Featured Poem: On Sitting Down to Read King Lear Once Again by John Keats

As you may already be aware, big things are happening at Calderstones Mansion House as tomorrow evening, the Garden Theatre is reopened for the first time in 30 years with the first performance of King Lear, being brought to Liverpool by Shakespeare’s Globe’s touring production. There will be another show on Wednesday evening, starring Joseph Marcell in the lead role as King Lear amongst a small but powerful cast.

We’re so excited to be able to bring live theatre back to Calderstones along with Shakespeare’s Globe, and there’s not many better ways to spend a fine summer’s evening with a timeless, bittersweet Shakespearian tragedy in what will be the making of local history.

To ramp up the anticipation levels even further we’ve got a highly appropriate poem from John Keats, who it seems was rather partial to reading what has been described as “the best of all Shakespeare’s plays”:

On Sitting Down to Read King Lear Once Again

O golden-tongued Romance with serene lute!
Fair plumed Syren! Queen of far away!
Leave melodizing on this wintry day,
Shut up thine olden pages, and be mute:
Adieu! for once again the fierce dispute,
Betwixt damnation and impassion’d clay
Must I burn through; once more humbly assay
The bitter-sweet of this Shakespearian fruit.
Chief Poet! and ye clouds of Albion,
Begetters of our deep eternal theme,
When through the old oak forest I am gone,
Let me not wander in a barren dream,
But when I am consumed in the fire,
Give me new Phoenix wings to fly at my desire.

John Keats

Coming to the Mansion House to enjoy King Lear this week? You’ll find out all you need to know to make the most of your trip here.

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