IB English III
10 May 2012
Keats and Longfellow: Poem Comparison
“When I Have Fears” by John Keats and “Mezzo Cammin” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow provide a complex perspective of each author’s own description for impending doom, and how failure is an inevitable force that will consume them in the near future. Although both poems deal with a similar theme, the situations in which the authors have placed themselves reflect through the poems themselves. Keats, who speaks with little to no ardor, depicts himself as a waste of potential life and, consequently, imagines the day he will no longer walk the earth with unattained acclaim. Keats explains how he will never discover a “fair creature of an hour (Keats 9)”, indicating that he will forever exist in a world where passion will never be blessed upon his existence, and his youth will rot away. Longfellow speaks with a much more dignified tone; one could even consider it casual. This hints at a midlife crisis, as Longfellow frantically searches “for restless passions (Longfellow 6)”, and never succeeds. From the explanations given in the poems, it’s clear that both authors had quite polar reasons for their destruction: Keats toils in his affliction, which explains his lack of vivid emotion, and Longfellow dotes of the many of life’s merriments that he failed to seek. Both poems follow a similar pattern of rhyme schemes: both Keats and Longfellow endured the hardships of life and never attempted to remedy their sorrow. As the poems come to an end, both Keats and Longfellow display their thoughts of self-humiliation, which points to their sacrifice of achieving their goals. From the wording of the poems, it’s blatantly obvious that both Keats and Longfellow had their own select choice of wording in order to convey their inner thoughts. As “When I Have Fears” opens up, Keats begins immediately begins to speak of death without directly referencing the word “death” itself. This...