John Keats Biography

John Keats Biography

Life and Works of John Keats

John Keats was one of the greatest Romantic poets of the early 19th century. He was born on the 29th October (or 31st) 1795 at the Swan and Hoop. Finsbury Pavement, London. His father, Thomas Keats, was a livery stable-keeper who married his master’s daughter. Miss Francis Jennings and acquired the business of his father-in-law. The birth of an immoral poetic geniusm, such as Keats, in such a family is really a matter of great surprise. The family had no artistic tradition and surroundings to arouse and awaken poetic talents. It is certainly an example of the inscrutable laws of nature. Keats was the eldest of four sons and one daughter.

Keats was sent to a private school kept by the Rev. J. Clarke at Enfield at the age of eight. In 1804, Keats was berett of his father. Though his father engaged in a not a very respectable occupation, he was ambitious to give his children the best education. A few years later, Keat’s mother also died of consumption in the year 1810. She was a woman of uncommon talents and was extremely fond of her eldest son, John Keats.

Keats was very happy in the private school of Rey. Clarke who took lively interest in imparting a very valuable liberal education to this students. Though Keats did not earn any reputation for scholarship, the teacher sitimulated in him great passion for reading. However, in order to earn his own livelihood. Keats was withdrawn from school and was apprenticed to a surgeon named Dr. Hammond. But Keats continued to pay frequent visits to his teachers and borrowed books from them. He also finished his maiden literary production, a translation of Virgil’s Aeneid. Keats was also initiated by Clarke into reading Spenser’s “Faerie Queen” which left an indelible impression on the mind of the young poet.

Keats had his first acquaintance with Sponsor at the age of seventeen. It was an epochal event in his life. The romantic realms of Sponsor deeply captivated the fancy of Keats and subsequently in 1812, he composed the “Imitation of Spenser’s. Though still attached to medicine, Keats took great intrest in Virgil. Shakespeare, Milton and other poets. In most of these readings. Cowden Clarke had been his companion, mentor and guide. Clarke had also introduced Keats to Homer’s poems Leigh Hunt who was then a recognised personality in the world of literature. Keat’s poetic zeal was also deeply fed by Haydon a painter, who was highly enthusiastic and exuberant. The magical effect of the friends and cricumstances on the sensitive and young Keats created an insatiate third for poetry and in a letter to his friend John Reynolds Keats wrote.

“I find I cannot exist without poetry-without eternal poetry-I began with a little, but habit has made me a leviathan.”

Keats met Fanny Brawne in 1818 and his infaturation for that maiden increased everyday. The same year, Keat’s brother Thomas succumbed to that fatal family disease of consumption. In 1818, there also came a savage and unmerited attack on Keat’s poems by the influential magazines. “Blackwood’s” and “Quarterly”. In September 1820, Keats started for Naples under medical advice. On the 23rd Feb. 1821 at the young age of hardly twenty six, Keats yielded to the stubborn disease and was buried in Rome on the 27th Feb. 1821. Keats was no doubt one of the greatest poets of England and had he been spared a few years more he might have excelled the greatest of the poets. Shelley has rightly remarked that Keats was one of “the inheritors of unfulfilled renown.”

John Keat’s poetical works

John Keats the great poet of the Romantic period produced all his great work from 1871 to 1820, Keats died very young at the tender age of twenty six. His death was the greatest loss that English poetry sustained. But whatever Keats has left behind is so beautiful and charming that posterity is much indebted to him for his poetic heritage. The first volume of his poems’ was published in the year 1817. It contained about seventeen sonnets, ‘I stood tip-top upon a little hill’. Three rhymed epistles and a few other poems. Then “Endymian” was published in the year 1818 and finally came “Lamia Isabella. The Eve of St. Agnes’ and other peoms in 1820. It also contained the Odes, ‘Hyperion’ and several other poems. There is also
a considerable body of miscellaneous collected after Keat’s death which includes “The Eve of St. Mark” “La Belle Dain Sans Merci” and some of his finest sonnets.

Despite his growing ill-health, he continued to work for another year which produced his great ‘Odes’, all written during 1819. The doctors advised him to go to South for a warmer climate in September 1820. His loving friend and artist, Sever, accompanied and nursed him tenderly in whose arms he breathed his last in February 1821. Of the Romantics, he was the last to be born and the first to die. He died at the age of 26. He was buried in Rome and his epitaph, as he had wished, bore the words : “Here lies one whose name was write in water.”

He wrote several beautiful poems; ‘Endymion’, Isabella, Hyperion. The Eve of St. Agnes, La Belle Dame Sans Merci, and Lamia are his immortal poems. Ode to a Nightingale, Ode on a Grecian Urn, Ode to Psyche, Ode to Melancholy, Ode to Autumn, and Ode to Indolence, are his great Odes.

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