Tag Archives: john keats

Three Summer Days with You

For myself I know not how to express my devotion to so fair a form: I want a brighter word than bright, a fairer word than fair. I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days – three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.

~ John Keats

I’ve been reading through the love letters of John Keats to Fanny Brawne, his Bright Star. We live in an age when letter writing (much less love-letter writing) is practically obsolete. E-mails, text messages, and chat conversations have become our main sources of communication. Perhaps this is why reading the love letters of Keats, which have survived the centuries, are so beautiful and touching to read. But beyond our desire for the old-fashioned romance of hand-written sentiment, the letters of John to Fanny hold a virtue all their own. They resonate of poetry, of unbounded love, of thoughtful (and thoughtless) tenderness.

I confess it almost feels wrong to read these love letters, as if I am invading the privacy of a lover who was writing to his beloved and to her only. We are, after all, given his legacy of poetry, those beautiful verses that we memorize and repeat to ourselves in the quiet of the lonely hillsides. But are we given his private letters? Is it wrong to read the delicate heart-thoughts of a man to a woman, people we have never met? Though John and Fanny have been gone two hundred years, the words of the letters are still so fresh, as if they have just been written, as if the tears dotting the pages are still wet.

The quote above is from the first letter of John Keats to Fanny Brawne. Though they never married and though John was taken before he reached his twenty-sixth birthday, they loved each other very much and filled what little time they had together with whatever happiness they could scavenge. To live three summer days as butterflies… It reminds me of a Kate Rusby song, “Withered and Died”, which goes:

If I were a butterfly, I’d live for a day. I would be free, just floating away.

When we are with the one we love, even a day, short as it is, can be filled with decades of joy and delight.

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Top 25 Reasons to Love England

The reasons to love England seem limitless to me. I could go on and on about crumpets and Peter Rabbit and Harrod’s and Cranford and Fanny Price. I’ve discovered that many of my fellow Americans are Anglophiles just like me, and they have their lists of reasons why they love all things British as well. Over time, I’ve compiled the top 25 reasons why Americans love England. You can read the original articles here and here. In fact, the first article is what inspired this blog. So enjoy, and let me know what your favorite things about England are in the comments below!

25) the Royal Guard

What’s black, white, and red all over?

24) Afternoon Tea

Sugar and a splash of cream, please.

23) Castles

Who wouldn’t want to live in a stone-walled, tapestry-lined fortress with straw for carpets and a drawbridge for a driveway?

22) Gardens

The English Garden is apparently a place to be proposed to, to ramble aimlessly on dull afternoons, to escape from unwanted suitors…

21)Double Decker Buses

Let’s just hope they aren’t too top-heavy…

20) Oxford

Second oldest university in the world – quite inspiring.

19) Pubs

They come in pints?

18) Royal Weddings

Occasions for gravity-defying hats and bell-ringing celebration, brought to you live on the BBC.

17) Rain and Fog

The perfect backdrop to the mysteries of Sherlock Holmes or the ramblings of drunken Dickens characters.

16) London

The center of Anglophilia! Everything your heart has ever desired can be found along the banks of the Thames…

15) the Accent

When I get to England, I will wander the streets, talking to random strangers just to hear their accents.

14) the Queen

Revolution or no, Americans still hold a tiny love of royalty.

13) Prince William

No longer on the singles list…

12) History

From ancient stone henge to William the Conqueror to Henry VIII to the knights of the round table…

11) the Way of Life

Rolling countryside, church steeples, knitting by the fireplace, making fresh butter… (apparently, this isn’t true anymore, and I’m living in a dream world)

10) Food 

Bubble and squeak? Hot toddy? Bangers and mash?

9) the Thatched Roof

pure cuteness!

8) the Cars

I wouldn’t mind driving around in a Mini Cooper.

7) the Red Telephone Booth

We don’t even have telephone booths in America… just phones nailed to the concrete.

6) Bond, James Bond

Classy, smooth, debonaire… Sean Connery.

5) Humor

The British have this subtle sense of humor that Americans just don’t have, and often don’t get.

4) Simon 

Simon, television sucks without you.

3) Drama

The BBC has the answers to everything.

2) Music

Perhaps it’s the accent, but I think that Brits can simply sing better than Americans.

1) Literature

Number one! English literature is one of the best gifts to mankind from mankind. Shakespeare, Jane Austen, John Keats, Tennyson, C.S. Lewis, Kazuo Ishiguro, etc. etc.

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