John Keats’ Biography (1795-1821)
John Keats was born on October 31, 1795, in Moorgate, London. His parents marked his birthday on 29 October and in baptism (ईसाई दीक्षा, नामकरण संस्कार) record his birthday is marked on 31 October. Keats was said to have been born in his maternal grandfather’s (नाना) stable (घुडसाल, अस्तबल). He was a great English Romantic lyric poet, who devoted his life to the perfection of poetry with vivid imagery and great sensuous (भावमय, कामुक) appeal.
His father’s name was Thomas Keats. He had 4 children. John Keats was the eldest of them. John Keats younger siblings (सगे भाई-बहन) were-
- George Keats
- Thomas Keats
- Frances Mary Keats
His father worked in the stable of his father-in-law. His father died from a skull (खोपड़ी) fracture (अंग-भंग) after falling from his horse when he was only of 8. Unfortunately, his father died intestate (बिना वसीयतनामा लिखे).
His mother’s name was Frances Jennings. John Keats’ mother died when he was only of 14, six years later of his father’s death. His mother died of Tuberculosis (यक्ष्मा, क्षय रोग) in March 1810.
John Keats fell deeply in love with a French girl, Fanny Browne, but met with sorrow and dejection (निराशा, उदासी). He became engaged to Fanny Browne, but due to money problems and symptoms (लक्षण) of tuberculosis, he never got married. It aggravated (उत्तेजित किया) his tuberculosis (यक्ष्मा, क्षय रोग) and he died.
Fanny left him all too suddenly on the strange plea (बहाना, दलील) that Keats was not a few inches taller than her.
The first time he was sent to a local dame school. His parents wished to send their sons to Eton or Harrow, but they could not afford (समर्थ होना) the fees. When he was at his grandparents’ (नाना-नानी) home in Edmonton, he was sent to John Clarke’s school in Enfield. When he was at Clarke’s school he developed an interest in classics and history, the interest was with him throughout his life.
When he was at Clarke’s school, he met Charles Cowden Clarke, the headmaster’s son. Charles was his mentor (गुरू, परामर्शदाता) and friend. He introduced John Keats to Tasso, Spenser, Chapman’s translations, and Renaissance (पुनर्जागरण) Literature.
John Keats began to focus on reading and studying. He won his first prize in 1809. John Keats’ parents died when he was only under 14. His Maternal grandmother brought him up under the guardians (अभिभावक) of Richard Abbey and John Rowland Sandell.
He studied medicine in a hospital in London and apprenticed (प्रशिक्षु, काम सीखा) with an apothecary (रसायनज्ञ, दवा बेचने वाला) surgeon, Thomas Hammond. Thomas Hammond was his neighbor and the doctor of the Jennings family. Although He became a licensed apothecary in 1816, he never practiced medicine.
His friend and mentor Cowen Clarke described this period as – ‘the most placid time in Keats’ life’.
After completing his apprenticeship with Hammond, he began studying at Guy’s Hospital. Now it comes under King’s College London. He was a dresser (मरहम-पट्टीकार) at the hospital, assisting surgeons during operations. The Medicine field economically helped him, so Keats had the desire to become a doctor.
Later, he felt that he was ambivalent (उभयभावी, दो गुणों को धारण करने वाला) about his medical career with stark (निरा, फीका) choice. Although he continually worked at Guy’s hospital but was given more and more time to study literature and verse.
Career and Occupation-
Keats’ sense of the power and romance of literature began as Clarke encouraged (प्रोत्साहित किये) him to turn his energy and curiosity (उत्सुकता) to their library. John Keats wrote his first poem ‘An Imitation of Spenser’ in 1814 when he was only of 19. He published his sonnet ‘On Solitude’ in May 1816 in his magazine, The Examiner. His friend and mentor, Cowden Clarke described it as ‘Red-letter day’, for his friend John Keats. Leigh Hunt helped him to publish ‘On Solitude’. ‘On Solitude’ was published in a magazine called the Examiner.
Further, his financial condition was not good, so he was suffering from depression (अवसाद, उदासी). According to his brother George- John feared that he should never be a poet, and if he failed he would destroy himself.
Cowden Clarke introduced Keats to Leigh Hunt, a close friend of Byron and Shelly. His poems ‘I Stood Tiptoe’ and ‘Sleep and Poetry’ were influenced by Leigh Hunt.
John Keats met William Hazlitt, a powerful literary figure of the day. Keats was regularly meeting William Hazlitt. It was a turning point for Keats. Leigh Hunt termed ‘A new should of poetry’ to Keats to make him a public figure.
John Keats published his first volume of poetry in 1817. In 1818, his brother Tom Keats died, and after that, he moved to Hampstead Heath. He lived in the house of Charles Brown. There lived a lady named Mrs. Brawne. Her 16 years old daughter Fanny and John Keats fell in love with each other.
His poem ‘Endymion’ was published in 1818. This year, 1818 was the most productive year for John Keats. It is called this annus mirabilis (a remarkable (अद्भुत) or auspicious (शुभ, मंगल) year) as he wrote most of his important poems and published in 1818 such as-
The Eve of St Agnes,
La Belle Dame Sans Merci
To a Nightingale
To a Grecian Urn
Endymion was his first long poem. The poem starts with famous lines-
‘A thing of beauty is a joy for ever’.
This poem is based on the Greek myth (मिथक, कल्पित कथा) of Endymion. Endymion was a shepherd boy loved by the Moon Goddess Selene. ‘Endymion is written in heroic couplets. John Keats called this poem ‘a test, a trial’ of his ‘powers of imagination and his ‘invention’.
‘Endymion’ was dedicated to Thomas Chatterton.
In 1820, John Keats began to feel ill of consumption (क्षय, यक्ष्मा). Due to his consumption, he was unable to complete his future goals. He went Italy to for his treatment. He returned from there and went to Rome. His Tuberculosis was in its last stage, so he died on February 23, 1821, when he was only of 25. He was buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome. John Keats requested before his death to write ‘Here lies one whose name was written in water, on his tombstone
He belongs to The Romantic Age.
Endymion, A Poetic Romance (1818)
Hyperion (W- 1818-1819)
Ode on a Grecian Urn (1820)
La Belle Dame Sans Merci (1819)
To Autumn (1820)
Ode on Melancholy (W- 1819)
Ode to Psyche (1819)
Lamia, Isabella (1820)
Ode to a Nightingale (1819)
On Indolence (W- 1819, P- 1848)
Although Keats died at the age of 25, he had perhaps the most remarkable career of any English poet. He published 54 sonnets. He was a master of many poetic forms- sonnet, Spenserian romance, Miltonic epic.
In 1820, John Keats began to feel ill of consumption. Due to his consumption, he was unable to complete his future goals. He went Italy to for his treatment. He returned from there and went to Rome. His Tuberculosis was in its last stage, so he died on February 23, 1821, when he was only of 26. He was buried in the Protestant Cemetery in Rome.