Ali's Reviews > The Love Poems of John Keats: In Praise of Beauty

The Love Poems of John Keats by John Keats
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's review
Aug 24, 10

Read in August, 2010

It softens you, to read Keats. His are rounded, gentle, and sultry words-all "breathless" and "bliss" as any great Romantic poet must use-but he uses them to full effect in this small collection of his love poems. He is obviously tortured by his own passions, "O, the sweetness of the pain!" a point to which the Introduction writer (who is the antithesis of Keats-a fast-writing, fact-spewing, Manhattanite) seems to mock at times. Each of Keats' works seems diminished by a description by the historian. You'll read, "For, indeed, 'tis a sweet and peculiar pleasure (And blissful is he who such happiness finds), To possess but a span of the hour of leisure, In elegant, pure and aerial minds" in, "To Some Ladies" and find out (from our favorite Introduction-writer) that it was, "written for his cousins," or how "Fill for me a brimming bowl," was "about a woman he once saw at a park." He certainly succeeds in squashing the romance out of what could be called the most romantic language ever produced, before you ever have a chance to give Keats a chance.

I had forgotten how gorgeous Keats can be. In "To Fanny" who was his life long muse, he demonstrates his tortured, loving theme, "Ah, dearest love, sweet home of all my fears." He also pens some of the most beautiful euphemisms in the English language in the epic and visual, "The Eve of St. Agnes" about the quest of Porphyro to not awake the house as he attempts to find and woo the sleeping Madeline. It's beautiful and lilting with descriptions you can almost reach out and touch. Yet, he can be hilarious, too, as in "O blush not so! O blush not so!" when he writes, "And we have the prime of the kissing time,/ We have not one sweet tooth out!"

But, it is probably the fatalist in me that most loved, 'When I have fears that I may cease to be."

"...then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink"

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message 1: by Brian (new)

Brian I love Keats! "Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter..." And, yes, it's eerie how much of a foreboding sense he had of his own death (I think even before he contracted tuberculosis).

message 2: by Ali (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ali I guess much of his family died of T.B. He seemed to want to die...we are what we think---May I ask where your quote is from? Maybe I read it but didn't realize.

message 3: by Brian (new)

Brian The quote is from "Ode on a Grecian Urn"

message 4: by Ali (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ali Thank you!

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