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John Keats was born on October 31st, 1795 in Finsbury Pavement near London.

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John Keats was born on October 31st, 1795 in Finsbury Pavement near London. He was the first son of a stable-keeper, with a sister and three brothers. John attended a respectable school where he became familiar with ancient and contemporary literature. In 1810, his mother died leaving all the children to their grandmother. She put them under the care of guardians and made more than enough money for the benefit of the orphans. Under the authority of these guardians, Keats was taken from school as an apprentice to a surgeon. In 1814, before his own completion of his apprenticeship, John left his master after a bitter row to become a student in a London hospital. Under the influence of his friend Cowden Clarke, he devoted himself increasingly to literature. In 1814, Keats finally gave up his medical ambitions to live a literary life. He soon was acquainted with celebrated artists of his time, like Leigh Hunt, Percy B. Shelley and Benjamin Robert Haydon. In May 1816, Hunt helped him publish his first poem in a magazine. A year later Keats published about thirty poems and sonnets printed in the volume "Poems". His poems, be very few are renowned to this day and are enjoyed by many literary figures alongside general avid readers. In this essay, I shall compare two narrative poems by John Keats, 'Isabella' and 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci.' I shall compare and contrast the ways in which they are written and consider the language, structure and tone between the two poems. ...read more.


This may be the reason for the negative use of nature in the poem compared to that in "Isabella" written earlier (when he was not so badly affected by tuberculosis) and nature plays a 'good' role in love. In the final stanza, the symbolism is clear. "...the sedge is withered from the lake/And no birds sing" This illustrates the knight's intense sadness. The whole experience can be summed up in that nature meets something that looks like its complement, but is rather its destruction. "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" comprises of twelve stanzas that are composed of quatrain with each last line being shortened: " And no birds sing." Line 4 This idea of shortened last lines emphasise feelings of emptiness. There is not a commonly used rhyming scheme in poems generally like the one present in "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" "Isabella" was written and finished a little earlier, on the 27th of April 1818. 'Isabella' is a story from Boccaccio whereas "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" is a ballad. In the poem, Isabella is portrayed as a heroine with a gentle, innocent and passionate twist to her character. Isabella is eager to experience love with Lorenzo. Readers are forced to share not simply in the initial delight of the lovers, but in the responsibility of the discovery of their secret by Isabella's brothers, because the narrator reveals their secret meeting place to them. Both Lorenzo and Isabella suffer pitifully before achieving their short accomplishment, and the misfortune of Isabella's grief, from the moment of Lorenzo's murder, mounts until eventually she succumbs to her sorrows and dies. ...read more.


And only at one point a poor rhyme distorts the sense and lowers the tone: ".....................Those Baalites of pelf, Her brethren, noted the continual shower From her dead eyes, and many of curious elf, Among her kindred...................." Generally, the desire for love of the heroine or the gruesome detail of the narrative is in process, the horrific theme is expressed gently, and the forceful description and imagery works well in the strict stanza form. The eight line stanzas work as paragraphs, which encourage the development of the intensity at points of the narrative or description. Talking in terms of tone, the tone is directly affected by the pace of the poem. At points when love is the subject, the pace of the poem is slow and Keats then creates a luxurious atmosphere with a mellow tone. However, when the poem reaches points of the narration of the brothers' actions the pace of the poem is a lot quicker and therefore the tone being very sinister. In "Isabella", the tone chops and changes depending on who the narrator is mentioning the poem. This is different to "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" because the romantic tone is constant up to the point that the knight is awake. As soon as the knight is 'lulled' to sleep the tone is a lot colder and actually quite disturbing. Overall, both poems are classed as 'medieval' love stories. They both explore ideas of love and death and have striking differences at that. You are able to see the development in Keats literary skills especially in terms of imagery throughout the poems. Both poems are well known masterpieces of Keats who has great knowledge and awareness of romanticism. ...read more.

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