The tragic, lovely life of John Keats is emblazoned upon the annals of Western literature. In his short life, Keats wrote hundreds of pages of poetry, along with dozens of letters to his beloved fiancé, Fanny Brawne. His adoration of love and beauty has inspired generations of love-struck readers and writers alike.
John Keats Quotes From His Poetry
The epic poems and odes published by John Keats reflect his infatuation with infatuation. A true Romantic poet, Keats uses vivid imagery and language to describe the objects of his affections.
“A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: / Its loveliness increases; it will never / Pass into nothingness; but still will keep / A bower quiet for us, and a sleep / Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.” - “Endymion, Book I”
“For others, good or bad, hatred and tears / Have become indolent; but touching thine, / One sigh doth echo, one poor sob doth pine, / One kiss brings honey-dew from buried days.” - “Endymion, Book II”
“Revive, or these soft hours will hurry by / In tranced dulness; speak, and let that spell / Affright this lethargy! I cannot quell / Its heavy pressure, and will press at least / My lips to thine, that they may richly feast / Until we taste the life of love again.” - “Endymion, Book II”
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty, — that is all / Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.” - “Ode on a Grecian Urn”
“Who, of men, can tell / That flowers would bloom, or that green fruit would swell / To melting pulp, that fish would have bright mail, / The earth its dower of river, wood, and vale, / The meadows runnels, runnels pebble-stones, / The seed its harvest, or the lute its tones, / Tones ravishment, or ravishment its sweet, / If human souls did never kiss and greet?” - “Endymion, Book I”
“Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss, / Though winning near the goal yet, do not grieve; / She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss, / For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!” - “Ode on a Grecian Urn”
“Love in a hut, with water and a crust, / Is—Love, forgive us!— cinders, ashes, dust; / Love in a palace is perhaps at last / More grievous torment than a hermit's fast.” - “Lumia, Part 2”
“And there shall be for thee all soft delight / That shadowy thought can win, / A bright torch, and a casement ope at night, / To let the warm Love in!” - “Ode to Psyche”
John Keats Quotes From His Love Letters
Perhaps even more enchanting than Keats’ poems are his love letters to Fanny Brawne. With each passing day, he falls more deeply in love with the woman who would be left behind after his death at only 25 years old.
“For myself I know not how to express my devotion to so fair a form: I want a brighter word than bright, a fairer word than fair. I almost wish we were butterflies and liv'd but three summer days—three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.” - Letter to Fanny Brawne, July 3, 1819
“I have so much of you in my heart that I must turn Mentor when I see a chance of harm befalling you. I would never see any thing but Pleasure in your eyes, love on your lips, and Happiness in your steps.” - Letter to Fanny Brawne, July 8, 1819
“I love you the more in that I believe you have liked me for my own sake and for nothing else.” - Letter to Fanny Brawne, July 8, 1819
“I am not a thing to be admired. You are, I love you; all I can bring you is a swooning admiration of your Beauty.” - Letter to Fanny Brawne, July 27, 1819
“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.” - Letter to Fanny Brawne, July 27, 1819
“I have been astonished that Men could die Martyrs for religion — I have shudder’d at it — I shudder no more — I could be martyr’d for my Religion — Love is my religion — I could die for that — I could die for you. My Creed is Love and you are its only tenet.” - Letter to Fanny Brawne, October 13, 1819, quoted in Selected Letters
“I have endeavoured often ‘to reason against the reasons of my Love.’ I can do that no more — the pain would be too great — My Love is selfish. I cannot breathe without you.” - Letter to Fanny Brawne, October 13, 1819
The Art of Romantic Poetry
John Keats’ quotes have formed his legacy more than two centuries after his death. For more quotes from the Romantic era, check out: