I had been most interested in visiting the Keats and Shelley museum at the base of the Spanish Steps but I was alone in this conviction so Donna and John took a cab back to the hotel and Dave climbed the 135 steps to find a place to sit where I allegedly would find him later. I toured the special Keats and Shelley Museum, a little known gem in Rome, alone for over an hour. An optional video introduction by Prince Charles described the importance of poets Keats, Shelley and Byron and he discusses the history of the poets in Rome and this museum. After the video I went to the bedroom where Keats had died and looked out over the Spanish Steps to the Fountain of the Ugly Boat to hear what Keats might have heard from his deathbed, but the crowd’s noise was so insistent that it was impossible to hear anything but the crowd. I imagine in his time he would have heard the clomping of horse’s hoofs and a few people milling about. In the museum I thought of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem Adonais "Go thou to Rome, at once the Paradise, The grave, the city, and the wilderness….”. If you want to learn much more about the lives of these poets who challenged what was acceptable in the day, read Daughter of Earth and Water, A Biography of Mary Wollstoncraft Shelley. An excellent read and preparation for understanding their time in England and Italy.
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