Bright Star by John Keats (1795-1821)
Bright star, would I were steadfast as thou art—
Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart,
Like nature’s patient, sleepless Eremite,
The moving waters at their priestlike task
Of pure ablution round earth’s human shores,
Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
Of snow upon the mountains and the moors—
No—yet still steadfast, still unchangeable,
Pillow’d upon my fair love’s ripening breast,
To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
And so live ever—or else swoon to death.
Today is John Keats’ birthday, born October 31, 1795, whose life was tragically cut short by tuberculosis at the age of only 25 years old. He originally wrote this poem in 1819, and later revised it in 1820. Its theme is about the fragility of life. He wrote it also with the knowledge that he was dying and would inevitably die young. Tragically, his death came only a year after completing the poem in 1821.