When I Have Fears That I May Cease To Be

by JOHN KEATS (1795-1821)

When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,
Before high-piled books, in charact’ry,
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.

I see a schoolboy when I think of him,
With face and nose pressed to a sweet-shop window,
For certainly he sank into his grave
His senses and his heart unsatisfied,
And made —being poor, ailing and ignorant,
Shut out from all the luxury of the world,
The coarse-bred son of a livery-stable keeper—
Luxuriant song.
William Butler Yeats

John Keats Contemporaries
Percy Bysshe Shelley
Samuel Lover
Heinrich Heine
Aleksandr Pushkin

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