Ward's Book of Days.

Pages of interesting anniversaries.

What happened on this day in history.


On this day in history in 1795, was born John Keats. 

Keats was the one of the early Romantic poets. His work was misunderstood and reviled in his lifetime but is now the most esteemed of all Romantic Poetry.

Keats’ early work includes Endymion, a version of a Greek legend in which the Goddess Diana falls for an earthly shepherd boy. After a tour of The Lake District, Keats wrote Autumn, a work which evokes the spirit of the English countryside. His later, and greatest works include To a Nightingale, To Melancholy and To a Grecian Urn. These works express some of the finest sentiments in the English language as for instance: 

‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty, that is all
Ye need to know on earth, and all ye need to know.’ 

Keats fell ill with tuberculosis caused mainly by the stress of censure from the critics. He travelled with his friend Severn to Italy in order to recuperate but despite Severn’s attentions, Keats died in Rome. His final wish was to have inscribed on his tombstone the words ‘Here lies one whose name was writ in water’. Severn augmented the inscription to read: 

'This Grave contains all the 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.’  

Keats in buried in The English Cemetery in Rome. Near his grave, is buried his contemporary Romantic poet Percy Shelley.  At Keats’ lodgings, 26 Piazza di Spagna in Rome, there is now a museum dedicated to Keats and Shelley.

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