To describe this morning, I want a brighter word than bright, a fairer word than fair. Today was our first optional Saturday outing. I have many places, many pictures that I should probably post about first, but instead I’m indulging my fancy and skipping straight to hero worship time! After all, nothing ever becomes real until it is experienced.
We started our day out with-the part that excited most of us Classics majors-a chance to see the interior of the Tomb of Cestius.
While this was pretty exciting, it wasn’t what made me wake up this morning with a smile on my face and glee bubbling up inside me. No, my rapture was caused by a trip to a well-known site near the tomb: the so-called Protestant Cemetery.
The cemetery is a thing of beauty; yes, it’s perfectly lovely in its own right with its winding paths and dappled sunlit breezes, but I was there to find a particular grave.
This grave is unusual in that it bears no name as per request. However, due to the fame of the occupant, people flock to the site regardless. At first when I had made my way to that side of the cemetery, frantically searching for the grave marker, I couldn’t find it because a group was in the way. Soon though, they parted and I had good reason to be content.
Here we see it-the grave of John Keats my favorite poet ever! It’s situated in a quiet corner of the cemetery by the wall. Flowers grow around it. Before his death, Keats remarked to Severn that he liked the place because of the violets growing at will over the field. Violets were his favorite and he said he could feel them growing over him already. Today, cats often take up residence among the violets. This strikes me as something he would appreciate.
Get ready for some pictures of me looking overcome:
I have so much of you in my heart.
Touch has a memory.
I may also have bestowed a bit of a kiss to the stone (by which I vowed an endless bliss). I brought with me my copy of his works and a little note to be slipped among the flowers.
When we had reconvened, our professor in charge’s wife read “Ode to a Grecian Urn” aloud. Although not my favorite, it felt quite fitting in the moment surrounded by twenty or so Classics majors.
I had really been looking forward to visiting the grave and paying homage to the man who is truly my favorite poet. I adore his passion and imagination alongside his thoughtfulness. He celebrates the truth, beauty, and immortality of poetry. Through his words in both his poems and his letters, he comes off as one of the most precious intellectuals out there. And who can stop themselves from melting whenever he discusses love?
His writing career spanned five years of his life. His three most popular odes (Nightingale, Grecian Urn, and Melancholy) were all written in the same month! I can only imagine what he would have come up with if he had lived past his 25th year: Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard are sweeter.
On that note, I’m not sure I could pack any more references in here without it getting too creepy. Never fear, I’ll have another chance when I visit the museum at the foot of the Spanish steps;)