Keats wrote many poems that helped in defining the Romantic tradition. He was a poet from the Romantic era of eternity. ‘When I Have Fears’ is a poem that he wrote when he was 25 years old and dying of tuberculosis. The poem is about his fear of dying before he could flourish to his full potential. His purpose is to express his grief for missing out on so many life opportunities and not being able to leave something in his place that will make him remembered forever. He explores multiple themes including love, death and beauty however; the main emotion that can be drawn from the sonnet is fear. He successfully relates to the human condition in all times and places and exhibits the Romantic values of the time. Keats believed that our human minds are immortal however we are mortals and we cannot stop the clock. These emotions are expressed through a metaphor in his first two quatrains.
When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain
Keats new that he was going to die before he could even come close to his ‘full ripen’d grain’. He had a brain full of ravishing ideas that he would never be able to share with the world. He was always a promising poet but was not yet known by a lot of people prior to his death. He knew what he was born to do, poetry was his vocation. His purpose in writing this poem is to express his sorrow of dying before he has lived ‘to trace their shadows’. He had so much to live for but his time was slipping through his fingers like water. He believed that human imaginations were everlasting, the creative minds of people would never stop, there would always be another idea, but there would not always be time. His work transcends and perfectly describes the impossibility of fighting the destructive forces of time.... [continues]
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