How might one summarize, line by line, John Keats's poem "When I Have Fears that I May Cease to Be"?
John Keats’s poem “When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be” might be summarized as follows:
- When I worry that I may die
- Before I have been able to write everything I would like to write, including all the thoughts in my head,
- And that I may die before I have been able to write down in books
- All the ideas I have to express – ideas that are like ripe wheat;
- When I look up at the starry face of the night sky
- And see great clouds that make me think of lofty love,
- And when I realize that I may die before I have the chance to write about that kind of beauty and those kinds of thoughts
- By using talents for writing that sometimes seem enchanted,
- And when I think about that fact that you, oh beautiful but mortal person,
10. Are someone I may never see again,
11. And that I will never again enjoy the mystical joy
12. Of my deep affection for you, then I feel as if I am on a beach
13. As wide as the world and that I am all alone, and I think
14. About these things until my thoughts of love and fame entirely vanish.
Or, as the final lines read in the original:
then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.