Keats. 20 years ago I had a student minister who worked with me here at church. He liked Keats’ poetry.
I knew and still know almost nothing about Keats and his poetry. I wasn’t even aware that we had any of his books when I walked into a spare room in Spring 2019 and happened to find an old book of Keats. That day I’d been to the memorial service of a young Christian man, Chris Bowra. It had been a full day and I was reflecting upon the song ‘Splendour of the King’ which we had sung at the gathering. I picked up the Keats’ book and casually flicked through a few pages and glanced at a couple of the poems. I turned back to the introduction and read this sentence:
“On the 5th of September 1819, Keats wrote to Taylor from Winchester that he was ‘occupied in revising ‘St Agnes’ Eve’,’ and studying Italian.”
And it just happened to be Thursday 5th September 2019…exactly 200 years later to the day that I found myself reading how occupied Keats was in his revision.
Here are the opening verses of Chris Tomlin’s song ‘The Splendour of the King’:
The splendor of a King, clothed in majesty
Let all the Earth rejoice
All the Earth rejoice
He wraps himself in light
And darkness tries to hide
And trembles at His voice
Trembles at His voice
How great is our God, sing with me
How great is our God, and all will see
How great, how great is our God