Tuesday, July 5, 2011




John Keats

(1795 - 1821)

Souls of Poets dead and gone,
What Elysium have ye known,
Happy field or mossy cavern,
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?
Have ye tippled drink more fine
Than mine host's Canary wine:
Or are fruits of Paradise
Sweeter than those dainty pies
Of Venison?  O generous food!
Drest as though bold Robin Hood
Would, with his Maid Marian,
Sup and bowse from horn and can.

I have heard that on a day
Mine host's sign-board flew away
Nobody knew whither, till
An astrologer's old quill
To a sheepskin gave the story --
Said he saw you in your glory
Underneath a new-old Sign
Sipping beverage divine,
And pledging with contented smack
The Mermaid in the Zodiac!

Souls of Poets dead and gone,
What Elysium have ye known --
Happy field or mossy cavern
Choicer than the Mermaid Tavern?

Bio:  Born in London in 1795, Keats became a medical student. Introduced to the Romantics by Leigh Hunt, he became acquainted with Shelley.  In 1816, he published his first set of sonnets in the Examiner.  This was followed a year later by his first book of poems. Although not initially a success, his second book, Lamia and Other Poems, included his most endearing works.  Dying of tuberculosis, he sailed to Italy, where he died in Rome in 1821. 

No comments:

Post a Comment