John Keats died young of tuberculosis, but while he lived he was resilient and determined to squeeze every drop of life and happiness despite nursing first his mother and then his younger brother as they themselves were assailed by TB.

He knew all about fragility of health and precarity in life, so this statement struck me for its defiant fist-waving at the assaults of circumstance.

‘Put a Bullet in my Brain, and I will shake it out as a dewdrop from the Lion’s Mane.’


Source: John Keats, 21 September 1817, Selected Letters, ed. Robert Gittings (Oxford World Classics, 2002/2009), p. 21

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