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John Keats was born on October 31, 1775 in London. His parents were
Frances Jennings and Thomas Keats. John Keats was educated at Enfield
School, which was known for its liberal education. While at Enfield, Keats was
encouraged by Charles Cowden Clarke in his reading and writing. After the
death of his parents when he was fourteen, Keats became apprenticed to a
surgeon. In 1815 he became a student at Guy's Hospital. However, after
qualifying to become an apothecary-surgeon, Keats gave up the practice of
Medicine to become a poet. Keats had begun writing as early as 1814 and his
first volume of poetry was published in 1817.
In 1818 Keats took a long walking tour in the British Isles that led to a
prolonged sore throat, which was to become a first symptom of the disease
that killed his mother and brother, tuberculosis. After he concluded his
walking tour, Keats settled in Hampstead. Here he and Fanny Brawne met
and fell in love. However, they were never able to marry because of his
health and financial situation. Between the Fall of 1818 and 1820 Keats
produces some of his best known works, such as La Belle Dame sans Merci
and Lamia. After 1820 Keats' illness became so severe that he had to leave
England for the warmer climate of Italy. In 1821 he died of tuberculosis in
Rome. He is buried there in the Protestant cemetery.
As Hermes once took to his feathers light,
When lulled Argus, baffled, swooned and slept,
So on a Delphic reed, my idle spright
So played, so charmed, so conquered, so bereft
The dragon-world of all its hundred eyes;
And seeing it asleep, so fled away,
Not to pure Ida with its snow-cold skies,
Nor unto Tempe, where Jove grieved a day;
But to that second circle of sad Hell,
Where in the gust, the whirlwind, and the flaw
Of rain and hail-stones, lovers need not tell
Their sorrows. Pale were the sweet lips I saw,
Pale were the lips I kissed, and fair the form
I floated with, about that melancholy storm.
Now bringing you back...
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