19 Dec 2011

Alone and palely loitering

Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art -
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night,
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like Nature's patient sleepless Eremite
The moving waters at their priest-like task
Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors -
No - yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillowed upon my fair love's ripening breast,
To feel forever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever - or else swoon to death.
John Keats

John Keats by William Hilton

John Keats was an English Romantic poet,
his reputation grew after his death and by the end
of the 19th century he had become one of the
most beloved of all English poets.

Isabella Jones
It is thought that the first version of Bright Star might have been
originally written for Isabella jones
with whom he was romantically involved in 1817.
Letters suggest he first met Frances (Fanny) Brawne in 1818
but their romance was overshadowed
by Keats' ill health.
Fanny Brawne

"I have two luxuries to brood over" he wrote to her
"your loveliness and the hour of my death"

He left England for Rome as tuberculosis took hold in 1820
knowing he would never see Fanny again.
He died five months later.

Keats home
Wentworth Place
now the Keats Museum
Keats grave in Rome

Keats died in 1821 and was buried in Rome.
Fanny stayed in mourning for six years
after which she married and had three children.

A thing of beauty is a joy forever
Its loveliness increases, it will never
Pass into nothingness, but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams,
and earth,
and quiet breathing.

I loved this film
Jane Campion has captured the Georgian feel perfectly
beautiful cinematography
bluebell woods
fields of daffodils
wild gardens
the austerity of the house interiors
beautiful fashions

The film has such an intensity of feeling and passion
I almost held my breath all the way through
to hear his poetry spoken aloud gives it such profound meaning.

Be still my beating heart.


  1. Somehow I managed to miss this film and, of course, your trailer has whetted my appetite. Lovely post which is making me feel I should visit Keats House - it's a 20 minute walk across the other side of Hampstead Heath. Caro x

  2. As Caro says a lovely post! Flighty xx

  3. Well you know I love keats ,why else is my blog called Bright Star. A lovely sensitive post .I always cry a bit when I read "A thing of beauty etc. and the poem Bright Star is one I have cherished ever since my Mum first read it to me. The death of Keats is still such a heartbreaking thought. The film is beautiful ,I have the dvd but I have to be in a robust frame of mind to watch it!!!!!Merry Christmas to you and yours lol Angela

  4. Hi Angela
    Glad you enjoyed the post - I too have to steel myself before I watch the dvd, but am so glad when I do. The Christmas wishes are reciprocated and looking forward to reading more of your lovely posts next year.

  5. A lovely post about Keats - his 'Ode to Autumn' has always been my favourite poem. Thank you for your nice comment on my blog:) Merry Christmas!

  6. Oh, I've loved reading this post! How sad that such a talented poet died so young. I've always loved the poem Ode to a Bright Star. We bought the film on DVD last year and watched most of it before it cut out and wouldn't restart so I never did see the end and we forgot to take it back and change it!


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