HAPPY BIRTHDAY – John Keats, born 31 October 1795
“‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’ – that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”
It was a wonderful day in history when John Keats entered this world. He left it far too soon, dying at the age of 25 in Rome, but he so hugely enriched the world of literature with his poems. I especially love La Belle Dame Sans Merci and the great odes – to Melancholy, to Autumn, to a Grecian Urn, to a Nightingale etc. One of my favourite paintings is the portrayal of La Belle Dame sans Merci by artist Sir Frank Dicksee.
One of the most moving literary visits you can make is to the Keats / Shelley House at the side of the Spanish Steps in Rome. It is in one of the small rooms there that Keats died, with the sounds of the fountains down below, and all the life and bustle on the steps reminding him of all of the joys of life he would lose when he died from TB. It is also very special visiting the Keats House in Hampstead in London. This was renovated a few years ago and is an excellent museum to Keats.
Celebrate the birthday of this wonderful human being by reading some of his poetry!
John Keats died on 23 February 1821 aged 25.
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