John Keats, English Romatic Poet

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“I have met with women who I really think would like to be married to a poem, and to be given away by a novel.”

“I wish to believe in immortality — I wish to live with you forever.”

“There is a budding tomorrow in midnight.”

“The air I breathe in a room empty of you is unhealthy.”

“The poetry of the Earth is never dead.”

John Keats was the eldest of five children born to a lower-middle class family in London. When his father fell off a horse and died, he left a large inheritance which John didn’t receive. His mother remarried, but the five children were sent to live with her parents. She joined them when the marriage failed. She died in 1810 and her parents died in 1814. Keats and his siblings didn’t receive their inheritance due to a dishonest guardian. John apprenticed with a surgeon in 1811 until 1814. While working in a London hospital as a junior apothecary and surgeon in charge of dressing wounds, he met Leigh Hunt, a poet and author and became friends with Percy Bysshe Shelley. They encouraged him to write poetry and he was 18 when he wrote his first poem. His first book, Poems, appeared in 1817.

The next year, his health began to fail, his financial difficulties got worse, his brother Tom battled tuberculosis, and the other brother was left penniless from a poor investment. John’s fiancee, Fanny Brawne, brought him happiness in spite of all the family troubles. In 1819, John wrote brilliant work, including, “Ode on a Grecian Urn,”  and “Ode to a Nightingale.”

In 1820, John’s tuberculosis became worse. He moved to Italy for the warm climate to ease his condition but he died there in February 1821 at 25 years old. An English Romantic poet left us too soon.  (Information from

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