Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Keats Shelley Memorial House

The view from the balcony at the museum where Keats spent his last days

During a recent visit to Rome, I went to the Keats Shelley Memorial House a museum dedicated to the romantic poets. The museum is located on the right hand side at the base of the Spanish Steps where John Keats spent his final days before succumbing to tuberculosis. He was only 25 when he passed away in 1821. His carefully reconstructed bedroom is below (although the Pope ordered everything in the original room be destroyed because he mistakenly thought TB was transferred through possessions.)


The museum has wonderful copies of early editions of work by the romantic poets and Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, as well as photos and even locks of hair. It's well worth a visit.
A Drought of Sunshine
by John Keats

Hence Burgundy, Claret, and Port, 
Away with old Hock and madeira, 
Too earthly ye are for my sport; 
There's a beverage brighter and clearer. 
Instead of a piriful rummer, 
My wine overbrims a whole summer; 
My bowl is the sky, 
And I drink at my eye, 
Till I feel in the brain 
A Delphian pain - 
Then follow, my Caius! then follow: 
On the green of the hill 
We will drink our fill 
Of golden sunshine, 
Till our brains intertwine 
With the glory and grace of Apollo! 
God of the Meridian, 
And of the East and West, 
To thee my soul is flown, 
And my body is earthward press'd. - 
It is an awful mission, 
A terrible division; 
And leaves a gulph austere 
To be fill'd with worldly fear. 
Aye, when the soul is fled 
To high above our head, 
Affrighted do we gaze 
After its airy maze, 
As doth a mother wild, 
When her young infant child 
Is in an eagle's claws - 
And is not this the cause 
Of madness? - God of Song, 
Thou bearest me along 
Through sights I scarce can bear: 
O let me, let me share 
With the hot lyre and thee, 
The staid Philosophy. 
Temper my lonely hours, 
And let me see thy bowers 

More unalarm'd! 

1 comment:

  1. Just beautiful, Deb! Cool to see the list of authors tromping through...