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When I Have Fears That I May Cease To Be

John Keats

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When I have Fears that I may Cease to Be
2002-02-06
Added by: Erin
I think that this is one is Keats best poems. It makes you realize what is really important to you in the end.
2002-04-27
Added by: joe
This poem, in all, tells of how he fears death before he can tell all he knows.
The Death of Adonais
2002-12-29
Added by: Maddy
Poor Keats had reason to believe that he might not live long. (see notes on the poem La Belle Dame sans Merci)

He was in Italy at the time of his death. As his health worsened, Percy Bysshe Shelley, who was a great admirer of his poetry, wrote him a kindly letter of invitation to stay with him at his house in Pisa. Keats refused, as he had done to Shelley's previous invitations. Keats probably thought that Shelley was a little mad. (He was a most devoted and kindly friend to all who knew him well, but lacking in social graces. His morals were highly suspect and he had been kicked out of Cambridge for his atheism.)

So John Keats went to Rome, accompanied by his close friend Joseph Severn who nursed and comforted Keats in his dying days. Keats died on February 23, 1821 aged twenty five. Shelley gave the family plot in which his own infant son was buried in the English section of the cemetery. The faithful Severn had engraved on the tombstone the following words at Keat's request -

"Here lies one whose name was writ in water"

But Shelley celebrated Keat's greatness in his magnificent elegy, Adonais --

"He has outsoared the shadow of the night;

Envy and calumny and hate and pain,

And that unrest which men miscall delight,

Can touch him not and torture not again."

Only a little over a year later Shelley's ashes were interred along with Keat's and little William. He was drowned when his small yatch was sunk in a brief storm. On examing his body Byron had found a copy of John Keat's Endymion, folded back where he had perhaps been reading when the storm struck.
comment: On when I have Fears
2005-11-09
Added by: Muhammad Shanazar
John Keats composed this poem on January 31, in1818, it is one of his the most beautiful sonnets. He in this poem describes the insignificance of love, fame and other ideals. He fears before death that he will die prior to the realisation of the motive behind his poetry. He will no more see the face of his beloved. Love and fame appear to him vain and every worldly thing loses its charm. John Keats, the poet in this beautiful sonnet anticipates his death and apprehends different fears. He might have written this sonnet anticipating that he might die at any moment as he died of consumption at the early age of twenty-six when he had sublime and dignified ideals in front of him to be achieved. That is why he fears that he might die before the realisation of his ideals. His apprehension of death may have deprived him of the joy of looking at his belovedís charming face. When death encroaches quite near, he realises the nothingness of love and fame. No doubt death is the time of sleep but it awakens the poet and he is revealed that fame, love and wealth which had been the centre of his activities in fact are nothing and nothing will sink into nothingness. He feels repentance that he neglected death which is the ultimate reality.
One must keep in his mind that the poet is not merely afraid of death, but his is afraid of death before the expression of his teeming brain, he is afraid because he finds himself standing on the shore of the world all alone, unaccompanied, without love and fame. Death without any achievement makes him worried, he knows that sooner or later he has to crease but before his death he wants to capture the beauties of night starred face, and huge floating clouds of sublime romantic thoughts. He finds the whole universe in front of him as a field of full-ripened grain; he is merely afraid of death before collecting and gathering the harvest and saving it in the bins to be relished by the coming generation. The poet is willing to die; he prefers death to life where love is unreflecting, he only loves objects of permanence. He is revealed while standing alone on the shore of the world that love and fame which are pursued blindly by Man or in fact to sink into the ocean of nothingness. The poet is of the opinion that permanence can only be achieved in the form of gleaning sublime romantic thoughts, creating things of beauty, pouring out the teeming brain. Keats' poetry was mainly concerned with beauty, love, romance and fame. This sonnet contains all these elements. All his life he cherished in his mind the idea of beauty, according to him ďa thing of beauty is a joy for ever.Ē Despite praising and enjoying beauty he led a dejected and melancholy life. He feared that he might miss the beauty of his thoughts, of romantic ideas, in case death approaches him untimely. He demands a span of time enough to harvest and collect the scattered grain of poetic lofty ideals and then wishes to die in contentment after fulfilment of his mission.

2005-12-05
Added by: Alex Semony
This poem brings me to tears. It makes me hope that his "teeming brain" expressed what it wanted to, and that his frustration with his creativity and with love one day eased.

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