John Keats, 1795-1821

This living hand, now warm and capable
Of earnest grasping, would, if it were cold
And in the icy silence of the tomb,
So haunt thy days and chill thy dreaming nights
That thou would wish thine own heart dry of blood
So in my veins red life might stream again,
And thou be conscience-calm’d–see here it is–
I hold it towards you.


Grim said...

I didn’t realize that he died so young.

Stuart said...

Keats was the best. This was likely a marriage proposal, or the draft of a marriage proposal, to Fanny Brawne. Keats knew he was dying of TB, thus the mood of the verse. TB used to be a death sentence, and he did die two years later. They never married. This piece is a very direct appeal to her. He was really suffering from TB. Earlier in the year he had written in Ode to A Nightingale:

Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,...

Keats died in Rome in an apartment at the top of the Spanish Steps.

PS My first post here, but I have enjoyed this blog for years.

Grim said...

Good to meet you. Feel welcome to post more if you like.