Bright Star, Would I were Steadfast as Thou Art

Original Text: 
Richard Monckton Milnes, Life, Letters and Literary Remains of John Keats (New York: Putnam, 1848). PR 4836 A4 1848 ROBA
2      Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
3And watching, with eternal lids apart,
4      Like nature's patient, sleepless Eremite,
5The moving waters at their priestlike task
6      Of pure ablution round earth's human shores,
7Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask
8      Of snow upon the mountains and the moors--
9No--yet still stedfast, still unchangeable,
10      Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast,
11To feel for ever its soft fall and swell,
12      Awake for ever in a sweet unrest,
13Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath,
14And so live ever--or else swoon to death.


1] First published in a Plymouth newspaper (1838). Copied by Keats into Severn's copy of Shakespeare's Poems, facing "A Lover's Complaint." September 28, 1820. For almost a century this sonnet was generally believed to be Keats's last poem; it now seems fairly certain that it was written not later than April, 1819, perhaps in February. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
Publication Notes: 
First published in a Plymouth newspaper (1838).
RPO poem Editors: 
J. R. MacGillivray
RPO Edition: 
3RP 2.645.