These are the words John Keats chose to epitomize his short, frustrating, and tragic life. They appear as his epitaph in Rome's Protestant cemetery. Often called the greatest English poet after Shakespeare, Keats had a lifelong preoccupation with early death. This sense of mortality, along with the poet's famous, unrequited love for Fanny Brawne, sparked dozens of finely written sonnets and lyrics of love.
This beautifully crafted collection contains some of the most heartfelt of Keats' personal poems. "La Belle Dame Sans Merci A Ballad" and "The Eve of St. Agnes" are paragons of the gothic lyric, wherein mysterious lovers, dream visions, and late-night fantasy come magically to life. Lighter verse, such as "Where be ye going, you Devon maid?" and such passionate, pensive poems as "When I have fears that I may cease to be" provide a personal glimpse of the young poet's dreams and dreads.
This selection of twenty-six poems also presents an introduction to the life of John Keats, notes on the indivdual poems, and ten illustrations, half of which are of biographical interest and half underscore thematic elements contained in the poems.