Neutral Tones
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John Keats (1795 - 1821)

In this sonnet written three years before his untimely death, Keats worries for his life's achievement and his life's love and finds a stoical means of reconciliation.



When I have fears

When I have fears that I may cease to be
  Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,
Before high piled books, in charactery,
  Hold like rich garners the full-ripen'd grain;
When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face,
  Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And feel that I may never live to trace
  Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour
  That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
  Of unreflecting love; - then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think,
Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.