Friendship’s heart beats another’s chest

Reverberates your very own

Emotion’s field – true love – has sown

Declarations of fortune’s best

Through quieted souls, perturbed arrest

Deterred faith’s shame in avid haste

In lieu of most sincere embrace

Ensured upright, perchance his test

For such a one should be first choice

Whose merciful thoughts console, also

In tuneful delight you will rejoice

To unearth a beautiful fellow

 

Keats thought the world of his friend, Leigh Hunt, there can be no doubt; they were very close.  On regular evenings: poets, artists, scientists and intellectuals would congregate, for discussion and debate at Hunt’s home.  It is proven, on record, that: Wordsworth, Byron and Shelley, amongst a host of celebrity socialites, would be in attendance.  The first sonnet: ‘To Leigh Hunt, Esq.’ testifies an outpouring of emotional feeling, which the poet proffers towards, and for, his great friend’s privilege/  In the sonnet, he elevates Hunt above the status of being just a good and trusted friend.  Keats waxes lyrical on future yearnings for companionship, which is not in the least unusual, as Byron and Shelley enjoyed an even tighter relationship, whilst Wordsworth’s companionships seems to alternated between, De Quincey and Coleridge.  To emphasise an exact closeness, that could not be challenged, Keats poeticizes a whole heap of accolades, quaintly using negative descriptive evidence, to emphasise the positivity evidenced in their friendship.

‘Glory and loveliness

have passed away ….

No wreathed incense …

… Roses and pinks to adorn

… But there are left delights as high as these …

… I could please with these poor offerings

a man like thee …..

These gems of heartfelt poetry. evidence how deep the poet’s feelings were – at the time – and how far he would go toward professing declarations of lifelong friendship, for his friend.  And to how close they really were.  In the poem: the poet laments the passing of natural beauty and wonderment – most probably a retort toward city/ urban dwelling.  He berates the lack of nature’s wondrous simplicity, which previously soothed and consoled dishevelled minds.  Scented flowers and vivid imaginations of freedom, no longer adorn everyday life.  Keats defines one particular consolation though, paying homage to his friends innocent beauty and the freedom that he, Keats, enjoys; giving thanks for the friendship and solace he derives from it.  The poet leaves his reader without doubt, about how much his friend means to him and, how valued the friendship is.

 

Sonnet: To Leigh Hunt, Esq.  By, John Keats.

 

Glory and loveliness have passed away

For if we wander out in early morn

No wreathed incense do we see upborne

Into the east, to meet the smiling day

No crowds of nymphs soft voiced and young, and gay

In wooden baskets bringing ears of corn

Roses, and pinks, and violets, to adorn

The shrine of Flora in her early May

But there are left delights as high as these

And I shall ever bless my destiny,

That in time, when under pleasant trees

Pan is no longer sought, I feel free,

A leafy luxury, seeing I could please

With these poor offerings, a man like thee.

 

 

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