when I have fears that I may cease to be


When I have fears that I may cease to be
before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,
before high-pilèd books, in charactery,
hold like rich garners the full-ripened grain ;
when I behold, upon the night’s tarred face,
huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
and think that I may never live to trace
their shadows, with the magic hand of chance ;
and when I feel, fair creature of an hour !
that I shall never look upon thee more,
never have relish in the faery power
of unreflecting love ! – then on the shore
of the wide world I stand alone, and think
till love and fame to nothingness do sink.


( John Keats, 1818 )