Update
The Oxford Biblical Studies Online and Oxford Islamic Studies Online have retired. Content you previously purchased on Oxford Biblical Studies Online or Oxford Islamic Studies Online has now moved to Oxford Reference, Oxford Handbooks Online, Oxford Scholarship Online, or What Everyone Needs to Know®. For information on how to continue to view articles visit the subscriber services page.
Dismiss
Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD REFERENCE (www.oxfordreference.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single entry from a reference work in OR for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 15 August 2022

John Keats 1795–1821
English poet 

  1. Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art.
     
    first line of sonnet (written 1819)
  2. A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
    Its loveliness increases; it will never
    Pass into nothingness.
     
    Endymion (1818) bk. 1, l. 1
  3. St Agnes' Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was!
    The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold.
     
    ‘The Eve of St Agnes’ (1820) st. 1
  4. Of candied apple, quince, and plum, and gourd;
    With jellies soother than the creamy curd,
    And lucent syrops, tinct with cinnamon.
     
    ‘The Eve of St Agnes’ (1820) st. 30
  5. Ever let the fancy roam,
    Pleasure never is at home.
     
    ‘Fancy’ (1820) l. 1
  6. Here are sweet peas, on tip-toe for a flight.
     
    ‘I stood tip-toe upon a little hill’ (1817)
  7. Oh, what can ail thee knight at arms
    Alone and palely loitering?
    The sedge has withered from the lake
    And no birds sing!
     
    ‘La belle dame sans merci’ (1820) st. 1
  8. I see a lily on thy brow
    With anguish moist and fever dew,
    And on thy cheeks a fading rose
    Fast withereth too.
     
    ‘La belle dame sans merci’ (1820) st. 3
  9. I met a lady in the meads
    Full beautiful, a faery's child
    Her hair was long, her foot was light
    And her eyes were wild.
     
    ‘La belle dame sans merci’ (1820) st. 4
  10. …La belle dame sans merci
    Thee hath in thrall.
     
    ‘La belle dame sans merci’ (1820) st. 10
  11. I saw their starved lips in the gloam
    With horrid warning gapèd wide
    And I awoke and found me here
    On the cold hill's side.
     
    ‘La belle dame sans merci’ (1820) st. 11
  12. She was a gordian shape of dazzling hue,
    Vermilion-spotted, golden, green, and blue;
    Striped like a zebra, freckled like a pard,
    Eyed like a peacock, and all crimson barred.
     
    ‘Lamia’ (1820) pt. 1, l. 47
  13. Do not all charms fly
    At the mere touch of cold philosophy?
     
    ‘Lamia’ (1820) pt. 2, l. 229
  14. Philosophy will clip an Angel's wings.
     
    ‘Lamia’ (1820) pt. 2, l. 234
  15. Souls of poets dead and gone,
    What Elysium have ye known,
    Happy field or mossy cavern,
    Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?
     
    ‘Lines on the Mermaid Tavern’ (1820)
  16. Thou still unravished bride of quietness,
    Thou foster-child of silence and slow time.
     
    ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ (1820) st. 1
  17. What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
    What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
     
    ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ (1820) st. 1
  18. Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
    Are sweeter.
     
    ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ (1820) st. 2
  19. For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!
     
    ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ (1820) st. 2
  20. For ever piping songs for ever new.
     
    ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ (1820) st. 3
  21. For ever warm and still to be enjoyed,
    For ever panting, and for ever young.
     
    ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ (1820) st. 3
  22. O Attic shape! Fair attitude!
     
    ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ (1820) st. 5
  23. Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought
    As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
     
    ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ (1820) st. 5
  24. ‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’—that is all
    Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
     
    ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn’ (1820) st. 5
  25. No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist
    Wolf's-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine.
     
    ‘Ode on Melancholy’ (1820) st. 1
  26. But when the melancholy fit shall fall
    Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
    That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,
    And hides the green hill in an April shroud;
    Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose.
     
    ‘Ode on Melancholy’ (1820) st. 2
  27. She dwells with Beauty—Beauty that must die;
    And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips
    Bidding adieu.
     
    ‘Ode on Melancholy’ (1820) st. 3
  28. My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
    My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
    Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains.
     
    ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ (1820) st. 1
  29. O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been
    Cooled a long age in the deep-delvèd earth,
    Tasting of Flora and the country green.
     
    ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ (1820) st. 2
  30. O for a beaker full of the warm South,
    Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
    With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
    And purple-stainèd mouth.
     
    ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ (1820) st. 2
  31. Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
    What thou among the leaves hast never known,
    The weariness, the fever, and the fret
    Here, where men sit and hear each other groan.
     
    ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ (1820) st. 3
  32. Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
    Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
    But on the viewless wings of Poesy.
     
    ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ (1820) st. 4
  33. Already with thee! tender is the night.
     
    ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ (1820) st. 4
  34. Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
    I have been half in love with easeful Death.
     
    ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ (1820) st. 6
  35. Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
    To cease upon the midnight with no pain.
     
    ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ (1820) st. 6
  36. Thou wast not born for death, immortal bird!
    No hungry generations tread thee down.
     
    ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ (1820) st. 7
  37. Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
    Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
    She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
    The same that oft-times hath
    Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam
    Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.
     
    ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ (1820) st. 7
  38. Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
    To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
    Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
    As she is famed to do, deceiving elf.
     
    ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ (1820) st. 8
  39. Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
    Fled is that music:—do I wake or sleep?
     
    ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ (1820) st. 8
  40. Much have I travelled in the realms of gold,
    And many goodly states and kingdoms seen.
     
    ‘On First Looking into Chapman's Homer’ (1817)
  41. Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
    When a new planet swims into his ken;
    Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
    He stared at the Pacific—and all his men
    Looked at each other with a wild surmise—
    Silent, upon a peak in Darien.
     
    ‘On First Looking into Chapman's Homer’ (1817)
  42. The poetry of earth is never dead.
     
    ‘On the Grasshopper and Cricket’ (1817)
  43. Turn the key deftly in the oilèd wards,
    And seal the hushèd casket of my soul.
     
    ‘Sonnet to Sleep’ (written 1819)
  44. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
    Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
    Conspiring with him how to load and bless
    With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run.
     
    ‘To Autumn’ (1820) st. 1
  45. Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
     
    ‘To Autumn’ (1820) st. 2
  46. Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
    Think not of them, thou hast thy music too.
     
    ‘To Autumn’ (1820) st. 3
  47. Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
    Among the river sallows, borne aloft
    Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies.
     
    ‘To Autumn’ (1820) st. 3
  48. It is a flaw
    In happiness, to see beyond our bourn—
    It forces us in summer skies to mourn:
    It spoils the singing of the nightingale.
     
    ‘To J. H. Reynolds, Esq.’ (written 1818)
  49. To one who has been long in city pent,
    'Tis very sweet to look into the fair
    And open face of heaven.
     
    ‘To one who has been long in city pent’ (1817); see Milton
  50. When I have fears that I may cease to be
    Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain.
     
    ‘When I have fears that I may cease to be’ (written 1818)
  51. When I behold, upon the night's starred face
    Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance.
     
    ‘When I have fears that I may cease to be’ (written 1818)
  52. Then on the shore
    Of the wide world I stand alone and think
    Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.
     
    ‘When I have fears that I may cease to be’ (written 1818)
  53. I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart's affections and the truth of imagination—what the imagination seizes as beauty must be truth—whether it existed before or not.
    letter to Benjamin Bailey, 22 November 1817; see Keats
  54. O for a life of sensations rather than of thoughts!
    letter to Benjamin Bailey, 22 November 1817
  55. Negative Capability, that is when man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.
    letter to George and Thomas Keats, 21 December 1817
  56. There is nothing stable in the world—uproar's your only music.
    letter to George and Thomas Keats, 13 January 1818, in H. E. Rollins (ed.) Letters of John Keats (1958) vol. 1
  57. Almost any man may, like the spider, spin from his own inwards his own airy citadel.
    letter to J. H. Reynolds, 19 February 1818
  58. If poetry comes not as naturally as the leaves to a tree it had better not come at all.
    letter to John Taylor, 27 February 1818
  59. It is impossible to live in a country which is continually under hatches…Rain! Rain! Rain!
    letter to J. H. Reynolds from Devon, 10 April 1818
  60. I am in that temper that if I were under water I would scarcely kick to come to the top.
    letter to Benjamin Bailey, 25 May 1818
  61. That which is creative must create itself.
    letter to Hessey, 8 October 1818
  62. The Wordsworthian or egotistical sublime.
    letter to Richard Woodhouse, 27 October 1818
  63. Call the world if you please ‘The vale of soul-making’.
    letter to George and Georgiana Keats, 21 April 1819, in H. E. Rollins (ed.) Letters of John Keats (1958) vol. 2
  64. I have met with women whom I really think would like to be married to a poem and to be given away by a novel.
    letter to Fanny Brawne, 8 July 1819
  65. I am convinced more and more day by day that fine writing is next to fine doing the top thing in the world.
    letter to J. H. Reynolds, 24 August 1819
  66. The only means of strengthening one's intellect is to make up one's mind about nothing—to let the mind be a thoroughfare for all thoughts. Not a select party.
    letter to George and Georgiana Keats, 24 September 1819, in H. E. Rollins (ed.) Letters of John Keats (1958) vol. 2
  67. If you should have a boy do not christen him John…'Tis a bad name and goes against a man. If my name had been Edmund I should have been more fortunate.
    letter to his sister-in-law, 13 January 1820
  68. ‘Load every rift’ of your subject with ore.
    letter to Shelley, August 1820; see Spenser
  69. Here lies one whose name was writ in water.
    epitaph for himself
    Richard Monckton Milnes Life, Letters and Literary Remains of John Keats (1848) vol. 2; see Shakespeare