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Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water Burley World Wide Web These words were engraved in John Keats tombstone at his request They reflect his despair of having such a short and at least in his own mind not very successful life He thought that he would be remembered as a failure or even worse forgotten altogether and would soon be erased from the face of history as quickly as words that are written in water vanish This fortunately did not happen Keats is now regarded as one of the great Romantic poets One can only imagine what heights he would have achieved if his life had not been cut short by tuberculosis This terminal illness had a profound effect on John Keats outlook on life and on his poetry John Keats was born in 1795 the first of four children born into a lower-class family At this time in history it was said that poets are born not made Typically poets were either rich gentlemen who did not have to work or well-to-do intellectuals with a strong educational background in 2 literature Keats was neither However Keats family situation slowly improved over the years and he was able to attend John Clarkes school at Enfield During his early adolescence Keats was not very scholarly and was far more interested in outdoor activities than in his books He was popular and well liked but also known for an aggressive temper His teachers thought that he would either become a prizefighter or a sailor but never a poet Nylander University of Columbia Website It was not until his teenage years that Keats showed any true promise at anything He had begun to take more interest in his studies and became interested in medicine At the age of fifteen he became an apprentice to an apothecary at Guys Hospital and became a licensed apothecary seven years later Stillinger 7 The poets home life
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