“When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be” by John Keats

Vocabulary
glean’d – gathered
teeming – crowded
1. What type of sonnet is this poem an example of?
The poem is an example of a Shakespearean or Elizabethan sonnet.
2. What is the tone of the poem?
The poem has an overwhelming tone of quite a contemplation. The speaker is reflecting on life without his love since such feelings are similar to those of “ceasing to be.”

When I Have Fears That I May Cease to Be

3. Find and identify a simile in the first five lines of this poem.
The simile is comparing books to grain holders: “Before high-piled books, in charactery,/ Hold like rich garners the full ripen’d grain;”.
4. Find and identify an example of personification in the first five lines of this poem.
The speaker personifies the night sky by referring to it as “the night’s starred face.”
5. What theme in this poem seems to echo a theme found in John Keats’ “La Belle Dame Sans Merci?”
Both these poems have an ethereal quality to them. When writing of love, Keats mentions faeries in both of these works, suggesting that love has a supernatural quality about it.


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