John Keats was one of the greatest of the English poets. He died in 1821 at the incredible age of twenty-five.
(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "C" is for "Charlie.")
For centuries, innkeepers knew that the inn they operated had to have a stable.
When folks showed up to stay the night they usually arrived by equine power so the innkeeper had to have a place to park the equines. The stable, in short, was an important part of any inn.
I mention stables because they played a large part in the life story of the chap I wanted to write about this week. I’ll call him Li’l Charlie, because that certainly wasn’t his name.
Charlie was born, and pretty well raised, in a stable. His father was, in other words, a hostler. I believe our cousins across the pond say ostler, but it’s the same word: it’s the guy who took care of horses when they showed up at an inn.
When the boy was old enough he became a “stable lad,” a job that most kids of that day regarded as the work of a jackass because you spent most of your time shoveling manure, a type of work that gets old fast.
By now you’ve probably grasped the point: Li’l Charlie started out on one of the lowest rungs of life’s ladder.
However, someone spotted something special in the young chap – he seemed to be gifted in his words and in his poetic use of the English language – so they volunteered to put up the money for his education. At the age of fifteen the fortunate youth got to study – pharmacy!
He became a licensed apothecary.
For a nascent poetic genius that may have been better than shoveling equine droppings but probably not by much.
Anyway, he continued with his splendid poetry and did pretty well with it. He learned that beauty is truth, truth beauty, and some say he got to be better at it than anyone since Shakespeare. It led to a rupture in his way of life.
I guess you could say no less than that he became one of the few established poets who, if things turned sour in the poetry game, could always open a drug store.
So - what was Li’l Charlie’s real name?
(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings.)