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Keats and Burns

11/07/2012

 

  On this day in 1818, John Keats, the famous English romantic poet, visited Robert Burns’ first home while on a walking tour in the North of Scotland, where he composed the following Sonnet (www.todayinliterature.com):

Written In The Cottage Where Burns Was Born:

This mortal body of a thousand days

Now fills, O Burns, a space in thine own room,

Where thou didst dream alone on budded bays,

Happy and thoughtless of thy day of doom!

My pulse is warm with thine old Barley-bree,

My head is light with pledging a great soul,

My eyes are wandering, and I cannot see,

Fancy is dead and drunken at its goal;

Yet can I stamp my foot upon thy floor,

Yet can I ope thy window-sash to find

The meadow thou hast tramped o'er and o'er --

Yet, can I think of thee till thought is blind, --

Yet can I gulp a bumper to thy name, --

O smile among the shades, for this is fame!

Source:  The poetical works of John Keats.

  It was only three years later when John Keats was laid to rest, but the period of time that followed this sonnet is considered his most productive.  During this period he wrote his famous Odes which are still studied by high school students and university students around the world.  To read more poems by Keats or for biographies about him, visit the literature and biography sections here at the Ottawa Public Library.