John Keats - A Personal Response
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty – that is all / Ye know on earth and all you need to know”
One of the things I find most attractive about John Keats’ poetry is his admiration, value, respect and want for beauty in life, which is portrayed perfectly in this closing statement of “Ode On A Grecian Urn”. I find his poems raise up simple things such as the Nightingale or the Bright Star and give them recognition for the beauty they provide. Another topic raised in his poetry is the contrast between the mortality of a human life and the immortality of beauty and art, an idea that through my study of Keats’ I have come to linger on myself. All of Keats’ poems can be described as sensuous expressions of intense feelings, almost always celebrating beauty.
In “To Autumn” we are exposed to some of Keats’ most sensuous language, an intense value for the beauty of Autumn, the subject of the poem, and images dripping with beauty. I found this poem shows most prominantly Keats’ ability to encase his subject in the language he uses without taking from it’s beauty but perhaps adding to it in his abundant imagery. “And still more, later flower for the bees,/Until they think warm days will never cease,/ For summer has o’er brimmed their clammy cells.” These last three lines of the first stanze show Keats’ wonderful use of language, in his assonance lengthening out the lines and reflecting the lengthening out of the last few days of summer and the use of sibilance reflecting the idea of bees. This poem differs from some of his others in that there is no reference to pain. In “Ode to a Nightingale” Keats tells us his “heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains/ My sense”. He is dealing with the thought of mortality and the pain it brings, while in “Ode on a Grecian Urn” he speaks of “a heart high-sorrowful and cloyed,/ a burning forehead, and a parching tongue” when he thinks of love. However in his final ode, “To Autumn”, this pain is not...