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18th Century Poems

            The poem "When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be" by John Keats, is about life and death. It brings to the attention of the reader the fact that the many things that we consider important in life, such as love and fame, no longer remain crucial at the time of death. He states, "Of the wide world I stand alone, and think/ till love and fame nothingness do sink"(lines 13-14). This is meant to explain that the author believes that at death, it is not how famous one is or who one loves that is important because of all that will be lost. The author is also nostalgic and regretful about the thoughts of death as he states, "When I have fears that I may cease to be" (line 1). In these opening words, the author uses the word "fear" which indicates that he does not have a positive view of death. He thinks about romance, and how he may never get to experience it again when he states, "I may never live to trace/ Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance" (lines 8-9).
             I personally found the poem to be very deep and extensive and by this I mean that as soon as I read it, I felt as though I had stepped into another world like when he stated, "Never have relish in the faery power/ Of unreflecting love; -then on the shore/ Of the wide world I stand alone, and think/ Till love and fame to nothingness do sink" (lines11-14). In these lines, I could feel the emptiness the author was trying to express and the feelings of non-existence that had come upon him. I.
             Without describing any setting, it feels like the author is sanding on a beach looking at the ocean and pondering about death. The words "night", "starr"d", "cloudy", "unreflecting" (like the water), "shore", make it seem like it is a beach. There are many personifications found through out the poem like "night's face", as well as metaphors such as "chance-hand" and "world's shore". The verse structure is pretty consistent until the last two lines of the poem.

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