200 years ago Keats wrote these chilling lines

Around December 1819, Keats wrote these lines on a blank space in  ‘The Cap and Bells, or The Jealousies’ (the poem he was composing at the time):

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.

[This could have been Keats practising his dramatic style—or possibly expressing his anguish over Miss Brawne. He would live for another 14 months, but, as his biographer Walter Jackson Bate noted, these were ‘the last serious lines he was ever to write.’]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *