200 years ago Keats wrote a sonnet in praise of Edmund Spenser

On Thursday 5 February 1818, Keats wrote to his publisher John Taylor ‘I have finish’d coppying my Second Book [of Endymion] but I want it for one day to overlook it.’

He also wrote a sonnet praising Edmund Spenser, who was one of his literary heroes at the time.

Spenser! a jealous honourer of thine,
A forester deep in thy midmost trees,
Did last eve ask my promise to refine
Some English that might strive thine ear to please.
But, Elfin Poet, ’tis impossible
For an inhabitant of wintry earth
To rise like Phoebus with a golden quell,
Fire-winged, and make a morning in his mirth.
It is impossible to escape from toil
O’ the sudden and receive thy spiriting:
The flower must drink the nature of the soil
Before it can put forth its blossoming.
Be with me in the summer days and I
Will for thine honour and his pleasure try.

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