200 years ago Keats writes ‘O for a Life of Sensations rather than of Thoughts!’

On 22 November 1817, Keats writes to his friend Benjamin Bailey

‘My dear Bailey…
‘I am certain of nothing but of the holiness of the Heart’s affections, and the truth of Imagination. What the Imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth — whether it existed before or not,— for I have the same Idea of all our Passions as of Love: they are all, in their sublime, creative of essential Beauty…
‘O for a Life of Sensations rather than of Thoughts!…
‘I scarcely remember counting upon any Happiness — I look not for it if it be not in the present hour,— nothing startles me beyond the moment. The Setting Sun will always set me to rights, or if a Sparrow come before my Window, I take part in its existence and pick about the gravel.’

John Keats: Parts of a letter to Benjamin Bailey 22 November 1817,  in which he outlines three vital parts of his philosophy.
Photo of the stepping stones over the River Mole at Burford Bridge, where Keats was staying when he wrote this letter.

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