Caesura


a pause, usually near the middle of a line of verse, usually indicated by the sense of the line, and often greater than the normal pause. For example, one would naturally pause after “human’ in the following line from Alexander Pope:
To err is human, to forgive divine.


The Dove
John Keats


I had a dove, and the sweet dove died;
And I have thought it died of grieving:
Oh, what could it grieve for? its feet were tied
With a silken thread of my own hands’ weaving.
Sweet little red feet! Why should you die—
Why would you leave me, sweet bird! why?
You lived alone in the forest tree;
Why, pretty thing! would you not live with me?
I kiss’d you oft and gave you white peas;
Why not live sweetly, as in the green trees?


“The Dove”, by John Keats, includes caesura in the line, “Why should you die – Why would you leave me, sweet bird!” Keats uses this caesura as a pause between his two different thoughts, “Why should you die?” and “Why would you leave me?” He wonders if the dove died from grief, but he believes that the dove had nothing to grieve about. Keats wonders about why the “sweet bird” would not live with him even after he feeds it and covered its feet red thread. The caesura is used by Keats so he can pause for a moment and gather his thoughts into one.

Link: Freezer Fun




"My imagination is a monastery and I am its monk. "

~John Keats

John Keats

          John Keats was born in Finsbury Pavement near London on October 31st, 1795. The first son of a stable-keeper, he had a sister and three brothers, one of whom died in infancy. When John was eight years old, his father was killed in an accident. In the same year his mother married again, but little later separated from her husband and took her family to live with her mother. John attended a good school where he became well acquainted with ancient and contemporary literature. In 1810 his mother died of consumption, leaving the children to their grandmother. The old lady put them under the care of two guardians, to whom she made over a respectable amount of money for the benifit of the orphans. Under the authority of the guardians, he was taken from school to an be apprentice to a surgeon. In 1814, before completion of his apprenticeship, John left his master after a quarrel, becoming a hospital student in London. Under the guidance of his friend Cowden Clarke he devoted himself increasingly to literature. In 1814 Keats finally sacrificed his medical ambitions to a literary life.
          He soon got acquainted with celebrated artists of his time, like Leigh Hunt, Percy B. Shelley and Benjamin Robert Haydon. In May 1816, Hunt helped him publish his first poem in a magazine. A year later Keats published about thirty poems and sonnets printed in the volume "Poems".

          After receiving scarce, negative feedback, Keats travelled to the Isle of Wight on his own in spring of 1817. In the late summer he went to Oxford together with a newly-made friend, Benjamin Bailey. In the following winter, George Keats married and emigrated to America, leaving the consumptuous brother Tom to the John's care. Apart from helping Tom against consumption, Keats worked on his poem "Endymion". Just before its publication, he went on a hiking tour to Scotland and Ireland with his friend Charles Brown. First signs of his own fatal disease forced him to return prematurely, where he found his brother seriously ill and his poem harshly critisized. In December 1818 Tom Keats died. John moved to Hampstead Heath, were he lived in the house of Charles Brown. While in Scotland with Keats, Brown had lent his house to a Mrs Brawne and her sixteen-year-old daughter Fanny. Since the ladies where still living in London, Keats soon made their acquaintance and fell in love with the beautiful, fashionable girl. Absorbed in love and poetry, he exhausted himself mentally, and in autumn of 1819, he tried to gain some distance to literature through an ordinary occupation.
         An unmistakeable sign of consumption in February 1820 however broke all his plans for the future, marking the beginning of what he called his "postmumous life". He could not enjoy the positive resonance on the publication of the volume "Lamia, Isabella &c.", including his most celebrated odes. In the late summer of 1820, Keats was ordered by his doctors to avoid the English winter and move to Italy. His friend Joseph Severn accompanied him south - first to Naples, and then to Rome. His health improved momentarily, only to collapse finally. Keats died in Rome on the 23rd of February, 1821. He was buried on the Protestant Cemetary, near the grave of Caius Cestius. On his desire, the following lines were engraved on his tombstone: "Here lies one whose name was writ in water."


(http://www.john-keats.com/biografie/biografie_index.htm)