Summary and theme of the poem When I Have Fears written by John Keats

This is the summary, critical appreciation, theme, and reference to the context of the poem When I Have Fears written by John Keats, a great romantic poet. This is written in simple and easy language. This is written for the students of college and university. This poem is included in the syllabus of Punjab University. I have also given critical appreciation and reference to the context of the poem.

Summary of the poem When I have Fears


JOHN KEATS (1795-1821)

 Introduction of the poem

John Keats was born in 1795 and died in 1821 at the age of 25. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 25. His poems are very papular in English literature. His most papular poem is Ode to Nightingale.

Introduction of the poem

When I have fears written by John Keats a romantic poet who belongs to the second generation. This is a sonnet in which the poet expressed his fears about his death. He is afraid because he may die before, he has put his ideas on paper which he had in his mind. He wants to write many books but he did not live long to complete this task. The heap of books would be like a granary full of ripened grains. He says when he looks at the starry night full of huge cloudy symbols of high romance, he feels sorry because he would not live alive to enjoy these charming elements of nature.


Keats occupies an eminent position among romantic poets. Hia poetry is remarkable for its love of Nature, imagination, and rich descriptive poetry. This sonnet about death. . Three years later, he died, In a way, the sonnet proved prophetic. Keats also knew that he could not live very long because he had consumption in his family.

In this sonnet, the poet is afraid of his untimely death. He developed a sense of despair at it. He has a lot of things to write about His brain is teeming with ideas and imaginations and he wants to convey them to people through his poetry. The poet believes that he has the capacity to become a great poet. 

The poet is highly afraid of death. In the case of his early death, the world will be deprived of many lofty and grand themes. He wants to write his poem with lofty and grand themes. The poet is worried that in case of his early death, he will be deprived of the fame, which he rightly deserves.

In the last stanza, he moves toward his beloved. He is actively pained to think that with his death, he will be permanently separated from her. Never again, he will drive the joy of the passionate and heavenly love.

The poet never mentions the word death in all poems. The phrase cease to be is far more effective in its suggestion of death. The image of harvest is typically Keatsian and original; The pen is compared to the harvest sickle and the thoughts of the brain to the full ripened grain and laden with grain sheaves. It is a fanciful image and suggestive of Keats's love for natural objects.

Critical Appreciation

When I have Fears" is a beautiful poem by John Keats who is one of the most celebrated poets of the Romantic era. IN this poem, he expresses his fear about his early demise. This fact adds to the charm of this poem that he actually died at a very young age.

 In this sense, this poem contains an autobiographical turn as well as a prophetic element. Keats inherited consumption as a family disease and he feared lest he should die before he had put all his ideas in his verse he was an ambitious poet who wanted to write great poems in a large number. But death did not spare him much time and he took his ambition wi him.

In this poem, Keats expresses the fear of his early death, At the same time, he desires to compose as many poems as may fill piles of books. He wants to write poetry on every aspect of human life and character. He wants his pen to glean every thought from his mind and put it on the paper in the form of verse. He desires his anthologies to be preserved with as much care as planter preservers sacks of grain in a granary.

 He addresses different objects of nature in a sorrowful mood. he feels sorry that he will not be able to look at night's starred face and cloudy symbols of high romance. he also addresses his beloved as a fair creature of an hour. he feels grieved when he thinks that he will not be able to see her and enjoy her loving company after his death.

Keats feels as if he were standing at the shore of the world from where he sees his love and fame sinking it the sea. It shows another side of his fear. he fears lest his poetic compositions should be forgotten. Actually, he wants to be immortal through his art of poetry.

Reference to Context


These lines have been adapted from the poem " When I Have Fears " written by John Keats.


The poet is the grip of certain fears. he has the ambition to be counted among the greatest poets of the world, but he fears that his early death will not let him achieve his ambition. The poet wants to enjoy the beauty and charm of his beloved, but he fears that he will die before he fulfills his love. His brain is teeming with mature thoughts. he fears that he will die before he puts them on paper.

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