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John Keats (1795-1821)

When I have Fears that I may Cease to Be


              1When I have fears that I may cease to be
              2      Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,
              3Before high-piled books, in charactery,
              4      Hold like rich garners the full ripen'd grain;
              5When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face,
              6      Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
              7And think that I may never live to trace
              8      Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
              9And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
            10      That I shall never look upon thee more,
            11Never have relish in the faery power
            12      Of unreflecting love;--then on the shore
            13Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
            14Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.

Notes

1] Sent to Reynolds in a letter dated January 31, 1818.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Richard Monckton Milnes, Life, Letters and Literary Remains of John Keats (New York: Putnam, 1848). PR 4836 A4 1848 ROBA
First publication date: 1848
RPO poem editor: J. R. MacGillivray
RP edition: 3RP 2.622.
Recent editing: 4:2001/12/28

Composition date: January 1818
Composition date note: January 31, 1818
Form: English Sonnet
Rhyme: ababcdcdefefgg


Other poems by John Keats