John Keats, Portrait by William Hilton, after ...

John Keats, Portrait by William Hilton, after Joseph Severn (National Portrait Gallery, London). (Photo credit: Books18)


When I have Fears That I May Cease to Be


When I have fears that I may cease to be
   Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,
Before high-pilèd books, in charactery,
   Hold like rich garners the full ripened grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starred face,
   Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
   Their shadows with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
   That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
   Of unreflecting love—then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

2 responses »

  1. I haven’t thought about Keats or this marvelous poem in many years. Its poignant limning of an author’s doubts and fears is suddenly so moving to me, seems so accurate. What a happy accident to have stumbled on your post.

  2. Reblogged this on Margaret Langstaff and commented:
    A perdurable poet and poem. Rare and wonderful.

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