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When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in the midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man to whom thou say'st
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty"-that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
Bloomsbury Poetry Classics are selections from the work of some of our greatest poets. The series is aimed at the general reader rather than the specialist and carries no critical or explanatory apparatus. This can be found elsewhere. In the series the poems introduce themselves, on an uncluttered page and in a format that is both attractive and convenient. The selections have been made by the distinguished poet, critic, and biographer Ian Hamilton.
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John Keats was born in 1795, the son of a livery-stable keeper. An orphan by the age of fourteen, he was apprenticed to a surgeon for a time, but gave up medicine for poetry. His luxuriant early work was famously savaged by the critics, but he remained assured in his conviction that he would eventually "be among the English poets," and his volume of 1820 was more favorably viewed. Keats's longed-for marriage to Fanny Brawne was prevented by the onset of the tuberculosis that killed him, at the age of twenty-six, in 1821.
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