John Keats (1795-1821)

“A proverb is no proverb to you until life has illustrated it.”

“Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced.”

“Pleasure is oft a visitant; but pain clings cruelly to us.”

“I wish to believe in immortality – I wish to live with you forever.”

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever; its loveliness increases; it will never pass into nothingness.”

“I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the heart’s affections and the truth of the imagination.”

“Love is my religion – I could die for it.”

“What the imagination seizes as beauty must be truth.”

“Beauty is truth, truth beauty, – that is all ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.”

“If poetry comes not as naturally as the leaves to a tree, it had better not come at all.”

“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”

“When I have fears that I may cease to be,
Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain.”

“Now a soft kiss — Aye, by that kiss, I vow an endless bliss.”

“Don’t be discouraged by a failure. It can be a positive experience. Failure is, in a sense, the highway to success, inasmuch as every discovery of what is false leads us to seek earnestly after what is true, and every fresh experience points out so me.”

“The excellency of every art is its intensity, capable of making all disagreeable evaporate.”

“I love you the more in that I believe you had liked me for my own sake and for nothing else.”

“Poetry should… should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance.”

“I would sooner fail than not be among the greatest.”

“Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter.”

“Do you not see how necessary a world of pains and troubles is to school an intelligence and make it a soul?”

“I have been astonished that men could die martyrs for religion — I have shuddered at it. I shudder no more — I could be martyred for my religion — Love is my religion — I could die for that.”

“You are always new, The last of your kisses was ever the sweetest.”

“The poetry of the earth is never dead.”

“Here lies one whose name was writ in water.”

“Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced; even a proverb is no proverb to you till your life has illustrated it.”

“Pass into nothingness.”

“When I behold, upon the night’s starred face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance.”

“I am in that temper that if I were under water I would scarcely kick to come to the top.”

“There is nothing stable in the world; uproar’s your only music.”

“Praise or blame has but a momentary effect on the man whose love of beauty in the abstract makes him a severe critic on his own works.”

“I see a lilly on thy brow,
With anguish moist and fever dew;
And on thy cheek a fading rose
Fast withereth too.
I met a lady in the meads
Full beautiful, a faery’s child;
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
And her eyes were wild.”

“To Sorrow I bade good-morrow,
And thought to leave her far away behind;
But cheerly, cheerly,
She loves me dearly;
She is so constant to me, and so kind.”

“Philosophy will clip an angel’s wings.”

“My imagination is a monastery and I am its monk.”

“An extensive knowledge is needful to thinking people – it takes away the heat and fever; and helps, by widening speculation, to ease the burden of the mystery.”

“The imagination of a boy is healthy, and the mature imagination of a man is healthy; but there is a space of life between, in which the soul is in a ferment, the character undecided, the way of life uncertain, the ambition thick-sighted: thence proceeds mawkishness.”

“I have two luxuries to brood over in my walks, your loveliness and the hour of my death. O that I could have possession of them both in the same minute.”

“Even bees, the little almsmen of spring bowers, know there is richest juice in poison-flowers.”

“Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endeared,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone.”

“Then on the shore of the wide world I stand alone, and think till love and fame to nothingness do sink.”

“Who would wish to be among the commonplace crowd of the little famous – who are each individually lost in a throng made up of themselves?”

“When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in 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.”

“Poetry should surprise by a fine excess and not by singularity – it should strike the reader as a wording of his own highest thoughts, and appear almost a remembrance.”

“I think we may class the lawyer in the natural history of monsters.”

“There is an electric fire in human nature tending to purify – so that among these human creatures there is continually some birth of new heroism. The pity is that we must wonder at it, as we should at finding a pearl in rubbish.”

“The only means of strengthening one’s intellect is to make up one’s mind about nothing to let the mind be a thoroughfare for all thoughts. Not a select party.”

“O for the gentleness of old Romance, the simple planning of a minstrel’s song!”

“What occasions the greater part of the world’s quarrels? Simply this: Two minds meet and do not understand each other in time enough to prevent any shock of surprise at the conduct of either party.”

“A poet is the most unpoetical of anything in existence, because he has no identity – he is continually informing and filling some other body.”

“Where but to think is to be full of sorrow and leaden eyed despairs.”

“We read fine things but never feel them to the full until we have gone the same steps as the author.”

“My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk.”

“Point me out the way
To any one particular beauteous star.”

“Poetry should be great and unobtrusive, a thing which enters into one’s soul, and does not startle it or amaze it with itself, but with its subject.”

“There is not a fiercer hell than the failure in a great object.”

“Where’s the face
One would meet in every place?
Where’s the voice, however soft,
One would hear so very oft?”

“Negative capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason.”

“Mortality weighs heavily on me like unwilling sleep.”

“Scenery is fine – but human nature is finer.”

“I will give you a definition of a proud man: he is a man who has neither vanity nor wisdom /one filled with hatreds cannot be vain, neither can he be wise.”

“Health is my expected heaven.”

“I compare human life to a large mansion of many apartments, two of which I can only describe, the doors of the rest being as yet shut upon me.”

“The roaring of the wind is my wife and the stars through the window pane are my children.”

“A man’s life of any worth is a continual allegory – and very few eyes can see the mystery of his life – a life like the scriptures- figurative.”

“It appears to me that almost any man may like the spider spin from his own inwards his own airy citadel.”

“The public is a thing I cannot help looking upon as an enemy, and which I cannot address without feelings of hostility.”

“A solitary sorrow best befits
Thy lips, and antheming a lonely grief.”

“She looked at me as she did love,
And made sweet moan.”

“Though a quarrel in the streets is a thing to be hated, the energies displayed in it are fine; the commonest man shows a grace in his quarrel.”

“I always made an awkward bow.”

“O Solitude! If I must with thee dwell,
Let it not be among the jumbled heap of murky buildings.”

“Shakespeare led a life of allegory; his works are the comments on it.”

“A man should have the fine point of his soul taken off to become fit for this world.”

“O for a life of sensations rather than of thoughts!”

“It is true that in the height of enthusiasm I have been cheated into some fine passages; but that is not the thing.”

“Where are the songs of Spring?
Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too.”

“Bards of Passion and of Mirth,
Ye have left your souls on earth!
Have ye souls in heaven too?”

“All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloyed,
A burning forehead and a parching tongue.”

“Four seasons fill the measure of the year;
There are four seasons in the mind of man.”

“O fret not after knowledge — I have none, and yet my song comes native with the warmth. O fret not after knowledge — I have none, and yet the Evening listens.”

“Fanatics have their dreams, wherewith they weave a paradise for a sect.”

“Beauty is truth, and truth is beauty.”

“Call the world if you please `The Vale of Soul-making’.”

“Give me books, fruit, French wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors, played by someone I do not know.”

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