Keats And Longfellow Analysis

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“When I Have Fears” and “Mezzo Cammin” by John Keats and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow respectively, have similar themes such as the inevitability of death and the fear of living unfulfilled and inadequate lives. John Keats fears that he will live a life of inadequacy and fail to accomplish all of his dreams, but he understands that his goals are miniscule in the larger scope of life. Conversely, Longfellow maintains a morbid view of death and of the future itself, while Keats is more captivated by the human experience and despite his uncertainty about the future, feels that living is far more important than reaching his personal goals. The poems’ possess some commonalities, specifically in the beginning, where both complain about the temporary nature of life. Longfellows’s “Half of my life is gone” directly coordinates with Keats’ “When I have fears that I may cease to be”. Both men fear that they will die before they’re able to accomplish their respective goals. Keats specifically fears that he will die “Before my pen has glean’d my teeming brain”, before he can get all of his thoughts onto paper and leave his mark on the world in a literary manner. Longfellow possesses a similar fear specifically that he has not fulfilled “the aspiration of [his] youth” and failed to build a “tower of song with lofty parapet”. Both men hope to leave some sort of lasting legacy on history but both understand that death is an inevitable fact of life and that time is running out for them to accomplish their goals. Neither man has accomplished all of his goals in life, whether it be Keats’ literary aspirations, or Longfellow’s wish to “build a tower of song”. However, both fear that the ultimate end will come too soon and put an end to their dreams. Despite both men fearing that death will come too soon for them, the apparent differences in their situations arise towards the middle of the poem. Specifically their experiences and views of love are expressly different. Longfellow has

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