John Keats - Poems & Poetry Information, Facts & Commentary

They will explain themselves - as all poems should do without any comment.
John Keats to his brother George, 1818

John Keats - Poems & Poetry

John Keats's literary career amounted to just three and a half years. It began in July 1816 after he passed the apothecaries' examination at Guy's Hospital and lasted until late 1819.

Keats wrote 150 poems, but those upon which his reputation rests were written in the span of nine months, from January to September 1819. This intense flowering of talent remains unparalleled in literary history.

Keats published three books of verse in his lifetime. The first volume, Poems, was published by C and J Ollier in March 1817. It was dedicated to Leigh Hunt and contained thirty-one works, including 'Sleep and Poetry' and 'On first looking into Chapman's Homer'. His second volume, Endymion, was published by Taylor and Hessey in April 1818. It was savagely reviewed and sold poorly. His third volume, Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St Agnes, and Other Poems, was published by Taylor and Hessey in June 1820. It contained thirteen works, including the great odes of 1819 (though not the 'Ode on Indolence') and 'Hyperion'.
William Hilton's posthumous portrait of Keats, after Joseph Severn
posthumous portrait of John Keats by William Hilton

The Odes of 1819

Ode on Indolence
Ode to Psyche
Ode to a Nightingale
Ode on a Grecian Urn
Ode on Melancholy
To Autumn

La Belle Dame Sans Merci

Song of the Indian Maid, from Endymion

On first looking into Chapman's Homer

The Eve of St Agnes

The Human Seasons

Lines on the Mermaid Tavern

In drear-nighted December


Dedication. To Leigh Hunt, Esq.


Imitation of Spenser


Bright Star! would I were steadfast as thou art

When I have fears that I may cease to be

On Fame

To Some Ladies

On receiving a curious shell, and a copy of verses, by the same ladies

Robin Hood. To a friend.

Woman! when I behold thee flippant, vain


Click here to view original manuscript images of Keats's poetry.