'I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the Heart's affections and the truth of Imagination'
Keat's first volume of poems, published in 1817, demonstrated both his belief in the consummate power of poetry and his liberal views. While he was criticized by many for his politics, his immediate circle of friends and family immediately recognized his genius. In his short life he proved to be one of the greatest and most original thinkers of the second generation of Romantic poets, with such poems as 'Ode to a Nightingale', 'On First Looking into Chapman's Homer', 'La Belle Dame sans Merci' and 'The Fall of Hyperion'. While his writing is illuminated by exaltation of the imagination and abounds with sensuous descriptions of nature's beauty, it also explores profound philosophical questions.
John Barnard's acclaimed volume contaiins all the poems known to have been written by Keats, arranged by date of composition. The texts are lightly modernized and are complemented by extensive notes, a textual introduction, an index of classical names, selected extracts from Keat's letters and a number of pieces not widely available, including his annotations to Milton's Paradise Lost.
About The Author
John Keats was born in October 1795, son of the manager of a livery stable in Moorfields. His father died in 1804 and his mother, of tuberculosis, in 1810. By then he had received a good education at John Clarke’s Enfield private school. In 1811 he was apprenticed to a surgeon, completing his professional training at Guy’s Hospital in 1816. His decision to commit himself to poetry rather than a medical career was a courageous one, based more on a challenge to himself than any actual achievement.
His genius was recognized and encouraged by early Mends like Charles Cowden Clarke and J. H. Reynolds, and in October 1816 he met Leigh Hunt, whose Examiner had already published Keats’s first poem. Only seven months later Poems (1817) appeared. Despite the high hopes of the Hunt circle, it was a failure. By the time Endymion was published in 1818 Keats’s name had been identified with Hunt’s ‘Cockney School’, and the Tory Blackwood’s Magazine delivered a violent attack on Keats as a lower-class vulgarian, with no right to aspire to ‘poetry’.
But for Keats fame lay not in contemporary literary politics but with posterity. Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, and Wordsworth were his inspiration and challenge. The extraordinary speed with which Keats matured is evident from his letters. In 1818 he had worked on the powerful epic fragment Hyperion, and in 1819 he wrote ‘The Eve of St Agnes’, ‘La Belle Dame sans Merci’, the major odes, Lamia, and the deeply exploratory Fall of Hyperion. Keats was already unwell when preparing the 1820 volume for the press; by the time it appeared in July he was desperately ill. He died in Rome in 1821. Keats’s final volume did receive some contemporary critical recognition, but it was not until the latter part of the nineteenth century that his place in English Romanticism began to be recognized, and not until this century that it became fully recognized.
Note to the Third Edition
Table of Dates
Imitation of Spenser
"Fill for me a brimming bowl"
To Lord Byron
"As from the darkening gloom a silver dove"
"Can death be sleep, when life is but a dream"
Written on the Day that Mr. Leigh Hunt left Prison
Ode to Apollo ("In thy western halls of gold")
Lines Written on 29 May The Anniversary of the Restoration of Charles the 2nd
To Some Ladies
On Receiving a Curious Shell, and a Copy of Verses, from the Same Ladies
Song ("Stay, ruby-breasted warbler, stay")
"Woman! when I behold thee flippant, vain"
"O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell"
To George Felton Mathew
To [Mary Frogley]
To -- ("Had I a man's fair form, then might my sighs")
"Give me Women, Wine, and Snuff"
Specimen of an Induction to a Poem
Calidore. A Fragment
"To one who has been long in city pent"
"O! how I love, on a fair summer's eve"
To a Friend who Sent me some Roses
To my Brother George ("Many the wonders I this day have seen")
To Charles Cowden Clarke
"How many bards gild the lapses of time!"
On First Looking into Chapman's Homer
To a Young Lady who sent me a Laurel Crown
On Leaving some Friends at an Early Hour
"Keen, fitful gusts are whispering here and there"
Addressed to Haydon
To my Brothers
Addressed to [Haydon]
"I stood tip-toe upon a little hill"
Sleep and Poetry
Written in Disgust of Vulgar Superstition
On the Grasshopper and Cricket
To G[eorgiana] A[ugusta] W[ylie]
"Happy is England! I could be content"
"After dark vapours have oppressed our plains"
To Leigh Hunt, Esq.
