The poet John Keats (1795-1821) died in Rome on February 23rd, 1821 and was buried in the 'English' Cemetery. Oscar Wilde would later describe his grave as ‘the holiest place on earth’.
Keats’ tombstone is engraved with the following lines: 'This grave contains all that was mortal of a YOUNG ENGLISH POET Who, on his deathbed, in the bitterness of his heart, at the Malicious Power of his Enemies, Desired these words to be engraven on his tombstone Here lies One whose Name was writ in Water Feb. 24th 1821'.
Keats' name and age are omitted. His friend, the artist Joseph Severn (1793-1879), is buried next to him. Severn, who nursed Keats through the last months of his illness, lived to the grand old age of 85.
When Shelley, friend and fellow poet, visited Keats’ grave he wrote: ‘It might make one in love with death, to be buried in so sweet a place’. Shelley died only a year later (July 8th, 1822, less than a month short of his thirtieth birthday) in a boating accident off the coast of Viareggio. When the poet's body was washed ashore it was identified by a copy of Keats’poems, which was found in his pocket.
Shelley's body was cremated on the beach and the ashes sent to Rome for burial in the 'English' cemetery, where his son William lay. His heart, however, was removed and is buried in St Peter's Church, Bournemouth, where both his wife Mary and his son Percy are interred.
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My name is David Lown and I am an art historian, writer and guide