• Annotated Full Text
  • Literary Period: Romanticism
  • Publication Date: 1848
  • Flesch-Kincaid Level: 7
Poetry

When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be

John Keats wrote “When I Have Fears That I May Cease To Be” in 1818, at the peak of English Romanticism, though it was not published until 1848. The poem is a 14-line Elizabethan sonnet about death—specifically, the poet’s anxiety about dying young and missing opportunities to create his art and poetry. Keats explores his fear of loss and mortality through a metaphors, personification, and captivating imagery, as the young poet considers all the potential creation that may be lost should he “cease to be.” The poem ends with a final image of the speaker alone, contemplating the inevitability of death and the nature of mortality.

  • Annotated Full Text
  • Literary Period: Romanticism
  • Publication Date: 1848
  • Flesch-Kincaid Level: 7