Written on a Blank Space at the End of Chaucer's Tale of The Floure and the Leafe
On Receiving a Laurel Crown from Leigh Hunt
To the Ladies who Saw Me Crowned
Ode to Apollo ("God of the golden bow")
On Seeing the Elgin Marbles
To B. R. Haydon, with a Sonnet Written on Seeing the Elgin Marbles
On The Story of Rimini
On a Leander Gem which Miss Reynolds, my Kind Friend, Gave Me
On the Sea
Lines ("Unfelt, unheard, unseen")
Stanzas ("You say you love; but with a voice")
"Hither, hither, love -"
Lines Rhymed in a Letter Received (by J. H. Reynolds) From Oxford
"Think not of it, sweet one, so - "
Endymion: A Poetic Romance
"In drear-nighted December"
Apollo to the Graces
To Mrs. Reynolds's Cat
On Seeing a Lock of Milton's Hair. Ode
On Sitting Down to Read King Lear Once Again
"When I have fears that I may cease to be"
"O blush not so! O blush not so!"
"Hence Burgundy, Claret, and Port"
"God of the meridian"
Lines on the Mermaid Tavern
To - ("Time's sea hath been five years at its slow ebb")
To the Nile
"Spenser! a jealous honourer of thine"
"Blue! 'Tis the life of heaven, the domain"
"O thou whose face hath felt the Winter's wind"
Sonnet to A[ubrey] G[eorge] S[pencer]
Extracts from an Opera
i. "O! were I one of the Olympian twelve"
ii. Daisy's Song
iii. Folly's Song
iv. "O, I am frightened with most hateful thoughts"
v. Song ("The stranger lighted from his steed")
vi. "Asleep! O sleep a little while, white pearl!"
The Human Seasons
"For there's Bishop's Teign"
"Where be ye going, you Devon maid?"
"Over the hill and over the dale"
To J. H. Reynolds, Esq.
To J[ames] R[ice]
Isabella; or, The Pot of Basil
Ode to May. Fragment
"Sweet, sweet is the greeting of eyes"
On Visiting the Tomb of Burns
"Old Meg she was a gipsy"
A Song about Myself
"Ah! ken ye what I met the day"
To Ailsa Rock
"This mortal body of a thousand days"
"All gentle folks who owe a grudge"
"Of late two dainties were before me placed"
Lines Written in the Highlands after a Visit to Burns's Country
On Visiting Staffa
"Read me a lesson, Muse, and speak it loud"
"Upon my life, Sir Nevis, I am piqued"
Stanzas on some Skulls in Beauly Abbey, near Inverness
Translated from Ronsard
"'Tis 'the witching time of night'"
"Welcome joy, and welcome sorrow"
Song ("Spirit that here reignest")
"Where's the Poet? Show him, show him"
Fragment of the "Castle Builder"
"And what is love? It is a doll dressed up"
Hyperion. A Fragment
Ode ("Bards of Passion and of Mirth")
Song ("I had a dove and the sweet dove died")
Song ("Hush, hush! tread softly! hush, hush my dear!")
The Eve of St. Agnes
The Eve of St. Mark
"Gif ye wol stonden hardie wight"
"Why did I laugh tonight?"
Faery Bird's Song ("Shed no tear - O, shed no tear!")
Faery Song ("Ah! woe is me! poor silver-wing!")
"When they were come unto the Faery's Court"
"The House of Mourning written by Mr. Scott"
Character of Charles Brown
A Dream, after reading Dante's Episode of Paolo and Francesca
La Belle Dame Sans Merci. A Ballad
Song of Four Faeries
"If by dull rhymes our English must be chained"
Ode to Psyche
On Fame (I) ("Fame, like a wayward girl, will still be coy")
On Fame (II) ("How fevered is the man who cannot look")
"Two or three posies"
Ode on a Grecian Urn
Ode to a Nightingale
Ode on Melancholy
Ode on Indolence
Otho the Great. A Tragedy in Five Acts
"Pensive they sit, and roll their languid eyes"
The Fall of Hyperion. A Dream
"The day is gone, and all its sweets are gone"
"What can I do to drive away"
"I cry your mercy, pity, love - ay, love"
"Bright star! would I were as steadfast as thou art"
King Stephen. A Fragment of a Tragedy
"This living hand, now warm and capable"
The Cap and Bells; or, The Jealousies
"In after-time, a sage of mickle lore"
Three Undated Fragments
"See, the ship in the bay is riding"
Appendix 1: Wordsworth and Hazlitt on the Origins of Greek Mythology
Appendix 2: The Two Prefaces to Endymion
Appendix 3: The Order of Poems in Poems (1817) and Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems (1820) and The Publisher's Advertisement for 1820
Appendix 4: Keats's Notes on Milton's Paradise Lost
Appendix 5: Keats on Kean's Shakespearean Acting
Appendix 6: Selection of Keats's Letters
Dictionary of Classical Names
Index of Titles
Index of First Lines
Series: Penguin English Poets
For Ages: 18+ years old
Number Of Pages: 752
Published: August 1977
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.8
Weight (kg): 0.5