Bibliophiles looking to exchange vows in an uber-romantic locale will soon be able to tie the knot in the very house where Romantic poet John Keats once wooed and won his next-door neighbor, Fanny Brawne, the Daily Express reports. The grand Regency townhouse on the edge of London’s leafy Hampstead Heath was home to Keats for two of his most productive years, during which he composed Ode to a Nightingale and Ode on a Grecian Urn, as well as numerous sonnets such as Bright Star.
Although he had first considered his coquettish next-door neighbor an immature “minx,” she soon became the love of his life and the pair became engaged in 1819. Despite their tantalizing proximity, they were kept apart during most of their courtship by the poet’s encroaching tuberculosis. In lieu of face-to-face contact, Keats penned Fanny dozens of passionate love letters which would later be celebrated as some of the most beautiful ever written.
Keats eventually became so ill that Fanny’s widowed mother flaunted society’s conventions and took him into their household, where she and her daughter devotedly nursed him. The couple’s month living together brought them closer than ever before, and it was with great agony that Keats heeded his doctor’s advice to winter in Italy, where he died a few months later. The house where his great love affair played out is now a museum displaying many poignant reminders of the young lovers, including Fanny’s garnet engagement ring and a mourning brooch in the form a Greek lyre with strands woven from the poet’s hair.
The plan to hosts weddings at the museum has sparked an outcry among neighbors who are less than enamoured with the idea of zealous revellers disturbing the peace in the peaceful North London enclave.
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