Byron and Keats were contemporary Romantic poets, and were great rivals during their lifetime. While Byron was a flamboyant, handsome and rather wild nobleman, who was lauded and celebrated by England’s social elite, John Keats was a poor and struggling middle-class poet. Byron seemed hardly to put a foot wrong, whereas Keats’ work was often savaged by the critics. He was advised that poetry was the provenance of noblemen, was dismissed as a 'Cockney' poet, and only attained any real measure of fame after his death.
Keats for his part had written to his brother George, in 1819, “You speak of Lord Byron and me - There is this great difference between us. He describes what he sees - I describe what I imagine - Mine is the hardest task.”