A thing of beauty is a joy forever
It's loveliness increases
It will never pass into nothingness.
~ John Keats
I am not sure what it is about tragic love stories that captivates my heart and mind, but they do. Images of Bronte's Heathcliff wandering the moors haunted by thoughts of Cathy have occupied more than a few of my days.
Another bittersweet story that stirs my soul is that of real-life lovers John Keats and Fanny Brawne. Their love was intense but ill-fated, as was Keats life, in general. Dear, dear Keats fell in love with Fanny at the age of 23 and died of tuberculous alone in Italy at the tender age of 25. Jane Campion tells their tragic story in her movie Bright Star.
One of the most visually poetic scenes in the movie is the butterfly room. Fanny is prompted to have her siblings help her collect butterflies after Keats writes this:
“…Ask yourself my love whether you are not very cruel to have so entrammeled me, so destroyed my freedom…I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days – three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain…”If only they had known...