John Keats: Truth is Beauty

In my early twenties, fresh out of university with a B.A. in English literature, I was lured to London where I spent the summer in the Bloomsbury District doing research at the British Museum Library in the mornings and in the afternoons I explored the city.

A favorite thing to do was to visit the homes of the great poets and writers who had lived in London. One such home was that of the poet John Keats, a great figure of the British romantic poets.

Fast-forward – almost fifty years – and I am in Rome where I stumble upon the Keats – Shelly Memorial House right next to the Piazza di Spagna.

Keats had travelled to Rome hoping that the warmer climate would cure his tuberculosis and that the view of the Piazza di Spagna from his room would uplift him.

Keats Window

But, at only 25, the uplifting view and the warmer climate were not enough and he died in this bed

Keats bed

and left behind a legacy of great poetry which two hundred years later is still being honored and read. One of my favorite lines comes from his Ode on a Grecian Urn.

Beauty is truth, truth beauty






35 thoughts on “John Keats: Truth is Beauty

  1. Beautiful, Carol! We are leaving to Israel Dec 14 and I want to download (or upload?) your Getting to Mr. Right on my mini ipad. I hope I don’t have any problems. Am looking forward to reading them. Safe travels. xoxo

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    • I just love visiting homes where great people lived. Once in Vienna, I visited one of Beethoven’s apartment and while touring the apartment the music he’d composed there was being played. That was very cool.


  2. This was so beautiful Carol. How wonderful you went to Rome. I’ve been there a few times and now a long time ago. I’d love to go back again. Loved the photos! ❀

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  3. Lovely post, Carol, of a life lived for too short a time. Rome is a wonderful place to visit. We were a few years ago. Loved it, the food, history, and ambiance was wonderful! πŸ€— Thanks for sharing.

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  4. I like how you start with London, then make a huge leap in time to Rome, but throughout, in this short post, there’s the constant of your interest in visiting the homes of great people. I’ve never been to Rome but I like the idea that it’s walkable. If I ever go, I’ll be sure to avoid October πŸ˜‰

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  5. As a student of english literature I adored Keats’ poems … a delight to read aloud … wonderful. How special to stumble upon his house here in Italy – I hadn’t realised he was so young when he died. It’s no age at all … yet he found the time to write such great works. Carol, it must have been amazing to work at the British Museum Library and live in Bloomsbury!

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  6. A tormented life but a beautiful one – I always think of Keats first of the romantics. TB was a dreadful leveller, it took so many bright stars from the sky, didn’t it? It might confirm my suspicion that writing is a thoroughly unhealthy occupation…

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    • Well, writing sure can be unhealthy. Almost always indoors, by oneself, frustrated most of the time, mind constantly on why you’re not writing and being critical of oneself. πŸ™‚


  7. Oh, yes! That is one of my favorites of Keats. Each verse of this poem is filled with imagery. I love the lines:
    Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
    Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
    Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear’d,
    Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:

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  8. To visit the homes and gardens of famous writers has long been a dream of mine. I have not been to England or Europe but perhaps.soon. I like the Romantic poets but the Bloombury group is my favourite.

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