1876 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Keats

William Cullen Bryant, in "Poets and Poetry of the English Language" 1876; Prose Works (1884) 1:156.



At a somewhat later period arose the poet Keats, who wrote in a manner which carried the reader back to the time when those charming passages of lyrical enthusiasm were produced which we occasionally find in the plays of Shakespeare, in those of Beaumont and Fletcher, and in Milton's Comus. The verses of Keats are occasionally disfigured, especially in his Endymion, by a flatness almost childish, but in the finer passages the clothe the thought in the richest imagery and in words each of which is a poem. Lowell has justly called Keats "over-languaged," but there is scarce a word that we should be willing to part with in his Ode to the Nightingale, and that on a Grecian Urn, and the same thing may be said of the greater part of his Hyperion. His poems were ridiculed in the Edinburgh Review, but they survived the ridicule, and now, fifty years after their first publication, the poetry of the present day, by certain resemblances of manner, testifies to the admiration with which he is still read.