When I have Fears There are many aspects of the world today that give us reason to overthink and be fearful. John Keats, “When I Have Fears that I May Cease to Be,” discusses this and warns the readers of what may happen if this is taken to an extreme. The narrator goes through life until finally he understands the inevitability of time and realizes the things most precious to him. In the first quatrain of the poem, Keats uses a substantial metaphor comparing the gathering of grain with the gathering of his thoughts. The speaker is concerned that he wont complete his poetry.
To die young is to die before one has the opportunity to harvest the fruits of the mind that have been “ripened” from old age. Keats then goes on showing how the speaker doesnt want to die ignorant. The nights starrd face” (line 5) is symbolic of the ultimate questions in a persons life and the speaker is fearful that he may die before he discovers them. The third quatrain helps to discuss the transience of things. The “fair creature of an hour” (line 9) is probably a lover. The speaker is addressing the lover but it is evident that she is not the main concern.
This unreflecting love the only love he may get. “Then on the shore/ Of the wide world I stand alone, and think/ Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink” (lines 12-14). In Keats rhyming couplet he is saying that if the speaker has fears, then he is alone. He is standing on the “shore,” on the edge, separated, and far apart from the rest of the world. The things the speaker finds precious, “Love” and “Fame,” in the end are insubstantial and dissolve to “nothingness” because he never did anything about them.
Thinking will lead to a persons destruction. Being too self-conscious takes away from living ones life. Keats speaker warns us that if we live in fear then this will lead to death both physically and mentally.