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The Insight of Keats


One of the main figures of the Romantic movement, John Keats (1795 – 1821) only managed to get into publication four years before his death. His poems were not generally well received by critics during his lifetime, but by the end of the 19th century, he had not only become one of the most beloved of all English poets, but had had a significant influence. Keats’ poetry is characterised by sensuality, typical of romantic poets: natural imagery was a way of expressing deep emotion. Poems and letters by Keats are now frequently analysed. Here is a section of quotes from them.

'There is nothing stable in the world; uproar's your only music.’

'My love is selfish. I cannot breathe without you.'

'Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard, are sweeter'

'My imagination is a monastery, and I am its monk’

'Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?'

'We read fine things but never feel them to the full until we have gone the same steps as the author.'

'I almost wish we were butterflies and liv'd but three summer days - three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.'

'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.’

'Give me books, French wine, fruit, fine weather and a little music played out of doors by somebody I do not know.'

'Whatever the imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth - whether it existed before or not'

'A thing of beauty is a joy forever.'

'I have been astonished that men could die martyrs

for their religion--

I have shuddered at it,

I shudder no more.

I could be martyred for my religion.

Love is my religion

and I could die for that.

I could die for you.

My Creed is Love and you are its only tenet.'

'You are always new. The last of your kisses was even the sweetest; the last smile the brightest; the last movement the gracefullest.’

'I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the Heart's affections and the truth of the Imagination.'

'I have good reason to be content,

for thank God I can read and

perhaps understand Shakespeare to his depths.’

'Nothing ever becomes real 'til it is experienced.'

'A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:

Its loveliness increases; it will never

Pass into nothingness; but still will keep

A bower quiet for us, and a sleep

Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.'

'Touch has a memory.'

'I want a brighter word than bright.’

'The poetry of the earth is never dead.'

'Tis 'the witching time of night', / Orbed is the moon and bright, / And the stars they glisten, glisten, / Seeming with bright eyes to listen —'

'I am in that temper that if I were under water I would scarcely kick to come to the top.'

'Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter: therefore, ye soft pipes, play on.'

'The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizons are limited by the obvious realities. We need men who can dream of things that never were.'

'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all

Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know'

'Life is but a day:

A fragile dewdrop on its perilious way

From a tree's summit'

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