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

Quotations

  • ''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 in his preface to his elegy Adonais that Keats had suffered from the savage criticism of Endymion (published April 1818)Mwhich, Shelley claimed, "produced the most violent effect on his susceptible mind," and led to Keats' last, fatal illness—Keats himself described Endymion, in the same letter quoted above, as "slip-shod": "Had I been nervous about its being a perfect piece, & with that view asked advice, & trembled over every page, it would not have been written."
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  • ''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 that.''
    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, no. 123, ed. Frederick Page (1954).
  • ''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).
  • ''Give me books, fruit, French wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors, played by someone I do not know.... I admire lolling on a lawn by a water-lilied pond to eat white currants and see goldfish: and go to the fair in the evening if I'm good. There is not hope for that—one is sure to get into some mess before evening.''
    John Keats (1795-1821), British poet. Letter, August 28, 1819, to his sister Fanny Keats. Letters of John Keats, no. 146, ed. Frederick Page (1954).
  • ''Souls of Poets dead and gone,
    What Elysium have ye known
    Happy field or mossy cavern,
    Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?''
    John Keats (1795-1821), British poet. Lines on the Mermaid Tavern (l. 1-4). . . The Complete Poems [John Keats]. John Barnard, ed. (3d ed., 1988) Penguin.
  • ''Bards of Passion and of Mirth
    Ye have left your souls on earth!
    Have ye souls in heaven too,''
    John Keats (1795-1821), British poet. Ode: Bards of passion and of mirth (l. 1-3). . . The Complete Poems [John Keats]. John Barnard, ed. (3d ed., 1988) Penguin.
  • ''"Beauty is truth, truth beauty,"Mthat is all
    Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.''
    John Keats (1795-1821), British poet. Ode on a Grecian Urn, st. 5, Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes and Other Poems (1820). Closing lines.
  • ''What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
    What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
    What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?''
    John Keats (1795-1821), British poet. Ode on a Grecian Urn (l. 8-10). . . The Complete Poems [John Keats]. John Barnard, ed. (3d ed., 1988) Penguin.
  • ''Thou still unravished bride of quietness,
    Thou foster-child of silence and slow time.''
    John Keats (1795-1821), British poet. Ode on a Grecian Urn, st. 1 (1820).

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Ode

Bards of Passion and of Mirth,
Ye have left your souls on earth!
Have ye souls in heaven too,
Double lived in regions new?
Yes, and those of heaven commune
With the spheres of sun and moon;
With the noise of fountains wound'rous,
And the parle of voices thund'rous;
With the whisper of heaven's trees

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