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Bright Star by John Keats
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Video Details for Bright Star by John Keats
Heres a virtual movie of the great John Keats (1795 - 1821) reading his much loved sonnet "Bright Star". This famous sonnet was written by Keats in Joseph Severn's copy of The Poetical Works of William Shakespeare opposite the poem 'A Lover's Complaint'. Because it was written during Keats and Severn's voyage to Italy, many people (including Severn) believed it to be Keats's last poem. It was actually titled 'Keats's Last Sonnet' by Milnes in his 1848 biography of Keats.
John Keats was born on October 31, 1795 in London. His parents were Frances Jennings and Thomas Keats. John Keats was educated at Enfield School, which was known for its liberal education. While at Enfield, Keats was encouraged by Charles Cowden Clarke in his reading and writing. After the death of his parents when he was fourteen, Keats became apprenticed to a surgeon. In 1815 he became a student at Guy's Hospital. However, after qualifying to become an apothecary-surgeon, Keats gave up the practice of Medicine to become a poet. Keats had begun writing as early as 1814 and his first volume of poetry was published in 1817.
In 1818 Keats took a long walking tour in the British Isles that led to a prolonged sore throat, which was to become a first symptom of the disease that killed his mother and brother, tuberculosis. After he concluded his walking tour, Keats settled in Hampstead. Here he and Fanny Brawne met and fell in love. However, they were never able to marry because of his health and financial situation. Between the Fall of 1818 and 1820 Keats produces some of his best known works, such as La Belle Dame sans Merci and Lamia. After 1820 Keats' illness became so severe that he had to leave England for the warmer climate of Italy. In 1821 he died of tuberculosis in Rome. He is buried there in the Protestant cemetery.
by John Keats
Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art--
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever--or else swoon to death.
Video Copyright © Jim Clark 2011