News: 18 September 2020

Julian Sands reads poems by Keats and Shelley in Keats-Shelley House

Julian Sands Poetry Reading at Keats-Shelley House

On 17 September 1820 John Keats and Joseph Severn set sail from London towards Naples in Italy aboard the sailing brig the Maria Crowther.

The journey to Naples proved to be a long and troubled one from the start, as Andrew Motion writes in his biography of Keats: “Their journey along the south coast of England was disrupted by a series of terrible storms and exasperating calms. Often their boat was driven backwards the way it had come. Occasionally the captain allowed his passengers ashore while he waited for a favourable wind.”

It took them more than a month to reach the bay of Naples and almost another month to arrive, finally, in Rome on 15 November 1820.

As we approach the bicentenaries of the deaths of Keats and Shelley, who died in 1821 and 1822 respectively, the Keats-Shelley House will be posting special virtual events in Rome to commemorate key dates and to raise awareness of our Keats-Shelley200 campaign.

We started the celebration with an intimate and intense reading by actor Julian Sands, a long-time friend of the Keats-Shelley House, who joined us in Rome to commemorate the bicentenary of Keats’s voyage.

Julian’s reading concentrated on works drawn from our own edition, John Keats and Percy Bysshe Shelley: Essential Poems, which was supplemented with Lord Byron’s ‘She walks in beauty’. You can purchase the book from the Keats-Shelley House online shop. All procceeds go back into the Museum itself.

Julian Sands Reading: Running Order

John Keats:

- Happy is England! I Could be Content by John Keats
- On First Looking Into Chapman’s Homer by John Keats
- Great Spirits Now on Earth Are Sojourning by John Keats
- Endymion: A Poetic Romance. ‘A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever’ by John Keats
- Eve of St Agnes by John Keats (Stanzas 29-36)
- La Belle Dame Sans Merci: A Ballad by John Keats
- Ode to a Nightingale by John Keats
- Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats
- Bright Star by John Keats

Lord Byron:

- She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron

P. B. Shelley:

- Mont Blanc. Lines Written in the Vale of Chamouni by P. B. Shelley (Stanza 5)
- Ozymandias by P. B. Shelley
- Lines Written among the Euganean Hills, October 1818 by P. B. Shelley (Extract)
- The Mask of Anarchy. Written on the Occasion of the Massacre of Manchester by P. B. Shelley (Stanzas 1-3, 5, 89-91)
- England in 1819 by P. B. Shelley
- To a Skylark by P. B. Shelley (Stanzas 1-2, 20-21)
- Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats by P. B. Shelley (Stanzas 39, 49, 54-55)

James Kidd

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