A Blupete Biography Page

Early Days, Part 1 to the Life & Works of
John Keats

His father, Thomas Keats, managed the stable at an inn2 known as the "Swan and Hoop" located in the north end of London, in the Hampstead area. Thomas was to marry his employer's daughter, Frances Jennings. Four children were born to the union: the oldest was John, born in 1795, followed along by George, Tom and Frances (Fanny). The parents died early; the father, as a result of a fall from a horse in 1804; the mother of tuberculosis in 1810. After their father's death, the mother having remarried,3 the Keats children moved in with grandmother Jennings.

John Keats attended school at Enfield (in the general neighbourhood of the Jennings household) where he was befriended by the schoolmaster's son, Charles Cowden Clarke.4 Clarke, eight years older, was to have a considerable influence on the young Keats. In 1810, the same year during which his mother died, John, at the tender age of fifteen, was to leave school. He was then to be apprenticed, "with a premium of £210," to Mr. Hammond, a surgeon of some repute at Edmonton.5 For whatever reason (it is not clear why) Keats left Hammond before he completed his apprenticeship. On the first of October, 1815, Keats entered Guy's Hospital. He remained at Guy's Hospital for only six months, leaving so to devote his time exclusively to the writing of poetry, thus to join the "beggar-clan."6

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Peter Landry

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2011