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On this day in 1818 John Keats wrote ” Written In the Cottage Where Burns Was Born” so here it is.




Written In The Cottage Where Burns Was Born


This mortal body of a thousand days
Now fills, O Burns, a space in thine own room,
Where thou didst dream alone on budded bays,
Happy and thoughtless of thy day of doom!
My pulse is warm with thine old barley-bree,
My head is light with pledging a great soul,
My eyes are wandering, and I cannot see,
Fancy is dead and drunken at its goal;
Yet can I stamp my foot upon thy floor,
Yet can I ope thy window-sash to find
The meadow thou hast tramped o’er and o’er,–
Yet can I think of thee till thought is blind,–
Yet can I gulp a bumper to thy name,–
O smile among the shades, for this is fame!

By John Keats (1818)


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1 reply »

  1. Here’s a tale – there’s always a tale………….
    Years ago, I visited Rome, and went to the house where John Keats died. I had no pre-conceptions – just liked his poetry, and wanted to visit a place where he had been – as he had done, with Robert Burns. I got to the door, and could go no further, something hit me, hard – such sorrow, melancholy, awful. I went and sat on the Spanish Steps whilst my traveling companion went into the house. He’d tried to persuade me to go in, pointing out that this might be the only time I’d get the opportunity to do so. It was no good, there was just too much pain and sadness, flowing out that door.
    John Keats had a better experience of connecting with someone who’s work he admired. Maybe it was because Robert Burns had spent his early years in that house, whereas John Keats, died in the house I attempted to visit? I hadn’t had any of that in my mind when I went there – I genuinely wanted to visit somewhere where the man himself had been. So it goes.
    Though – on a lighter note – who would you rather be stuck in a lift with – Robert Burns or John Keats? John Keats is a great poet, but…..a wee bit gloomy. Might have to fight Mr Burns off, but – t’would be fun!

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