A Day with Keats

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"About eight o'clock one morning in early summer, a young man may be seen sauntering to and from in the garden of Wentworth Place, Hampstead. Wentworth Place consists of two houses only; in the first, John Keats is established along with his friend Charles Armitage Brown. The second is inhabited by a Mrs. Brawne and her family. They are wooden houses, with festooning draperies of foliage: and the clean countrified air of Hampstead comes with sweet freshness through the gardens, and fills the young man with ecstatic delight. He gazes around him, with his weak dark eyes, upon the sky, the flowers, the various minutiæ of nature which mean so much to him: and although he has severely tried a never robust physique by sitting up half the night in study, a new exhilaration now throbs through his veins. For, in his own words, he loves the principle of beauty in all things: and he repeats to himself, as he loiters up and down in the sunshine, the lines into which he has crystallized, for all time, sensations similar to those of the present:— A thing of beauty is a joy for ever: Its loveliness increases; it will never Pass into nothingness; but still will keep A bower quiet for us, and a sleep Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing."

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