He was born in London in 1795; he was apprenticed to a surgeon but chose poetry as a profession and so wrote 'Endymion' published in 1818 but it was attacked by the two leading journals of his time. Between 1819 and 1820 wrote 'La belle dame sans merci', 'The eve of St. Agnes','on a grecian urn' and 'on melancholy'. He not only believed in the importance of sensation but attributed cognitive power to sensation, i.e. it helped to grasp reality. For coughed up blood he was constrict to travel to Italy in the hope of a better life, but died three month later the arrived in Rome and his remains were buried in England. On his grave stone there is an epitaph: "here lies one whose name was writ in water".
La belle dame sans merci
It is a literary ballad, i.e. written on a imitation of the medieval ballad which are formed by four lines stanzas. It tells tge story of a woman who remembers the circe sorceress who enchants the man and sentenced him to a passive role. The important theme of this poem is the comparison between real world and imaginary world. The other themes are: the trouble in the green land (typical of the arturian legend); the knight arm; the life; the poetry; the death and the contrast between weaking and sleeping. This ballad is concluded by the conviction that is difficult -sometimes- distinguishes between reality and imagination. The language is ancient and solemn and the ballad begin with an Invocation; there is a mix of narration and dialogue speech (typical of the medieval ballad and the romantic ballad); there are repetitions and refrains.
Ode an a Graecian Urn
It was written after the contemplation of the Elgin Marbles, a collection of sculptures chiefly from the Parthenon in Athens. Keats loves Greek art and literature so in this work there is the relation between art, death and life. In fact the figures on the Greek urn are eternal and the urn watches the course of human events giving a message: beauty and truth are eternal and so beauty is truth and truth is beauty. Some critics read this message in a other way, i.e. 'beauty is a total acceptance of life and the pursuit to this beauty gives life its deepest meaning'. The language is ancient and it seems a medieval ballad, but it is formed by five lines stanzas.