chapter  1
22 Pages

The Poet

The decree of the soul to itself was, be a poet; and of all the Romantic poets, Keats is the one who seems most consciously to be working to fulfil that destiny. Throughout his short life Keats's innate warmth and friendliness, his sensitive and robust humanity alleviates the high seriousness, and blends with the young man's intense idealism and his passionate scholarship. The nobleness of Keats's character, and his willingness to open his heart in poetry, makes it a rich poem of natural description, adolescent affections, idealisms, and sexual fantasies. Between Endymion and Hyperion there was a very significant episode of Keats's life, and that was his tour of the Lake District and Scotland with his friend Charles Brown. The treatment of Saturn shows Keats's sympathy with passing greatness, and with powerless suffering; while the coming of Hyperion is overwhelming in its celebration of natural beauty, warmth, and poetic creativity.