This thrush pops up twice in Keats’ letters, singing so heartily as to run him up ‘a pretty bill for music’.  Having stood, numerous times, at the open window or beneath the roof edge just so I could hear the loud, ringing, endlessly varied song of the blackbirds who proclaim their all at five in the morning, I have great sympathy for this thrush and for Keats’ love of it.

‘Do you hear the Thrush singing over the field? … That Thrush is a fine fellow. I hope he was fortunate in his choice this year.’

‘There’s the Thrush again – I can’t afford it – he’ll run me up a pretty Bill for Music.’

Source: John Keats, So Bright and Delicate: Love Letters and Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawne (London: Penguin Classics, 2009), pp. 38 & 50

Photo credits: Dave_E at and Andy Holmes at


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Quotation - John Keats - letters - a singing thrush

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