Happy is England! I Could Be Content

This is a slightly unusual post from me, so apologies if it’s not what you were expecting. I was thinking earlier of what England means to me as I prepare to emigrate and my memory was stirred by a sonnet by the great John Keats that I vaguely remembered from my days in sixth form. So I looked it up and I thought I’d share it with you.

Happy is England! I could be content
To see no other verdure than its own;
To feel no other breezes than are blown
Through its tall woods with high romances blent;
Yet do I sometimes feel a languishment
For skies Italian, and an inward groan
To sit upon an Alp as on a throne,
And half forget what world or worldling meant.
Happy is England, sweet her artless daughters;
Enough their simple loveliness for me,
Enough their whitest arms in silence clinging;
Yet do I often warmly burn to see
Beauties of deeper glance, and hear their singing,
And float with them about the summer waters. 

 

As always Keats uses some fantastic imagery in this sonnet, my favourite being the idea of sitting on top of an Alp and forgetting all of your problems. He explores his deep love for England, but tells of his desire to get out there and see the world. The beauty of England isn’t enough for him, he longs to experience the wonders beyond the sea. I think most of us today can identify with that desire to explore. He also praises the simple loveliness of the English women but longs for more exotic women. I feel that he is looking for something a little different in his life. Having married a foreign citizen myself I can’t fault his logic! Of course Keats did spend a lot of time in Italy (like many of the romantic poets) and this poem gives a good insight into how warmly you can view the landscape of home whilst yearning for more. 

 

So this post was a bit of a one off for me, I just decided I’d like to share the poem with you all as it resonated with me a little. Next time I’ll go back to the subject of this blog, emigrating!

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