and the hour of my death. O that I could have possession of them both in the same minute.'
To Fanny Brawne

'I can scarcely bid you good bye even in a letter. I always made an awkward bow.'

To Charles Brown (written shortly before he died)


Watch a film!

The last poem I mentioned above (Bright Star) became the title of a movie starring Abbie Cornish and Ben Whishaw (IMDb). If you don't know anything about Keats's life this can be a good place to start especially if you enjoy period dramas and romantic films. Although it only covers the last one or two years of Keats's life and concentrates mostly on his love story with Fanny Brawne, it doesn't fail to convey some of the philosophy behind his poetry either.

Check out the trailer:

Read a book!

This is my Keats Bible, everyone should have one.

Keats by Andrew Motion

A biography of Keats.

Young Romantics by Daisy Hay

This is not only about Keats but you can get an idea how the Romantics worked as a group and how they drew inspiration from each other's work. If you are intrested in the social life of the Romantics (Keats included), this is the book you are looking for.

Visit Keats House!

If you you are in London and have an afternoon to spare, visit the house Keats shared with the Brawnes and his friend Charles Brown (who was also a poet). 

For me it was a very special and emotional experience for personal reasons, but even if you don't know much about Keats, you can still enjoy the peace of the House and its garden. Plus you can learn a lot about his life there if you care to join a guided tour.

Website:  follow this link
Address: Keats House
10 Keats Grove
London NW3 2RR

Right then, I hope some of you will run and read some Keats now.
Who's YOUR favourite poet? What's YOUR favourite poem? I'm dying to know, please leave a comment below!

No comments:

Post a Comment