As we get into old age, we revisit the mental attitudes of our youth. We see into them though. We understand why we developed crushes, why we became obsessed with certain behaviors, and we now sympathize with those who are going through that now.
Old age is a time of understanding, and I suspect poets like Keats aged prematurely, at least mentally. There are poems I read as a youth that I can now see into, and I am the richer for it. The following is from Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale”:
Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
He fortunately never lived to go through that, so well-imagined. (He died at 26) But for that, he missed out on some of life’s great experiences.