John Keats died of tuberculosis at 25.
I have his strongest poem here (internal link). But his most famous line is,
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”
The epitaph on his grave reads, “Here lies one whose name was writ on water.”
Life tells us to seize the day but Practicality whimpers otherwise.
Keats had few restraints. Or time. Perhaps that best brought out this gifted poet.
Few will ever have the money, time, or blithe disregard to carry out the romantic and sexual impulses that all of us have. Keats did.
Keats didn’t die for his art but rather he lived out his art.
We allow rogues when they are this talented. And this doomed.
Rest in Peace, John Keats.
Over the Hill and Over the Dale
by John Keats (1795 – 1821)
Over the hill and over the dale,
And over the bourn to Dawlish —
Where gingerbread wives have a scanty sale
And gingerbread nuts are smallish.
Rantipole Betty she ran down a hill
And kicked up her petticoats fairly;
Says I I’ll be Jack if you will be Gill —
So she sat on the grass debonairly.
“Here’s somebody coming, here’s somebody coming!”
Says I “Tis the wind at a parley.”
So without any fuss any hawing and humming
She lay on the grass debonairly.
Here’s somebody here and here’s somebody there!
Says I hold your tongue you young gipsy;
So she held her tongue and lay plump and fair
And dead as a Venus tipsy.
O who wouldn’t hie to Dawlish fair,
O who wouldn’t stop in a Meadow,
O [who] would not rumple the daisies there
And make the wild fern for a bed do!
Teignmouth, Spring 1818.