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"An angel's tear"


John Keats was sketched by his friend, Joseph Severn.

Severn wrote, 28th January, 3 o'clock, morning - Drawn to keep me awake. A deadly sweat was on him all this night.

In 1819 Severn had been awarded the Royal Academy's Gold Medal for his painting Una and the Red Cross Knight. Severn did not know Keats well when he, alone of Keats's friends, agreed to accompany him to Italy. Keats hoped the warmth would cure his tuberculosis. A true friend, Severn nursed Keats for three months before he died on February 23rd 1821.

When he was 20, Keats wrote a sonnet in the fields which ended -

He mourns that day so soon has glided by,

E'en like the passage of an angel's tear,

That falls through the clear ether silently.

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