John Keats writes around Tuesday 13 August 1816

Seaside sunset 2

Around this time Keats writes two verse epistles. This is opening of the one to George Keats:

To my Brother George

Full many a dreary hour have I passed,
My brain bewildered, and my mind o’ercast
With heaviness; in seasons when I’ve thought
No sphery strains by me could e’er be caught
From the blue dome, though I to dimness gaze
On the far depth where sheeted lightning plays;
Or, on the wavy grass outstretched supinely,
Pry ’mong the stars, to strive to think divinely:
That I should never hear Apollo’s song,
Though feathery clouds were floating all along
The purple west, and, two bright streaks between,
The golden lyre itself were dimly seen:
That the still murmur of the honey bee
Would never teach a rural song to me:
That the bright glance from beauty’s eyelids slanting
Would never make a lay of mine enchanting,
Or warm my breast with ardour to unfold
Some tales of love and arms in time of old.
But there are times, when those that love the bay,
Fly from all sorrowing far, far away;
A sudden glow comes on them, naught they see
In water, earth, or air, but poesy…

‘To my brother George’ lines 1-22, written in Margate August 1816 while Keats is on holiday after qualifying as an apothecary, trying to decide whether to devote his life to medicine or to poetry. Another extract will appear for 19 August.


To My Brother George

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