EXPLORATION OF A CRITICAL APPRECIATION BETWEEN THE REFLECTED CONCEPTS OF 'THE NOW' AND 'THE THEN'-

Topics: John Keats, Poetry, Romantic poetry Pages: 38 (16225 words) Published: June 1, 2014
JOHN KEATS, A THINKER IN RELATION TO THE CRITICAL APPRECIATION OF HIS VERSE ‘ODE TO A NIGHTINGALE’. THE WAY I HAVE TAKEN THIS ANSWER:
Ans. “Here are sweet peas, on tip-toe for a flight
With wings of gentle flush o’er delicate white,
And taper finger catching at all things
To bind them all with tiny rings;”
Keats’s attitude towards nature developed as he grew up. In the early poems, it was a temper of merely sensuous delight, an unanalyzed pleasure in the beauty of nature. “He had away”, says Stopford Brooke, “of fluttering butterfly-fashion, from one object to another, touching for a moment the momentary charm of each thing… he would let things flit in and out of the brain not caring to ask anyone to stay and keep him company, but pleased with them and his game of life.” His attitude was one of unthinking pleasures and enjoyments without thought. …..“To laugh a while at her so proud array;

Her waving streamers loosely she lets play,
And flagging colours shine as bright as smiling day.”
Sensuousness is the key to Keats’s attitude towards nature. He looked with child-like delight at the objects of nature and his whole being was thrilled by what he saw and heard. The earth lay before him tilled, spread out with beauties and wonders, and all his senses reached to them with delight and rapture. Everything in nature for him was full of wonder and mystery-the rising sun, the moving clouds, the growing bud and even swimming fish. “Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well

As she is famed to do, deceiving elf!”
The lines also reveal Keats’s idea that our imperfect nature is not framed to enjoy the eternal joy and beauty for long. In Ode to a Nightingale Keats in his attempt to share the eternal joy and happiness of the nightingale, escapes into the idyllic woodland where the bird sings. The escape brings him the bliss he ever longs for, but he cannot enjoy the imaginative reverie in which state alone he can enjoy this bliss. When Keats is recalled from the world of the nightingale’s song to the actual world, he realizes that fancy cannot make a man forget the realities of life so thoroughly as it is believed to do. In other words, the illusion produced by fancy or imagination is after all, evanescent. “Was it a vision, or a waking dream?

Fled is that music:-Do I wake or sleep?”
As a poet Keats is enchantingly and abundantly sensuous. His poetry has rarely been equaled in descriptions of the beauties perceptible to the senses. Ode to a Nightingale amply illustrates Keats’s sensuousness -his delight in the sights, sounds, colours, smell and touch. He will ‘taste’ wine “cooled a long age in the deep-delved earth”, he will ‘see’ the beaker “with beaded bubbles winking at the brim” and “purple-stained mouth”, he ‘hears’ the nightingale singing in “verdurous glooms”, and the flies buzzing “on summer eves”, while his ‘smell’ is gratified by the “soft incense” that “hangs upon the boughs” and the fragrant flowers at his feet. In other words, the poem offers a rich feast for all the senses. “There is a place beyond that flaming hill,

From whence the stars their thin appearance shed;
A place beyond all place, where never ill
Nor impure thought was ever harboured;”
Keats says, “We hate poetry that has a palpable design upon us. Poetry should be great and unobtrusive - a thing which enters into one’s soul and does not startle it” to make beauty, says Bradley, is his (poet’s) philanthropy. He must be unselfish; by refusing, that is, to be diverted from his poetic way of helping by his desire to help in another way. Hence there is no didacticism in Keats as there is in Wordsworth. There is no moralizing in The Eve of St. Agnes as there is none in King Lear; in both, the poets leave their works to speak for themselves. “Ite domum impasti,domino iam non vacat, agni,

Go home unfed, my lambs, your master now has no time for you,” Keats often says that the poet must not live for himself, but must feel for others, and must do good...
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