• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

When I have fears that I may cease to be is an Elizabethan sonnet written by John Keats. The poem, written in the first person, charts the desires and despairs of the speaker.

Extracts from this document...


"When I have fears that I may cease to be" is an Elizabethan sonnet written by John Keats. The poem, written in the first person, charts the desires and despairs of the speaker. The speaker, realising his imminent death, regrets his inability to achieve fame and his incapability of living life to the fullest. The poem expresses Keats's melancholic nature, his fears and is reflective of the turmoil in his life at that time. The first quatrain is an expression of the speaker's regretfulness. Although he has a "teeming brain" abound with vivid imagery and vibrant ideas, he fears he will "cease to be" or die before he can recount them. ...read more.


Essentially, the speaker fears he will be the unsuccessful famer who failed to "glean" his land. In the second quatrain, lines (5-8), the theme of regretfulness is continued. Through usage of imagery and personification, Keats translates a lifelike picture of the speaker awed by the night's "starred face". The speaker draws inspiration from nature to craft his poetry; it is his "magic hand" that "traces" the "shadows" of the clouds. Through his poetic ability, the speaker believes he emphasizes the beauty of nature and gives it meaning. In the third quatrain, the speaker addresses love (described as "fair creature of the hour"). ...read more.


Ultimately, it is him "ceasing to be" which will prevent him from gazing "upon thee more" or experiencing true love. In the final lines of the poem, the speaker stands " on the shore of the wide world...alone", it is while standing on the threshold of the world that he is struck by an epiphany: "to love and fame nothingness do sink". The shore, which the speaker stands on, acts as a metaphor: the tiny grains of sand represent the speaker and the beach the entire world. The comparison of the grain of sand to the beach allows the speaker to realize his insignificance in the whole wide world. The speaker concludes that his quest for fame and fortune are irrelevant in the grand scheme of the life. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. Mending Wall by Robert Frost. Given the use of enjambment and blank verse in ...

    My apple trees will never get across And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him. Through the use of personification, the speaker showcases the vast differences between him and his neighbour. This analogy is apt because the acidity of pine duff would prevent apple seeds from taking root,

  2. Elizabeth Barrett Browning Sonnet XLIII Commentary

    Lines 9 and 10 have a similar structure to that of lines 5 and 6, beginning with the repetitious phrase "I love thee" and then using the two lines as one to convey a single concept or explanation of said love.

  1. An evening in Guanima is a treasury of folktales from the Bahamas that was ...

    Dey always get beside dey se?f, when yuh too nice?, ?You outdo yuhse?f wit? dis potato bread, gal.? Those examples were taken from ?Miss Annie?.

  2. Romanticism expressed via John Keats', "Ode to a Nightingale"

    However, the poet soon finds himself back with his troubled-some life. In the last stanza, Keats says, ?fancy cannot cheat so well/ As she is fam?d to do.? Keats admits to attempting to use imagination to also escape reality, but reality is stronger.

  1. Themes and style in "The Road", written by Cormac McCarthy.

    The man went back and got him. He held him and floated him about, the boy gasping and chopping at the water. You're doing good, the man said. You're doing good.? (Page 11. The Road) 1. We can also see that the man will prefer to kill his son instead of letting the ?bad guys? torture him.

  2. Im going to do a comparison between John McCraes poem, In Flanders Field, and ...

    We are the Dead. Short days ago We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow, Loved, and were loved, and now we lie In Flanders Fields. Take up our quarrel with the foe: To you from failing hands we throw The torch; be yours to hold it high.

  1. The poem Truth at dawn written by Kevin Ireland is about a person who ...

    Firstly, the poet structured the poem with very short stanza which presents a clear view and a very urging tone. With the stanza only a few lines long the readers are a given a view that the poets view and expression are very clear and on the point rather than beating around the bushes.

  2. The poem ode on a Grecian urn by John Keats was written in 1819

    It also shows that it is never changing. This poem also contains the themes of eternity and time. In the second and third stanzas we see that the poet is attracted to the eternal newness of the piper?s song and also the eternally unchanging beauty of his lover.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work