John Keats


Born October 31 at Finsbury, just north of London, the eldest child of Thomas and Frances Jennings Keats. His father was headkeeper at a livery stable. He will have three younger brothers and sisters; George in 1797, Thomas in 1799, Frances Mary (Fanny) in 1803.


Attends John Clarke's school in Enfield, 12 miles north of London.


Father killed by a fall from his horse, April 16. On June 27 his mother remarries, and the children go to live with their maternal grandparents at Enfield. Their grandfather dies a year later, and the children move with their grandmother to Lower Edmonton.


Mother dies of tuberculosis.


Apprenticed to Thomas Hammond, an apothecary-surgeon. In 1811, completes a prose translation of The Aeneid, begun at school.


Writes first poetry. In December his grandmother dies, and the family home is broken up.


Enters Guy's Hospital, London, for further medical training.


On May 5 his first published poem, "O Solitude," appears in Leigh Hunt's Examiner. In October writes "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer," published in December. Meets Hunt, Benjamin Haydon, John Hamilton Reynolds, and Shelley. By the spring of 1817, gives up the idea of medical practice.


In March, moves with brothers to Hampstead, sees the Elgin Marbles with Haydon, and publishes his first collection of Poems. Composes "Endymion" between April and November. Reads Milton, Shakespeare, and Coleridge and rereads Wordsworth during the year.


"Endymion" published in April, unfavorably reviewed in September, defended by Reynolds in October. During the summer goes on walking tour of the lake country and Scotland, but returns to London in mid-August with a sore throat and severe chills. His brother Tom also seriously ill by late summer, dying on December 1. In September, Keats first meets Fanny Brawne. Composes "Ode on a Grecian Urn," "Melancholy," "Nightingale" and " Indolence." Brother George and bride emigrate to America.


Writes "The Eve of St. Agnes" in January, revises it in September. Fanny Brawne and her mother move into the other half of the double house in which Keats lives in April. During April and May writes "La Belle Sans Merci" and all the major odes except "To Autumn," which is written in September. Rental arrangements force separation from Fanny Brawne during the summer (Keats on Isle of Wight from June to August), and in the fall he tries to break his dependence on her, but they become engaged by Christmas. Earlier in December suffers a recurrence of his sore throat.


In February has a severe hemorrhage and in June an attack of blood-spitting. In July his doctor orders him to Italy for the winter; he sails in September and finally arrives in Rome on November 15. In July a volume of poems are published: "Lamia," "Isabella," " The Eve of St. Agnes" and other poems. Fanny Brawne nurses him through the late summer.


Dies at 11 P.M., February 23. Buried in the English Cemetery at Rome. News of his death reaches London on March 17.

A thing of beauty is a joy forever;
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.