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As an artist, he fears the lack – he is terrified that he will die before doing justice to the beauty of nature, however, paradoxically, he is also terrified of not achieving the artistry that he has dreamed of, of not doing justice to the beauty of nature, even should the opportunity to write about them present itself.
I cannot exist without you – I am forgetful of every thing but seeing you again – my Life seems to stop there – I see no further. I have a sensation at the present moment as though I was dissolving – I should be exquisitely miserable without the hope of soon seeing you. I have no limit now to my love – You note came in just here – I cannot be happier away from you – ‘T is richer than an Argosy of Pearles. I have been astonished that Men could die Martyrs for religion – I have shudder’d at it – I shudder no more – I could be martyr’d for my Religion – Love is my religion – I could die for that – I could die for you.
I should be afraid to separate myself far from you. My Creed is Love and you are its only tenet – You have ravish’d me away by a Power I cannot resist: and yet I could resist till I saw you; and even since I have seen you I have endeavoured often “to reason against the reasons of my Love.” I can do that no more – the pain would be too great – My Love is selfish – I cannot breathe without you.
From a letter to Fanny Brawne, 13 October 1819: This moment I have set myself to copy some verses out fair. I must write you a line or two and see if that will assist in dismissing you from my Mind for ever so short a time.
Upon my Soul I can think of nothing else – The time is passed when I had power to advise and warn you again[s]t the unpromising morning of my Life – My love has made me selfish.
It is primarily a poem about Keats’ fear of mortality, however in true Keatsian fashion, death is also the solution for more of what ails Keats.
It would be prudent to remember that Keats’ poems have all, in some way, featured death; death of nature, death of love, death of memory, but death all in all.
It is not merely death, therefore, that worries Keats, but death in infamy – ironic, as he is now one of the most renowned names of English poetry.
In fact, Keats was so sure that he would die without creating a ripple in the world of English poetry that his tombstone was made out to the one ‘whose name was writ in water’, thus showing the transience of Keats’ fame.
The analysis of some of the literary devices used in this poem has been stated below.
The literary analysis shows that Keats has artistically sketched his fears in the poem with the help of these literary devices.