On This Date: John Keats Publishes His First Poem

John_Keats_by_William_HiltonAnother National Poetry Month might be in the books, but here at EPL we’ve got a fever, and the only prescription is more poetry!  So if you’re like us and April was merely an appetizer for your poetry hunger, you might enjoy feasting on this historic tidbit:  on May 5th exactly 200 years ago, the revered Romantic poet John Keats published his very first poem in Leigh Hunt’s The Examiner.  Titled “O Solitude!,” the sonnet began a remarkable and tragically brief career that saw Keats publish three celebrated books of poetry before his death from tuberculosis on February 23, 1821 at the age of 25.  You can read “O Solitude!” below, and then drop by EPL to check out the rest of Keat’s work.  You won’t be disappointed.

O Solitude! (Sonnet VII)

O Solitude! if I must with thee dwell,
Let it not be among the jumbled heap
Of murky buildings; climb with me the steep,–
Nature’s observatory–whence the dell,
Its flowery slopes, its river’s crystal swell,
May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep
‘Mongst boughs pavillion’d, where the deer’s swift leap
Startles the wild bee from the fox-glove bell.
But though I’ll gladly trace these scenes with thee,
Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind,
Whose words are images of thoughts refin’d,
Is my soul’s pleasure; and it sure must be
Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,
When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee.

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