While both Keats and Longfellow often reflect on their own unfulfilled dreams and impending deaths, the poems however contrast on their own dispositions towards death and the future. Here, Keats expresses a fear of not having enough time to accomplish all that he believes he is capable of doing, but as he recognizes the enormity of the world and his own limitations of life, he realizes that his own mortal goals are meaningless in the long run of things. On the other hand, Longfellow speaks of a regret towards his inaction for allowing time to slip away from him in his past and is at a crossroads for the ominous future that looms ahead of him. Through the use of light and dark imagery, and personification, Keats and Longfellow similarly yet also differently, reflect on their own ideas for death and the futures that lay ahead of them.
As people near the time of their deaths, they begin to reflect upon the history and events of their own lives. Both John Keats’ “When I have Fears” and Henry Longfellow’s “Mezzo Cammin” reflect upon the speakers’ fears and thoughts of death. However, the conclusions between these two poems end quite differently. Although both reflect upon Death’s grasp, Keats’ displays an appreciation and subtle satisfaction with the wonders of life, while Longfellow morbidly mourns his past inactions and fears what events the future may bring.
But, we should first and foremost put this sonnet back in its context. We can easily presume that it is autobiographic, thus that Keats reveals us his own worries. In 1818, he is aware that he has short time left to live due to the fatal illness
One characteristic embedded in the minds of almost all humans is that of succumbing in pursuit of one’s aspirations, especially with the approach of death. The fear and enigmatic mystery of death at the brink of this shortcoming may cause one who is near death to re-evaluate life as a wasted opportunity or a broken path of dreams because of the inability to find any type of success. The sonnets “Mezzo Cammin” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and “When I have Fears” by John Keats examine the thought processes of two people who submit to the struggles of life in a depressed way. While communicating a very similar foundational message and mood in a different way through diction and structure, the speakers in “Mezzo Cammin” and “When I Have Fears” identify their despair through likewise differing literary elements which complement and bring out the message intended by these troubled individuals.
While both Keats and Longfellow’s poems, “When I Have Fears” and “Mezzo Cammin,” focus on the unfulfillment of goals in life and the menacing appearance of death, their final assumptions of death are related but different. Both poems share similarity focusing on the poets’ thoughts as they contemplate the inevitability of their deaths and whether their accomplishments have meaning after death, but the poets exhibit a different attiutude towards their subject. Keats fears that he will not be able to fully accomplish his life goals before he dies, but he acknowledges the frivolity of earthly aspirations when faced with death. On the other hand, Longfellow, while also mourning the loss of his chance to accomplish his goals, maintains comfort in the past compared to the uncertain future. Longfellow maintains a grim, pessimistic tone throughout his poem juxtaposes the almost hopeful tone Keats exhibits throughout his poem. Through the use of imagery, literary devices, and diction, Keats and Longfellow convey their overall contrasting attitudes toward death.
“What do you want to do before you die?” It is a question asked in many situations; college interviews, when you discover a terminal illness, or even during a discussion in your English class. Usually it takes people a minute to think up their list of aspirations, though some can spurt out their compilation in a matter of seconds. It all depends on how much prior thought you’ve put into the topic. In my case, I’d never deeply considered what I’d like to accomplish before death until I read the poem “When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be” by John Keats. After reading this poem and understanding what Keats was saying, I took some time to compose a checklist for things to do while I have the time to do them. Before I die, I want to graduate
The twenty-four old romantic poet John Keats, “Ode on a Grecian Urn” written in the spring of 1819 was one of his last of six odes. That he ever wrote for he died of tuberculosis a year later. Although, his time as a poet was short he was an essential part of The Romantic period (1789-1832). His groundbreaking poetry created a paradigm shift in the way poetry was composed and comprehended. Indeed, the Romantic period provided a shift from reason to belief in the senses and intuition. “Keats’s poem is able to address some of the most common assumptions and valorizations in the study of Romantic poetry, such as the opposition between “organic culture” and the alienation of modernity”. (O’Rourke, 53) The irony of Keats’s Urn is he likens
Literature has a way of speaking to us. Its timelessness allows us to relate and connect with people from centuries before ours. John Keats’ When I Have Fears, discusses a topic that most people have thought about at least once in their lives; the fear of death.
“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time,” Mark Twain. A man named John Keats would have very muched enjoyed this line by famous writer Mark Twain. Keats, was a young poet born in England, and his poems are now extremely famous long after his death. Keats became very sick with what modern doctors call tuberculosis, so young Keats went to Rome hoping he would stave off the disease with the Mediterranean air. In the end he succumb to his illness, however I believe he teaches an important lesson with his move. He also asks a very important question surrounding death, what does someone want to do before they die? Personally, before I die I would love to travel to exotic places, start a wonderful family, and put myself in a position to help people by being a part of politics.
In his sonnet "On Seeing the Elgin Marbles for the First Time," John Keats presents a series of various forms of conflict and tension. Most prominent is the poet's sense of his own fleeting existence juxtaposed with the eternity of the Greek marble sculptures and, perhaps, with the timelessness of art in general. However, there is another, more subtle tension between what is in existence, and what is not, an absence which paradoxically manifests as a form of existence in itself. The presence of this conflict within the sonnet shows Keats's self-coined Negative Capability, the ability to be in "uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason" (Keats 863). Furthermore, the Negative Capability
The two poems, “When I Am Dead, My Dearest” by Christina Rossetti and “When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be” by John Keats are both revolving around the topic of death. Although the poems could not be more different, for both poets have two incredibly different views of death. Christina Rossetti seems to want her death to be a happy time, to remember all the good memories instead of mourning over the lost time, while John Keats poem pertains to being rushed, not having enough time in life to use. He fears his death will come sooner than he would prefer. He does not have enough time to participate in all the activities that he would enjoy. The author of this essay will compare and contrast both “When I Am Dead, My Dearest” by Christina Rossetti and “When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be” by John Keats, because the two poems are similar in topic but could not be more different in perspective, this is shown through examining the theme, tone, and imagery that are presented within the two poems.
John Keats addresses a very serious issue in his poem, “When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be”, when expressing his feelings about what he wants to accomplish before he passes from this world and goes onto the next. He says, “When I have fears that I may cease to be Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,” (Keats 1-2). Here, Keats states that he is afraid that he will die without having left his mark on humankind through poetry. He knows he was put on the earth to be a poet, and wants to reach his full potential in teaching the world life lesson through his poetry. Like Keats, many personages of the world have certain things they want to accomplish before
Everyone is fearful of dying. However, because each individual is unique, everyone has different levels of fear and varying regrets. In the early 1800s, a young poet named John Keats wrote “When I Have Fears” in which he explains his fears and regrets about death. Employing devices such as sophisticated abstract diction, figurative language, and symbols, John Keats shows that living as if tomorrow would never appear is an excellent way to abandon fears about death.
Despite his close association with romanticism, John Keats was not always a lover. A childhood friend said of Keats, “His penchant was for fighting. He would fight anyone (John).” Keats lived to be only twenty-five years old before dying of tuberculosis and spent several of those years training to become a surgeon before abandoning his apothecary studies to become a poet. The subject matter of Keats’ poetry ranges from politics, to Greek-style epics, to love letter odes to nature (John). Keats became more closely aligned with romanticism as he befriended other romantic era poets and was described as being part of a, “"new school" that would "revive Nature" and "put a spirit of youth in everything (John),”” by Examiner editor Leigh Hunt.