John Keats: a poem about the early hour

Does ‘The Early Hour’ mean first thing in the morning or last thing at night? We tend to focus on mornings, but here’s a poem by John Keats that describes an ‘early hour’ after a long night with friends…

Does The Early Hour say early mornings or late nights to you? Perhaps it depends on whether you’re a morning person, or prefer to stay up past midnight (working/partying) and sleep late into the next day.

Here, John Keats talks of a wild night with friends, as the evening turns to night and then to morning. He turns familiar scenes of late-night bedraggled passers-by, seen through blurred vision, into something quite beautiful.

But then the night comes to an end and you have to part ways – returning home, alone…

A Poem by John Keats


On Leaving Some Friends At An Early Hour
by John Keats, 1871

Give me a golden pen, and let me lean
On heap’d-up flowers, in regions clear, and far;
Bring me a tablet whiter than a star,
Or hand of hymning angel, when ’tis seen
The silver strings of heavenly harp atween:
And let there glide by many a pearly car,
Pink robes, and wavy hair, and diamond jar,
And half-discover’d wings, and glances keen.
The while let music wander round my ears,
And as it reaches each delicious ending,
Let me write down a line of glorious tone,
And full of many wonders of the spheres:
For what a height my spirit is contending!
‘Tis not content so soon to be alone.

Do you have a favourite poem, song, photograph or short story which is about – or captures – ‘the early hour’? It could be by someone else, it could be something you’ve created yourself. If so, we’d love to hear from you: (or you can leave a comment below).