John Keats Cause Of Death
March 9, 2012 by staff
John Keats Cause Of Death, John Keats (31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821) was an English Romantic poet. Along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, he was one of the key figures in the second generation of the Romantic movement, despite the fact that his work had been in publication for only four years before his death.
Although his poems were not generally well received by critics during his life, his reputation grew after his death to the extent that by the end of the 19th century he had become one of the most beloved of all English poets. He has had a significant influence on a diverse range of later poets and writers: Jorge Luis Borges stated that his first encounter with Keats was the most significant literary experience of his life.
The poetry of Keats is characterized by sensual imagery, most notably in the series of odes. Today his poems and letters are some of the most popular andanlyzed in English literature.
The first months of 1821 marked a slow and steady decline into the final stage of tuberculosis. Keats was coughing up blood and covered in sweat. Severn nursed him devotedly and observed in a letter how he would sometimes cry upon waking to find himself still alive. Severn writes,
“Keats raves till I am in a complete tremble for him…about four, the approaches of death came on. [Keats said] ‘Severn-I-lift me up-I am dying-I shall die easy; don’t be frightened-be firm, and thank God it has come.’ I lifted him up in my arms. The phlegm seem’d boiling in his throat, and increased until eleven, when he gradually sank into death, so quiet, that I still thought he slept.”
Keats’s grave in Rome
John Keats died on 23 February 1821 and was buried in the Protestant Cemetery, Rome. His last request was to be placed under an unnamed tombstone which contained only the words (in pentameter), “Here lies one whose name was writ in water.” Severn and Brown erected the stone, which under a relief of a lyre with broken strings, contains the epitaph:
“This Grave / contains all that was Mortal / of a / Young English Poet / Who / on his Death Bed, in the Bitterness of his Heart / at the Malicious Power of his Enemies / Desired / these Words to be / engraven on his Tomb Stone: / Here lies One / Whose Name was writ in Water. 24 February 1821″
There is a discrepancy of one day between the official date of death and the grave marking. Severn and Brown added their lines to the stone in protest at the critical reception of Keats’s work. Hunt blamed his death on the Quarterly Review’s scathing attack of “Endymion”. As Byron quipped in his narrative poem Don Juan;
Seven weeks after the funeral Shelley memorialised Keats in his poem Adonaïs. Clark saw to the planting of daisies on the grave, saying that Keats would have wished it. For public health reasons, the Italian health authorities burned the furniture in Keats’s room, scraped the walls, made new windows, doors and flooring. The ashes of Shelley, one of Keats’s most fervent champions, are buried within the cemetery and Joseph Severn’s body is buried next to Keats. Describing the vista of the site today, Marsh wrote, “In the old part of the graveyard, barely a field when Keats was buried here, there are now umbrella pines, myrtle shrubs, roses, and carpets of wild violets”.
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