Tag Archives: English Composition

Keats ‘On Fame’

Here I go, getting all literary on you. But I think I’ve been misquoting Keats for a long time. I thought he said, ‘The easiest way to find fame is to avoid it.’ But now I’m not sure. A quick Google search turned up this poem. Might even be better. The meaning is kind of like that misquote. Be cool, don’t chase it. There was a time when I wanted to do a movie about Keats and his love affair with a Mrs. Brown. ‘Keats: The Movie’ directed by Michael Bay! The literary salons of Keats, Byron and Shelley would become a battle ground where ink spilled like blood and lesser wordsmiths choked on the thick pulp of their writing tablets.¬†Keats, poet, writer of ‘On Fame’, and ultimate fragile romantic guy complete with ruffley shirt and a fatal disease. The ¬†Poet Action Figure coming soon.

On Fame by John Keats (1795-1821)

Fame, like a wayward girl, will still be coy
To those who woo her with too slavish knees,
But makes surrender to some thoughtless boy,
And dotes the more upon a heart at ease;
She is a Gipsey,–will not speak to those
Who have not learnt to be content without her;
A Jilt, whose ear was never whisper’d close,
Who thinks they scandal her who talk about her;
A very Gipsey is she, Nilus-born,
Sister-in-law to jealous Potiphar;
Ye love-sick Bards! repay her scorn for scorn;
Ye Artists lovelorn! madmen that ye are!
Make your best bow to her and bid adieu,
Then, if she likes it, she will follow you.