John Keats on a fair summer’s eve in June 1816

Around the 18th June 1816 Keats writes a sonnet:

O! how I love, on a fair summer’s eve,
When streams of light pour down the golden west,
And on the balmy zephyrs tranquil rest
The silver clouds, far—far away to leave
All meaner thoughts, and take a sweet reprieve
From little cares; to find, with an easy quest,
A fragrant wild, with Nature’s beauty dressed,
And there into delight my soul deceive.
There warm my breast with patriotic lore,
Musing on Milton’s fate— on Sidney’s bier—
Till their stern forms before my mind arise:
Perhaps on the wing of Poesy upsoar,
Full often dropping a delicious tear,
When some melodious sorrow spells mine eyes.

Charles Cowden Clarke, the son of Keats’s former school-teacher, recalled:
‘In one of our conversations, about this period, I alluded to his position at St. Thomas’s Hospital, coasting and reconnoitring, as it were, for the purpose of discovering what progress he was making in his profession… and with that transparent candour which formed the mainspring of his rule of conduct, he at once made no secret of his inability to sympathize with the science of anatomy, as a main pursuit in life… He said, in illustration of his argument, “The other day, for instance, during the lecture, there came a sunbeam into the room, and with it a whole troop of creatures floating in the ray; and I was off with them to Oberon and fairyland.”’

Charles and Mary Cowden Clarke Recollections of Writers (1878; Fontwell: Centaur Press 1969) 131-2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.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