Famous After Death - Eternally young John Keats



John Keats

1795 - 1821 (aged 25)
Born London, Died Rome





From all accounts, John was a beautiful man. Not only because he died so young, or that he was so gifted, but it's the way he's been remembered by his friends and associates of the time. 

Ironically, some of those early biography's weren't written by any who knew him. And there was some dispute amongst those who did, as to his actual life. And thus, legend is created.


A short video from my visit to the apartment where he died, now a small museum in Rome in 2009.





He loved writing poetry, and was well recognised for it but the wider world did not know of him and he certainly was unable to enjoy his success. Would he have been as famous as he became without his early death? You could ask that question of them all. James Dean as one example. Talented. Recognised. But whose death plays a large part of the story. The mystique, if you will. And the tragedy.


Rare and expensive 1902 collection





Here's one of his better known works. One of his personal favourites too.



Ode on Melancholy

No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist 
       Wolf's-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine; 
Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kiss'd 
       By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine; 
               Make not your rosary of yew-berries, 
       Nor let the beetle, nor the death-moth be 
               Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl 
A partner in your sorrow's mysteries; 
       For shade to shade will come too drowsily, 
               And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul. 


But when the melancholy fit shall fall 
       Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud, 
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all, 
       And hides the green hill in an April shroud; 
Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose, 
       Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave, 
               Or on the wealth of globed peonies; 
Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows, 
       Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave, 
               And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes. 

She dwells with Beauty—Beauty that must die; 
       And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips 
Bidding adieu; and aching Pleasure nigh, 
       Turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips: 
Ay, in the very temple of Delight 
       Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine, 
               Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue 
       Can burst Joy's grape against his palate fine; 
His soul shalt taste the sadness of her might, 
               And be among her cloudy trophies hung. 

He died next to the Spanish Steps in a tiny room, which still exists. 
It is now a part of the small, but wonderful Keats Museum. They've even kept the bed, as well as his death mask. It's all quite creepy.
His gravestone, however, is worthy of the poet himself.





More Famous After Death

Including Van Gogh, Ed Wood, Ernest Dowson, Anne Frank and more....

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