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When I Have Fears

  • When I have fears that I may cease to be 
  • Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
  • Before high-piled books, in charactery,
  • Hold like rich garners the full ripen’d grain;
  • When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d 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. 


John Keats (1795–1821) was one of the greatest English poets of the 19th Century. Although he died young from tuberculosis and published only three slim volumes of poetry, he is one of the most loved and honored poets in our language. But during his own lifetime he was frequently attacked by the literary critics. John Gibson Lockhart called him an “upstart Cockney poetaster” and characterized his work as mawkish and bad-mannered; while John Wilson Croker characterized his poetry as consisting of “the most incongruous ideas in the most uncouth language.”

In 1804 Keats’s father, the owner of a livery stable, died following a stumble his horse took. Keats’s mother remarried unhappily, lost some of her inheritance to her second husband, and died of tuberculosis in 1809. In 1811 John was apprenticed to a surgeon. An avid reader, it was apparently Spenser’s The Faerie Queen that awakened his genius for poetic composition. He became friends with the political “radical” editor Leigh Hunt and became enthralled with the idea of democratic reforms in Great Britain.

Keats spent the summer of 1818 on a walking tour in Northern England and Scotland, and after returning home to care for his brother, Tom, who suffered from tuberculosis, he fell in love with Fanny Brawne, a love cut short by his own tuberculosis. Keats went to Rome with his friend, the painter Joseph Severn seeking a warm climate for the winter and died there on February 23, 1821, at the age of 25.

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  • When I have fears that I may cease to be 
  • Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain,
  • Before high-piled books, in charactery,
  • Hold like rich garners the full ripen’d grain;
  • When I behold, upon the night’s starr’d 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. 


John Keats (1795–1821) was one of the greatest English poets of the 19th Century. Although he died young from tuberculosis and published only three slim volumes of poetry, he is one of the most loved and honored poets in our language. But during his own lifetime he was frequently attacked by the literary critics. John Gibson Lockhart called him an “upstart Cockney poetaster” and characterized his work as mawkish and bad-mannered; while John Wilson Croker characterized his poetry as consisting of “the most incongruous ideas in the most uncouth language.”

In 1804 Keats’s father, the owner of a livery stable, died following a stumble his horse took. Keats’s mother remarried unhappily, lost some of her inheritance to her second husband, and died of tuberculosis in 1809. In 1811 John was apprenticed to a surgeon. An avid reader, it was apparently Spenser’s The Faerie Queen that awakened his genius for poetic composition. He became friends with the political “radical” editor Leigh Hunt and became enthralled with the idea of democratic reforms in Great Britain.

Keats spent the summer of 1818 on a walking tour in Northern England and Scotland, and after returning home to care for his brother, Tom, who suffered from tuberculosis, he fell in love with Fanny Brawne, a love cut short by his own tuberculosis. Keats went to Rome with his friend, the painter Joseph Severn seeking a warm climate for the winter and died there on February 23, 1821, at the age of 25.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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