September 20, 2012
Keats and Longfellow
Both Keats and Longfellow were poets during the Romantic period. The two compose poems in which they reflect on their inability to live up to their creative potential and the idea that death could intervene at any moment. Longfellow is disappointed in his failures and sees comfort in the past rather than an uncertain future. Moreover, Keats fears he won’t accomplish all that he wants, but sees possibility and realizes his grievous goals won’t be important after death. While Longfellow’s tone is fearful, Keats’ is appreciative and hopeful about what life has to offer right now. In both poems, the poets use the literary devices parallelism and symbolism, to depict their particular situation in their own lives, while also using diction with characteristics of romantic poetry, reflecting their time period. The two poets of “When I Have Fears” and “Mezzo Cammin” tell their fear of not attaining what they want in life through the use of parallelism. Keats uses parallelism by starting his first quatrain, as well as the other two, with the word “when”, conveying that time is moving forward in his life. The use of this word also delivers the idea Keats’s youthfulness during the time he wrote this poem, and illustrates his fear of not showing others his writing potential before he is “[ceased to be]”. Longfellow uses parallelism in line 9, telling readers he’s “halfway up the hill” and that he only “[sees] the past”. The use of this parallelism depicts his older age and his views on the little time he has left to accomplish something major. Both Keats and Longfellow bring forth their ages to get their readers to realize there is not much time left in life, and they must make a choice to do something worthwhile before it is too late. The second sections of the two poems draw attention to the differences in each situation. The two poets use symbolism of something dark; Keats using the...