1817 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Keats

George Felton Mathew, in Review of Keats, Poems (1817); European Magazine 71 (May 1817) 437.



Religion and the love of virtue are not inconsistent with the character of a poet; they should shine like the moon upon his thoughts, direct the course of his enquiries, and illuminate his reflections upon mankind. We consider that the specimens here presented to our readers, will establish our opinion of Mr. Keats's poetical imagination; but the mere luxuries of imagination, more especially in the possession of the proud egotist of diseased feelings and perverted principles, may become the ruin of a people — inculcate the falsest and most dangerous ideas of the condition of humanity — and refine us into the degeneracy of butterflies that perish in the deceitful glories of a destructive taper. These observations might be considered impertinent, were they applied to one who had discovered any incapacity for loftier flight — to one who could not appreciate the energies of Milton or of Shakspeare — to one who could not soar to the heights of poesy, — and ultimately hope to bind his brows with the glorious sunbeams of immortality.