KEATS

IN our time, Keats has come by his own. There is no need to insist on what is universally recognised, that he stands in the first rank of the English poets. There is little, if any, need to refute, or even to notice, the obloquy that he suffered under in his lifetime, nor to comment upon the tardy and tepid appreciation which he won for many years after his death. His light goes on burning clearer and larger. Even the criticisms which are still made on certain qualities and certain imperfections in his poetry are made-- with but few exceptions, and these of little importance --in no spirit of detraction, but rather with the view of distinguishing what is best in it from what is faulty through youth, through inexperience, through the influence of bad models on one who was little more than a boy; and towards the end, through illness and a fever of the heart. Such criticism is not only just but necessary. What is neither necessary nor just, and what is now less and less done, is to adopt, in making it, a tone either of fault-finding or of apology. They who level at my offences, he might say like Shakespeare, reckon up their own. And the patronage which in his life was the one thing that he could not bear, even from the greatest of his contemporaries, is equally ill-bestowed upon his poetry now. It requires no apology; it requires understanding. Love and admiration we may and must give to it: it hardly

-281-

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Lectures on Poetry
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • The Definition of Poetry 1
  • Poetry and Life 23
  • Virgil and Virgilianism 48
  • The Aeneid 72
  • Arabian Lyric Poetry - The Golden Odes 93
  • Arabian Epic and Romantic Poetry - The Stealing of the Mare 123
  • The Divine Comedy 154
  • Shakespeare's Sonnets 179
  • The Note of Shakespeare's Romances 208
  • The Poetry of Oxford 231
  • Imagination 259
  • Keats 281
  • The Progress of Poetry 309
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