|Picture taken from Keats' window|
|A Dying John Keats as painted by his friend John Severn|
|Keats' death mask|
" A thing of beauty is a joy forever;
It's loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness
from A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever
He wrote of beauty, of joy, of youth, of timelessness, of eternity but most of all he wrote of love.
"To feel forever it's soft swell and fall,
Awake forever in a sweet unrest
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath
And so live ever - or else swoon to death"
from Bright Star, Would I Were Steadfast as Thou Art
Keats' last days in Rome were not easy ones, not only was he dying but he had also left Fanny Brawne, the love of his life back in England. He was depressed, weighed down not only by illness, but also a very sensitive nature, for which "the power of love was life-altering....life threatening."
"I have been astonished that men could die 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."
When John Keats died, he was unknown, in addition his published works had been severly criticized. Sitting there in that room, reading poems that were familiar, poems that were read not only because they were required reading in high school, one cannot fail to reflect on "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune".
Coming out of one's reverie, the sounds of the running water from the Fontana, people's voices and footsteps on the Spanish Steps and even the clatter of horses hooves, (from carriages bringing visitors around the piazza) striking the cobblestone begin to intrude, and a final thought ... sounds (several times magnified) that Keats must have also heard from this window.