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John Keats

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

A Party Of Lovers


Pensive they sit, and roll their languid eyes,
Nibble their toast, and cool their tea with sighs,
Or else forget the purpose of the night,
Forget their tea -- forget their appetite.
See with cross'd arms they sit -- ah! happy crew,
The fire is going out and no one rings
For coals, and therefore no coals Betty brings.
A fly is in the milk-pot -- must he die
By a humane society?
No, no; there Mr. Werter takes his spoon,
Inserts it, dips the handle, and lo! soon
The little straggler, sav'd from perils dark,
Across the teaboard draws a long wet mark.
Arise! take snuffers by the handle,
There's a large cauliflower in each candle.
A winding-sheet, ah me! I must away
To No. 7, just beyond the circus gay.
'Alas, my friend! your coat sits very well;
Where may your tailor live?' 'I may not tell.
O pardon me -- I'm absent now and then.
Where might my tailor live? I say again
I cannot tell, let me no more be teaz'd --
He lives in Wapping, might live where he pleas'd.'

Submitted: Monday, March 22, 2010
Edited: Wednesday, August 10, 2011

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  • Gold Star - 13,680 Points Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (10/13/2014 2:45:00 AM)

    The essence of love wonderfully created in this poem by the most respected poet in English language. I like the poet very much and this poem also. (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 1,710 Points Naveed Khalid (2/3/2014 8:41:00 AM)

    I may as well relate to fedora's dream, beside those legendary figures, his y-pointing hand to the door, his catapult shot to love's last note, still accounts for my father's tell-tale. All now is lulled to sleep by the silent harp, and e'erything to my sightless view more real than this world, lowly laid at thy feet. (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 6,718 Points * Sunprincess * (11/15/2013 6:11:00 PM)

    I like this...very classy poem...he has captured the attitudes of the upper class precisely :) (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 5,285 Points Geetha Jayakumar (9/24/2013 9:45:00 AM)

    A fly is in the milk pot- -must he die by a humane society? . The little straggler saved from perils dark..
    Beautiful write...Loved reading it. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie B. Laxmi Priya (7/17/2013 9:05:00 AM)

    Times have changed since Keats, but the essence of love, loving and lovers remains the same. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 261 Points Stephen W (1/5/2013 12:58:00 PM)

    Is the coat the winding-sheet? The tailor..might live where he pleas'd Is he the Angel of Death? Keats writes very mysterious poetry. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 261 Points Stephen W (1/4/2013 4:02:00 PM)

    I think the cauliflower is the molten wax at the base of a candle which has been burning for a long time. It can form a cauliflower-like shape, albeit flat. He is telling us he has been there a long time, while the lovers mooned over each other.
    The winding-sheet is more mysterious. They used to be used for wrapping a corpse for burial. (Report) Reply

    Gold Star - 13,680 Points Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (10/13/2014 2:45:00 AM)

    Good interpretation and meaning.

  • Rookie Senseless Freak (1/3/2013 3:18:00 PM)

    the two at the table are potential lovers but there is sexual tension because they are shy. the fly in the milk represents this tension, and once it is removed the narrator feels he should depart to let the youngins flourish in eachother. he doesn't solicit his tailor in hopes of quickly leaving To No.7, just beyond the circus gay. just my take on it. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kay Whitely (9/12/2012 3:50:00 AM)

    The poem's meaning is in its title. The guest was invited to tea/dinner/whatever with two lovers present who must be at the early stages so could only sigh about each other and could not reveal their feelings to other people. Hence the forgetfulness about the coal and boredom for several guests as one of the lovers must be a host and in this situation he or she was not performing their duties very well. The guest (the author) then had had enough of it, stood up and decided to leave. The host mumbled polite questions with no meaning and hence the reluctance of the guest to answer them properly. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Lisa Jay (6/14/2012 4:37:00 AM)

    In a world where everything is bound to break, someone will always be there to dip a handle in the milk and set us free (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Roxana Funez (4/19/2012 10:27:00 AM)

    Arise! take snuffers by the handle,
    There's a large cauliflower in each candle.
    A winding-sheet, ah me! I must away

    the definition of snuffer is A small hollow metal cone on the end of a handle, used to extinguish a candle by smothering the flame. when a flame is extinguished by smothering, the smoke clumps together and when released, it starts out puffy and cloudy and disepates into a long smooth trail of light smoke. the words cauliflower + winding-sheet are metaphors for the smoke. It is late; why else would the maid not bring more coal to keep the fire lit? But the group of rich folk have not been gathered long since their tea is still hot.

    I don't know why he must away to No.7but he is not very good friends with these people because his excuse for leaving is very abrupt and he does not want to disclose the information about his taylor... maybe because he does not want to see them again? I'm not sure. But i gave this poem a rating of 8 because of his clever rhyme scheme and because in this poem, he's telling a story :) (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Sophie Hu (3/20/2012 9:52:00 AM)

    i guess he just want to show the languidness and boringness of the upper class in english society.
    anyway, i dont like this poem. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Vamshi Krishna (8/8/2011 12:28:00 PM)

    i didn't quite undestand it..he just described 3-4 incidents...wha does he mean when he says'There's a large cauliflower in each candle.
    A winding-sheet, ah me! I must away
    To No.7, just beyond the circus gay.'could someone please clear this to me. (Report) Reply

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