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.

'La Belle Dame Sans Merci' (poem 1) was written on April 21, 1819. The title as realised by some is actually French, which Keats took from an early fifteenth century French poem by Alan Chartier. The phrase belongs to the language of courtly love and it describes the beautiful woman without "mercy," that is the sort of courteous compassion, which prompts a woman to accept a lover's plea. The poem is deceptively simple and explores sexuality as well the role of nature. The poem is all about a 'knight-at-arms' who is doomed by a fortunate meeting in the meads with a beautiful lady. Enchanted by her sensual attraction, he sets her upon his steed and spends the day bewitched by her captivating company. He falls into a daze to be haunted by indistinct echoes of the lady's other victims and wakes up from his mysterious slumber to find that in actual fact he is alone on a cold and bleak hillside where even the birds singing stays unheard.
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In this poem, there is a strong use of imagery, which is typical to the period it was written in. The dialogue in the poem tells us how the knight is dying,

"I see a lily on thy brow" Line 9

This is common imagery for death. This idea of death is taken a step further when Keats writes,

"And on thy cheeks a fading rose..." Line 11

Here the "rose" is used as a metaphor for death. Also, when describing the enchantress, he writes,

"And her eyes were wild" Line 16

This is a preview of the whole essay