Keats' Poems and Letters

Keats: Alone in Love

John Keats' poems "When I Have Fears" and "Bright Star" are remarkably similar, yet drastically different at the same time. The Shakespearean sonnets share rhyme scheme as well as subject matter, yet deal with different facets of the same topic. Each describes love as something extraordinarily important that one cannot live without, but neither reaches this conclusion until late in the poem.

Both poems can be broken down to reveal the emotion rooted in the structure. "When I have Fears" makes excellent use of parallel construction. The first 12 lines are split into three sections, each consisting of the word "when" and an action: "When I have fears..." (1), "When I behold..." (5), and "When I feel..." (9). Keats breaks this construction only for the couplet at the end of the poem. In this manner, the speaker first explores his emotions, then realizes what their result is.

"When I Have Fears" can also be broken down in another way. Rather than three quatrains and a couplet, it can be separated into an octave and a sestet. During the first eight lines Keats concentrates on musings, while during the final sestet he makes an address; the reader finds...

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